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Amaliah Agony Aunt: Why Do I Doubt My Friendships Sometimes?

by in Relationships on 2nd February, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.

We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

Salam alaykum Aunt Maya,

Why do I doubt my friendships sometimes.I am going to start off with I care about my friends. When I meet them I have a good time and enjoy their company. But when we don’t see each other for a long time, I sometimes start to doubt the closeness and I ask myself are we close friends or are we just “once in a while” friends. I know that our lives are busy and we all have different priorities, but I am willing to find time for them and I commit to it. I feel like they don’t commit to the plans we make and they cancel plans (with good reason or so it sounds like, sometimes it just sounds like an excuse but I wouldn’t want someone to meet me if they didn’t want to) and its gotten to the point where I dont want to reach out anymore (because it hurts to be rejected and it hurts to feel like I am not as much as a priority) but at the same time I miss them. Recently one of my friends described me as one of her best friends and I gasped but was also happy. But later I was confused because I asked myself “how am I your best friend when I don’t know how you’ve been recently and you dont know how I have been?” They say nice things like that and talk about how they miss meeting up and how we should plan to meet up. It feels like fluff. My question is, should I take a step back? I havent opened up to them about how I feel because I dont want to be a needy, heavy friend, and we dont meet often so its hard to find the time to bring this up. At the same time I don’t want them to think that I am okay with everything, and that I am easygoing and my feelings dont get hurt. How can I be a better friend (these thoughts make me feel like I’m not a good friend)? And how do I stop doubting? Thank you.

Maya Areem Responds:

Walaikum Salam,

Thank you for reaching out to us with this dilemma as I think many other women will benefit from this. Friendships are a big topic in the Amaliah community.

Firstly I pray that Allah blesses you with beneficial company. Ameen. Make dua for Allah to grant you good friends.

Reading through your dilemma, one line in particular stood out to me: ‘…But when we don’t see each other for a long time, I sometimes start to doubt the closeness and I ask myself are we close friends or are we just “once in a while” friends.’ I think it’s important to ask yourself the following questions: are friendships just based on the regularity of seeing one another? What if a friend moves abroad how would that friendship be maintained? What if a friend has a change of circumstances in life like having a baby and can’t always meet like before? Aside from physically meeting, how are your friendships developed and worked on?

Having worked through the above questions, it’s important to establish and ask yourself if you know the needs you have as a friend and if your friends know your needs? I often think in order to give people a chance to love and respect us, and for you to receive what you need, it is necessary to communicate your needs and expectations. Sometimes people ‘fail’ expectations they didn’t even know existed which can make us feel resentful. You could find that upon communicating your expectations and needs, things do change but at least you know what the other person is capable of and how much they want to put into the relationship.

With regards to the friend who described you as her ‘best friend’, this is a good example of how we all view expectations of friendships differently; it’s clear that what she requires and expects from a friendship doesn’t match with your requirements and expectations, and that’s ok. I think it’s time you communicated honestly your needs from friendships and communicated them. It’s ok for your expectations to be different from others.

With friendships, everyone has different expectations or circumstances, but there are vital cornerstones of friendships such as honesty and respect. You mentioned that they have canceled with good reason, and I’d advise that you take their word for it. As Muslims, we should strive to have good opinions and thoughts about people, and avoid assumptions. The best way to avoid assumptions is by seeking clarity, so if this becomes a regular occurrence, you should check in with your friends.

What do you expect in a friendship?

This is something to reflect on moving forward. Your friendships should be a safe space for you to communicate your needs. If you have communicated your expectations and needs to your friend, and they respond that it’s not something they can fulfill then at the very least you can rest assured that you’ve done all you can to revive the friendship. I don’t want to say that this would mark the end of the friendship, but it’s a clear indicator that you are on different pages. Do make dua that the conversation strengthens your bond Insha Allah but also be open to the fact that it may change the dynamics of your relationship and that goodness may come from this.

It’s important to nourish long term friendships and it’s also good to explore new ones if the current ones aren’t meeting your needs. People also change so looking for new friendships could be beneficial whilst you work on your current friendships.

I have found when we pursue friendships for the sake of Allah then the barakah comes with them so re-visit your intentions and renew your pursuit of healthy friendships with sisters.

I pray that Allah grants you the best of friendships  where you are nourished and your needs met and that you are a benefit too Insha Allah. Ameen

Love and duas,
Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. 

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.