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psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6891
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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Im having issues with one of my friends whom Ive known for

Customer Question

I'm having issues with one of my friends whom I've known for about two years. We see each other occasionally but do not talk every day.

Anyway, in all that time, I really don't know this person very wel. Although I occasionally bring up examples, sentimental stories and good times from my past, this person rarely talks about themselves and usually only after being questioned by someone else. This person has raised some serious relationship problems they have been having. But, I only remember this one instance. Even when I prod and ask questions, like what their favorite things in life, favorite restaurants, pet peeves etc., all I get is a dumbfounded look, no answer and I'm just frustrated.

There is no doubt that we have a good time when work together, laughing, joking and all that. But, it seems it's always about something superficial. We have talked about anything meaningful, not that I'm expecting long conversations about peace in the Middle East. No one

I should tell you that this person in their 20s and is more than 10 years younger than me, if that makes a difference, although age has never been an issue at all. No one

what you think? How do I get this person to open up, to share and be a friend.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
Some people are just not comfortable being very personal with others. It may not be anything you are or are not doing. Everyone is different and their ability to disclose varies compared to other people. Some are so guarded that they can perceive others as nosy or aggressive. You can continue to try to offer your friendship and share things about yourself. If this person remains not responsive to that then they just are not interested in a friendship or just are not able to share facts about themself without being uncomfortable. They may come around eventually and just require time to let their guard down. I don't think age is the factor. They just need time. They will share in their own time
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I can't imagine it's because of the person being uncomfortable around me.

After all, it's been almost 2 years. Like I said, They have already shared a very intimate piece of information about themselves and the person they are seen to at least let me know more then what they had for lunch, how much they slept the night before, problems with their car.

I don't believe it's because this person lacks any depth because they are intelligent. I agree that it's not because of age. But, what is it?


I have already prodded this person at least twice about my concern and wanting to know more about them. But, all I get is "I don't know" "what do you want" etc. etc.


I really like this person and see the possibility of a long-term relationship. But, I'm not sure how long it will last if all the talk about are foods that are fattening, bad eating habits or stories I've been up from my childhood. I just seem to be the center of conversation... we only talk about what I talk about.


I want more and want to share more
Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
Maybe you can narrow down your comments and this could get this exchange going. Instead of saying tell me more about you say - Are you in a relationship; what do you think is important in a relationship... You have to steer the conversation to more interesting subjects while asking broad questions. You may give her the help she needs to be more open. If you really want to get brave tell her that you really want to know more and you notice that she is kind of timid about this and was wondering why. Offer to be a closer friend to her and see what happens
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I know this person is in a serious relationship, if that matters. I'm not expecting anything "serious" but I would like to move beyond the same topics, or at least my life, my experiences, my comments being what we talk about 90% of the time.


I've tried like asking about certain rock bands, rock stars but, again, it's always me that starts the conversation, will almost always. Yes, I've asked point blank "is there anything, anything you want to know about me or know more about me than you don't know"?


The reply I got was complete silence and a stunned look. I think you asked me about some old pictures I took. But, I told them that that really didn't count. I said something real about me, but nothing.


Maybe this person just is not interested in me besides my ability and tendency to make them laugh. I guess I'm quite funny, but not a complete joker 24 seven.


I know this person cares and expressed it a few times verbally and through e-mail. I just don't get why they won't talk about themselves, start conversations beyond the superficial and rely completely or almost completely on me to say something.

Could it be immaturity, lack of interest or just that they see me as fitting a certain need, making them laugh, and beyond that they do not take me seriously, as a person, as a friend or someone that matters to them and their lives.

I cannot think that they don't take me seriously which may just be the cause. If this is the case, how do I change things and make them understand that I am a whole person?

Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
We don't know what their thoughts are as to why. You have come up with some interesting possibilities but the only person that can know for sure is this person. It could be immaturity or lack of interest. If you are funny they could see you in this role and see you as someone who makes them happy through laughter. You don't know if they take you seriously or not. These are all ideas that have to clarified by this person. There is no other way. You can continue this give and take but in the end it is up to this person to let you into her world. She may just not be the kind of person who shares her world and prefers to do this in her relationship or not at all. You can't change things unless she allows it. But nothing should stop you from trying. Again try to ask more specific questions to allow for greater focus on her life rather than what do you want to know...
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How specific do you suggest? I done that with movies, music, food and have done little response of most of my questions. With one exception, there's been no follow-up. Like, after I asked this person about movies, they asked me about my favorite. Every other example or attempt has been met with them answering and then nothing.


