SparkNotes Blog

Auntie SparkNotes: I Want My Friends to Text Me More

Hello Auntie,

My friends are constantly on their phones. Whether we are chilling in our dorm or just going out to a restaurant, the mobile devices are always in hand. While this excessive use doesn’t really bother me, I feel left out because I never receive texts or Snapchats or anything from them. I know they text/Snap each other all the time because they discuss who messaged them and when. It sounds like they all message each other on a daily basis. And by each other, I mean everyone in our small friend group EXCEPT me.

I know this sounds petty, but am I justified in feeling upset about this? I try to text first, but the conversations never last long. Lately I’ve actually been feeling pretty depressed and lonely because I sit in my room all day and just wait for my phone to ring. I’m awkward at starting the conversation and would prefer if they texted me first. How can I ask them to text me more without sounded annoyingly clingy?

Like this: You can put on a banana costume and some mime makeup, run into a room where your friends are all gathered, brandish a katana, and scream, “If someone doesn’t Snapchat me every day until the end of the year, I’m going to start killing hostages!”

The good news, Sparkler, is that this won’t make you sound annoyingly clingy.

The bad news, of course is that it will make you look absolutely batshizz insane, and it’ll probably get you arrested, too.

So… yeah, maybe don’t do that.

And look, I know it really stings to feel like you’re being left out of some bonding activity that all your other friends are part of. That’s never fun, and it’s natural that you’re hurt. But there’s something in your letter that kept jumping out at me, and it’s something I want to point out to you, because I wonder if you’ve noticed it. And that thing is that despite wanting to be on equal footing with your friends, text-wise, you don’t actually seem like you even really like texting that much.

You say that you’re awkward at starting text conversations, and bad at keeping them going. You also say that your friends are always on their phones, which suggests that you, by contrast, are not. Basically, you’ve painted a picture of a group in which everyone is extremely screen-oriented except for you — and it also sounds like you, personally, don’t find your phone anywhere near as interesting and don’t enjoy using it communicate that much.

And if that’s right, then here’s the problem: You don’t want your friends to text you more because you’d like to be part of these conversations. You want them to text you for symbolic reasons, to prove that they actually like you despite the fact that you’re not much of a texter and they don’t text you much. Which is sort of like wanting to be invited to a movie you have no desire to see, and that your friends know you have no desire to see, just because you want the opportunity to be asked and say no.

Maybe I’m wrong about that, and if I am, you can tell me. But otherwise, I would strongly encourage you to ask yourself if you’re really being fair by fixating on this one thing as a litmus test for your friends’ loyalty. I would also suggest, gently, that the answer is probably not. Do your friends show up for you in other ways? Listen when you need to talk? Include you on in-person outings? Respond to you when you do get in touch? I have to assume that you’d have mentioned it if they didn’t. And if they’re there for you in the ways that matter, is this one really so important that it’s worth cutting off all those other avenues of communication and sulking in your room?

Don’t get me wrong: You can still tell someone, ideally whichever friend you’re closest with, that you don’t love it when they’re all talking about Snapchat and you can’t participate. Strip away everything else about this response, and that would still be my advice: to just say, “Hey, I feel really left out when you guys do this,” and trust that your friends will do what they can to make things better, because that’s what friends do. And yes, in that case, they probably would start messaging you more, at least for awhile. But it takes two people to keep a line of communication humming, so if you’re not that into digital communication — and it really sounds like you aren’t — then you’ll probably find that getting what you want doesn’t make you feel any better. And eventually, things will likely go back to the way they are now.

At which point you’d want to be glad that you appreciate the things you do have in common with your friends, and the enjoyable time you spend together in person and off your phones. And you’d also want to be glad that you didn’t compound your insecurities and sabotage your relationships by isolating yourself away over a lack of Snapchat love.

That’s a not-so-subtle hint to stop sitting in your room waiting for your phone to ring, by the way.

Seriously, get out of there and go do something fun.

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