Defining new friendships

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Defining new friendships

Post by Kiskadee on Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:14 am

I should really know the answer to this one, but since I've ended up in some really toxic friendships before, I'll ask anyway.

When you've met someone new socially (not a romantic interest), and are starting to hang out, is there a good way to negotiate how much time you are going to spend? I'm afraid a friendly acquaintance of mine wants to start hanging out often, maybe once a week or something. She's nice, but it doesn't seem like we have a lot in common or that we really click. I'm busy and although being friends would be nice, I don't really want to spend that much one-on-one time with her right now. Any way to step it down a notch without sounding mean? I guess I could just selectively turn down some of her invites?

Sorry, I'm just so bad at having a social life.
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Re: Defining new friendships

Post by sky on Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:35 am

I think "use your words" would probably be a good strategy here. Next time she invites you to something you can't or don't want to do, you could say that your life is very busy right now, and the approximate amount of time you have available for hanging out with her is once per X days/weeks/months.

Turning down invites does also work, but if you turn down a magic number of them then you will stop receiving them altogether. I think it is fairly difficult to signal the difference between "I don't want to hang out with you" and "I don't want to hang out with you quite so often" without directly saying it.
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Re: Defining new friendships

Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:56 am

"I'm dividing my time between X, Y and Z, I'm sure you understand. Anyway, this could be fun to do." And then you invite her along to a group activity where you to spend less one-on-one time. This will also help her make new pals if she's too attached because of friend scarcity.

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Re: Defining new friendships

Post by Enail on Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:02 pm

You can do it straight-up, as Sky suggests, which in theory I tend to think is the best way to handle things. But I know I have a lot of trouble actually doing it in the moment, so another option would be to use the indirect method of turning down invites, but combine it with some reciprocal invitations on your part to indicate that it's not a no to being her friend altogether - BasedBuzzed's idea of inviting her to group activities you've already got scheduled would work well for this, or you if you do want to sometimes hang out one on one, you could also do "the next little while's pretty tight for me, how about the week after next?" (or whatever schedule works for you).

Hopefully that would gently send the message and allow the two of you to establish a tempo/closeness for the friendship that's mutually acceptable, but if she doesn't seem to be getting the message after a while, you could always be more explicit and say you're very busy. Another one that's worked well for me with people who seem to want to hang out ALL the time is to explain that you have limited social energy and have to spread out social engagements much more sparsely.
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Re: Defining new friendships

Post by Kiskadee on Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:37 pm

Thanks for the advice! I'm trying Enail's method first since I'm non-confrontational and can move on the others if that doesn't work.
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