Should I ask them if they take me seriously, point blank? Or, that I want to know more about them or whatever? I don't want to corner them. But, every time we meet it's more or less the same conversation, jokes and so forth. This person, ironically, I consider one of my best friends, as pathetic as that sounds. It's just to meet them take some effort in traveling and time.


This person has said that they will ask and have asked questions about me when they have wanted to know more. This is true. But it's always derivative questions about something I said or topics I've talked about.


Or, should I ask this person how they see me, why they like me, what they like about me etc. etc.? This may be too much and I don't want to scare this person away. After all, a superficial friend is still a friend
Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.

Ask her something about herself. I know you have tried but that should be your focus. Movies are so generic. Not anything too deep but something that could draw her out. If some time goes by and you get nothing that may be her personality. If you feel you have nothing to lose you can ask them why they seem so vague and what is it about you that they can't drop their guard. They may not realize that they are that way with you. I would ask them how they see you and do it in a nonconfrontational way. If they are a friend they won't mind your honesty



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well, I've done that with movies and nothing came of it afterwards. It's almost as if you ask them questions X and the answer question X and end of conversation.


One time, I was deliberately quiet or quieter than normal and they noticed and asked me again and again was something wrong. I replied to the effect that I thought I was talking too much when speaking with people... just talking to talk. And, thought I would try to be a little quieter for a while, to see how it goes. They objected and said that I was fine. Still, I was quiet when we were together. They were aggravated and told me. They would say, who told to this". I replied no one. So, not talking did upset them but they still did not talk, even when I suggested they say something during this time... anything, they just stared out the window or at me and looked disgusted.


Having nothing at all to talk about or even to ask me made me feel pretty bad. Maybe this person is pretty superficial after all, despite their intelligence. They have opinions but, like I said, don't voice them unless prodded. It was like the military "need to know basis"

Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
It sounds like this is their personality. Some people just have the personality that sort of sits in the side lines. They aren't conversation starters. It sounds like they aren't going to change and you should ask yourself if this person's personality matches your own. If they are the way they are and you are the way you are will this friendship work. You can't change anybody even if it is positive.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Actually, your response rang a bell. She did mention that she kind of response to stuff but doesn't really initiate conversations. But, how do I get to know them better, if that's the case? Every time you meet, it would be like like the Inquisition... tell me what you're thinking, wouldn't it?
Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
I can really understand what you are saying. It does seem to be 20 questions. But it boils down to how much patience you have. You are going to have to bring this up in a calm laid back way for a while and take baby steps. Do I hope you have patience. No one changes very quickly so plan on being a good influence (over a period of time). You may get tired but it's worth a shot
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It's just so weird. This person is quite affectionate and always willing to help others in need. But, never is one to express or say hello to strangers on the street or at the park. Hi, on the other hand most always do this and get on them for not being more sociable. One would think this behavior from a more stoic and unfeeling person.


I mean, I think this person is living with someone after knowing them about a year. What happened there? Maybe, this person doesn't want to share themselves with anyone else but their significant other... do you think?


I think they're talking about marriage, knowing each other a little more than we have known each other. I don't know, something strange. Maybe it's that they share from the same country, ethnicity... I believe Russia.

Patience? It's been almost 2 years!


Would you suggest a plan of myself being more quiet, almost forcing this person to talk? Or, asking them superficial or just silly questions to get something going?
Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.

I think it is very possible that they don't want to share themself with other people. This is quite common. Oh wow 2 years. This person really must depend on intimacy of partner to share their concerns. I don't know if anything would force them to talk. If that's their personality that won't change anything. If you ask questions that will bring them out go for it. Just don't count on anything.



Going to bed. Good luck

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I want to ask you another question that involves this same issue.


I thought I might try withdrawing from them in little bit. I believe they like to hang around with me and like me. Actually, I'm flattered and much appreciative. But, if too much time passes between the meet up they do get quite concerned and flustered. It happened once before through no fault of my own and it was quite emotional.

I'm not trying to be mean and do not think I am some special person. But, I thought this may be a way for them to express themselves more, to want to know more about me, for me to know more about them and show their concern over our relationship... I don't know.

Expert:  psychlady replied 4 years ago.
If they get emotional they obviously appreciate this friendship immensely. You can take that as a compliment. It should be a way for them to express themselves but some people just can't take that opportunity to be more open. It is just their personality to miss that opportunity. I think it is their stuff that is preventing them from being open and although they could follow suit after a long time they just for some reason don't want. It's up to you to decide how much patience you have.

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