March 14, 2018

Question: Next weekend, a woman I consider to be a friend is having a party, and I have not been invited. I can’t help feeling rejected even though I’ve made peace with the fact that, as much as we may like each other platonically, she doesn’t have any romantic interest in me.

There are two possible explanations for her failure to invite me. First, she may just not like me that much. She has considerably more friends than I do; so while I consider her to be one of my closer associates, I may be relatively low on her list. Other than that, because I have absolutely no reputation for attending this kind of event, she may not have thought to invite me; or perhaps she considered it and assumed I wouldn’t go.

My question is whether it may be a good idea for me to talk to her about it, directly or indirectly, and what such a conversation might entail. I welcome your input. Thanks!


Dr. ZZ: There are lots of reasons why someone might not invite you to a party. Whatever the reasons in this case – the ones you mentioned are good – it’s important to understand that they are her reasons. It’s a party to which she gets to invite whomever she pleases, not a referendum on how much she likes you.

Normally, I’m all for speaking up and communicating, but in this case, I sense that you may be obsessing on this person. Even if not in a romantic/sexual way – probably because you’re lonely and starving for affection and approval — you’re over-thinking and over-investing in your interactions with her and latching onto crumbs when they come your way. This in itself can turn people off and lead to a self-perpetuating cycle of obsession, hopelessness and rejection.

If this is the case, then the worst thing you can do to deepen your involvement with her is to bug her in order to get invited to this or future events. I also advise against auditing your encounters with her for signs of how much she likes you, how much she talks to you, or how something she says or does is moving the value of your friendship up or down.

I know it’s hurtful and anxiety-inducing to be excluded from something and to feel as if someone you like is underestimating how appealing you could be if given a chance. It’s not fair; it’s totally subjective, and it’s a hard lesson for anyone. Right now, the best thing you can do is to avoid thinking about the party and stop taking the temperature of this friendship. Deliberately make other plans for the evening of the party and invite people you like to do something else with you. Put effort into your other friendships, and move on with the day. Keep your interactions with this woman light, and give them at lot of time and space. If your friendship is true and genuine, there will be other opportunities for you to hang out together and to discover if you are party-compatible.


Question: Last year I started dating a woman on Java where I lived, but shortly afterward I was forced to move to Bali for work. We’ve been doing the long distance thing ever since, and it’s been going quite splendidly. She tells me that she loves me and misses me, but when the rare opportunity takes palce for me go back to visit her, she usually says she’s too busy, which is fine; I respect that. But on a recent Sunday, I had an opportunity to see her for a couple hours in the late morning, and she said she’d love to and would have to “see about it.” When I asked again a couple days later, she said she’d be busy the whole day. I accepted this and moved on.

The problem was that when that Sunday rolled around, she showed up on Twitter at about noon, saying she’d just woken up. Again, I don’t care about that on its own. I understand that it’s none of my business if she wants to sleep till noon. But should it at least bother me that she’d rather sleep than see me, and that she felt the need to lie about it? I’m just not certain how personally I should be taking this. Thanks for any advice you can give.


Dr. ZZ: Taking the most generous possible view of your girlfriend’s behavior, she has a busy life and needs a lot of notice to schedule time to hang out with you when you visit, and she’s setting boundaries about that by not making herself immediately available. Perhaps she wants to see you, but her schedule is packed and inflexible, and when you arrive at the last minute it stresses her out; so she needs lots of notice. Or perhaps she works nights all week, and while Sunday morning is technically “free,” that’s her only chance to catch up on sleep.

Even if this is true, and she has fully articulated her needs about scheduling, how is that working for you? You use words like “fine” and “splendidly” as if things are going well, and as if all your needs are being met; but, despite her protestations of love, this woman and you seem to be pen pals, who are never in the same place at the same time. Then, when you make the time to visit, she finds a way to not be in the same room with you. This is what we call a “red flag.” Yes, you can take this personally. It’s time to ask your girlfriend/pen pal what’s up and to be prepared to move on.


Dr. ZZ has a Ph.D. in Counseling and a doctorate in Natural Healing. Drawing on a background of      over thirty years as a professional therapist, she offers self-help in the areas health, relationship and personal growth. All queries are answered by email and, if they appear in print, are subject to editing. Please email your questions : <> All identifying information is kept strictly confidential.


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