You gain some, you lose some: how to know if a friendship is dwindling

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Emma Thumann

Throughout life, friends are bound to come and go. Groups will break up, drama will leave ruin in their wake, and jealousy will be on the rise as people watch Snapchat stories of friends having fun without them. One thing to note is that this will definitely happen during high school. People will graduate from middle school with some friends and go to college with different ones, or sometimes fewer.
There are more noticeable ways friendships tend to dissipate. Arguments and other forms of conflict are also reasons friends fall apart. But what if the signs are not so obvious? What if one can’t tell if their relationship is steady or unstable? Here are a few signs to be concerned about.
They make plans in front of you, without including you.
It’s bad enough if “friends” don’t invite you places, but it’s even worse when they make plans within earshot in the same room as you. Not only is it rude, but also extremely disrespectful. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has definitely become a reality at that point.
If this happens to you, what may seem like a reasonable solution would be to ask your friends to not talk about potential plans in front of you, but that won’t fix it. Sure, they won’t do that again, but instead, they will talk plans without you when you’re not in the room. So, not only are you not invited, but you don’t even know that they’re making plans without you in mind.
They no longer initiate plans with you.
Communication is and always will be key to any lasting relationship. It’s how people make plans and stay in touch. With technology, it should be much easier, unless if there are “friends” that have no reason to talk to you unless you initiate the idea of hanging out first. If you’re the one that’s always asking them to do something together, you probably care more about the “friend” than they care about you, and that’s a bit of a problem.
When it comes to any relationship, it should never be one-sided. Successful and long-lasting relationships last when everyone puts in a constant and equal amount of time and effort to preserve it. When it starts to become one-sided, it will fall apart sooner or later.
They say they’re always busy.
This can be a little harder to tell, as the “friend” may have a legitimate reason as to why they’re always busy all the time. Something troubling may be going on in their life, or they’re always working or volunteering, which is completely valid. However, if they’re just replying with “sorry, I’m busy” over and over again with no other form of context, this could prove to be problematic. 
It also hurts when you could ask the same person when they’re available over and over again (sometimes for months at a time) and be met with similar excuses, only to watch as they ask another friend when they’re available because suddenly they’re free.
You’re never in their group chats, or the group chat you’re in with them is scarcely used.
This could be with texting or social media apps like Snapchat. Regardless, some people have to beg their way into a group chat, only to have a separate one made that includes them but is never used. It’s definitely an issue when you’re aware that there are multiple group chats of the same people for some weird reason. Not only does that hurt, but it’s not inclusive. 
Relationships have to be open to anyone joining a conversation, a hangout, or anything of the sort. There shouldn’t have to be drama about group chats, and under absolutely no circumstances should someone have to beg their way into being included. At that point the relationship is toxic and you should either get to the root of the problem or disassociate with the relationship entirely.
How can relationships be fixed if they’re on the verge of disappearing?
First and foremost, communication! It’s basically the one and only way to figure out what’s in the minds of your “friends”. Get straight to the point and ask them if they even want to hang out with you anymore. Ask if they care and if they are willing to preserve the relationship. Hopefully they’re honest, however, you have to be prepared with the response. It may not be what you want to hear.
Before confronting them, it’s important to not assume anything. There is always a small chance that the situation is being read completely wrong. This is why communication is so important because while confronting them having misread the situation, more drama could arise and the relationship is harmed even more rather than fixed.
Regardless if all goes well or if all goes horribly, just know that one day, five or so years from now you can look back at this time and reflect. At that point you may not be friends with this person or group, maybe you still are. No matter what the outcome was, there will always be new friends to be made. It’s hard when you’re the kind of person that tends to cling to the past, but sometimes it’s best to let go and figure things out.