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You Asked: Is This a One-Way Friendship?

Dear Sugar,

I'm really confused about my relationship with one of my male friends. He's gay, so there's nothing even remotely romantic about this dilemma. My problem is that I'm not sure whether or not he values my friendship as much as I value his. He's a photographer and we initially began hanging out when he asked me to model for a couple of his projects. He was so happy with my work that he ended up using me as his model in the vast majority of his projects after that. In working together, we became very good friends.

While we always have a good time together, he just doesn't seem to make any effort towards our friendship when it doesn't have to do with him telling me about the next project he has coming up. Now, I know the obvious answer at this point would be that he's just using me for his work, but it's a little more complicated than that. When we do hang out, he always tells me how much he values me as a friend. In fact, a few months ago he even suggested that we become roommates! He's always struck me as completely genuine when he says these things.

We met up again recently, and I felt as though I was a burden the whole time. When I brought the roommate subject up again, he seemed completely disinterested. He does have a ridiculously large circle of friends so I can appreciate the fact that he has a lot of other things going on in his life, but I just wonder why I seem to get the cold shoulder sometimes. To be honest I'm getting a little fed up with it. What now?

— Friend or No Norah

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Friend or No Norah,

It certainly sounds like your friend is more invested in you as his model than as his confidant, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's just one of those people who acts friendly with everyone, but isn't all that close with anyone. But even if I'm wrong, and he is completely genuine when he says that he values your friendship, he's still not acting like it and that's the real problem here.

The old adage "actions speak louder than words" applies to friendships just as much as relationships. And right now his actions clearly state that he's more equipped to be you acquaintance than a good friend. So I say, leave it at that. Once you change your expectations I think you'll find that things start to be easier. If as you back off, he suddenly starts making an effort then I think it's worth bringing up your concerns Otherwise, just enjoy him as a hobby-related friend and nothing more.


Join The Conversation
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 8 years
not to be eman but, he probably just needed a roomate...and found someone else to fill the need. He may be super self-absorbed, so of course he'll tell you whatever works to get you to do what he wants you to- winning friends and influencing people, right? blaaargh
bluestar bluestar 8 years
If you're fed up and not getting your friendship needs met, then I would just drop it.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I definitely wouldn't become roommates with someone you feel doesn't contribute equally to a friendship. If he doesn't contribute equally to rent/cleaning/etc. you won't be friends AT ALL! This doesn't mean he can't just be a "fun" friend though - I'm sure you enjoy different friends for different reasons. Some are truly "kindred spirits" and some are just FUN to be around! This guy sounds like he's probably just a "fun" friend, and that's OK if you see it for what it is, and don't expect too much out of him.
psterling psterling 8 years
I dated a guy once with an insanely large circle of friends as well, and truth be told, he just didn't have enough time for everyone, especially me. So my advice to you is just drop it. Yeah, he's nice and you like hanging out with him, but he's just not equipped to be the friend you need right now. Keep him as a casual acquaintance though, no need to burn bridges.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
HeidiMD - so weird that you also have this situation!
skigurl skigurl 8 years
it's so funny that you write this because i, too, have a gay friend who i became close with because we were in the same program (very time consuming two year program) in a city where we knew very few people (both moved across the country to go to school)....but other than doing homework together, he ditched me all the time and while he always says how much he values our friendship and we get along so well and discuss how we like each other more than everyone else at school, he completely dismisses me....he is the biggest flake ever. and now that we're both back in our home state, he still has never made an effort to hang out, but we do email fairly regularly...oh, and we did also discuss living together but he ended up living with another girl we went to school with who really annoyed both of us...very strange it's like he was just using me for moral support while writing our theses..very similar situation, and i don't have much advice for you, other than to realize he's a flake and not invest too much into this friendship because he is only interested in one thing: himself! not to generalize but i think gay guys have much different priorities than single girls friend has slept with tons of people and would ditch me for a date at a drop of a hat....he doesn't feel the need to keep his close friends close because his apartment is a revolving door of "friends" both platonic and not...
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
He sounds like a bit of a Prima Donna if you ask me.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I have this exact problem with "my gay friend" as well, so it is funny that this was posted. We became close friends in college, and when I started medical school, he asked me to move in with him. Our friendship was amazing for years and years. I eventually moved out and into my boyfriend's house when his serious boyfriend moved in. I thought it would be appropriate to give them their space as a couple, and I wanted to move in with my own guy (who is now my fiance). I wish I could say our friendship had to do with our relationships, or even our jobs, but it doesn't! We work at the same hospital and understand the demands of our individual jobs, and I make the effort to call him to see if he wants to hang out as often as I can. When he never returns my phone calls, but then tells me during a break at work how much fun he had over the weekend with some other person, I can't help but feel a little hurt. However, whenever we hang out, he tells me how much he loves me and how valuable our friendship is -- but he does NOTHING to show it. Bottom line: it is frustrating! I don't have many friends to begin with, so I'd like to hang onto the ones I do have.
karen408 karen408 8 years
It may be helpful to reflect if this is personal towards you, or the way he is. I have a friend who considers me his best friend, but drives me nuts b/c he never initiates any plans. However, I've known him for 20 years and I know he's that way with all his friends, not just me. Every so often I evaluate things, but I still conclude that his positives outweight this one negative that makes me crazy LOL
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
If you think the friendship is unbalanced, and your friendship is under-valued, by all means, walk away from it. Value yourself, and do not accept this mistreatment. Do not accept this under-appreciation. It's your choice.
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