Hey Pat, one thing has been on my mind recently. I feel like in my friendships with other men I am usually lower on their priority list than they are on mine. I get about a 50% response rate through text. Usually my texts are articles/tweets that I think are funny or invites to hang out.

You always talk about the importance of developing a great social circle and hosting fun gatherings. I have about 10 friends who I regularly keep in touch with and sometimes I’ll have new friends who I try to invite. Overall about 25% of my friends accept. When I see people in person we have tons of fun and it feels like we are best friends, but when I call/text to talk or coordinate a hangout it feels like I’m not “cool” enough to be a priority.

I’m not sure if this is true but I feel that there are some people who everyone views as the top of the social hierarchy and all the males consistently and promptly respond to their texts. When a new friend doesn’t prioritize me I figure he has his best friends and comfort zone to be in, but when it comes to my best friends it feels like they are prioritizing the new shiny “cool” friends.

My question is basically am I correct in my assessment or am I being to self centered? I’m naturally sensitive when it comes to friendships so throughout the years I’ve learned to expect less from relationships, but this is the newest reality I’ve been reconciling with.  Thank you.

This is a great question — one I have rarely gotten.

The first thing to understand about building up a social circle is that unless your preselection is already enormous, you are going to get regular flaking from people.I’d meet someone at a club, event, or party and get their social (number is usually too strong for a “dude” or a girl you’re not interested in sexually unless the connection is very strong).

If the connection was strong enough to get a number, I’d invite them out 1-1 for drinks to catch up. However, because the role of preselection is so necessary for lesser connections, I’d usually ask people to come join a pre-established group gathering / party via their social media (back in those days, facebook — these days it’s more often instagram and snapchat).

These people were going to be more “social” friends rather than close ones — I treated them accordingly. We enjoyed each other when the energy was high, not so much in an intimate dynamic. I never confused the two.

Even still, you could only expect maybe 10-20% of these fringe people I’d ping about parties to come. And that was after at least one follow up.

(Read: How To Host A Party)

But it sounds like you’re not simply referring to people who are “fringe friends” — you’re referring to guys who are ostensibly closer to.

That’s a different story.

As always, it’s easier to assess when you have all the details. I’m not sure, for instance, how much you are texting them and asking them to hang out. In NYC the most frequently I see the same friend is every 2 weeks — and it’s generally more like every 3-4. Indeed, some close guy friends it’s much longer than that. Part of this is my age and relationship status, but not all of it. Guys don’t mince words. When we meet, we catch up, party — but we don’t try to keep in constant contact. We know we’re there if we need anything.

Point being — if you’re messaging often, they’re probably detecting a neediness, which minimizes their desire to want to spend time with you… even if it is fun while you’re together.

If this is universal across friends in different friend groups, then this is almost certainly the problem. Don’t be a taker, be a giver. Create fun for THEM, hold space for THEM. Bring ENERGY. Don’t ask for theirs.

But there is another possibility:

Your friend group believes you take more than you give, and don’t value you.

I’ll tell you a brief story…

I had a group of friends I hanged out with for years. Literally since elementary school. We kept in touch closely through college and many of us ended up living together afterwords.

However, I would be lying if I said I were really close with most of them. There was my one best friend who brought me into the group. But I was friends with him first and foremost, as they were. It was questionable to what extent we were really close, even though we enjoyed spending time together.

What I put into this group was always more than what I got out. So I began making new friends, differentiating — while still keeping contact with them.

But when I leaned out, they didn’t lean in. None of them came to my wedding. And when I was not invited to one of their’s weddings (because of Trump lol) I knew for certain the whole dynamic was bullshit.It hurt, but it was also a relief.

The point of all of this is that although we got along, these weren’t true friendships.

They were “Tier 3” friends who were in my life solely due to environment and proximity. I was trying to force something.

Indeed, sometimes you’re even genuinely close… but time pushes you apart. I have two “friends” who I love, but something on their end is apathetic about our dynamic, so I allow them to go their own way. We still catch up, but much more rarely.

The lesson here is simple:

Don’t force it.

Reflect on need that you might be showing to these guys, which is turning them off.

But fundamentally dedicate your energy to spending time with guys who give a shit about you — not ones who take you for granted.

Don’t lean in.

And if you want help with this in your life? Perhaps not merely with friends, but with women?

Apply here: www.patstedman.com/application

– Pat