I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about friends falling short. They stop inviting us, they leave us out, they make us feel like we don’t belong anymore.

And I get it, I’ve been there. Heck, I’m there now.

I was once a part of a big group of ladies, though looking back I’m not sure I was ever truly a part. We came together on a nearly weekly basis, sharing meals and intimate details of our lives.

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But as time marched on and my life became more complicated, I found myself invited to fewer and fewer of their get-togethers. Soon, it turned into those awkward “oh, I swore I added you to the invite!” conversations. And now I just see pictures of them all together on social media, still meeting, still sharing, still smiling, just without me there.

And in all honesty, it hurts. I think about those photos much longer than I’d care to admit.

But here’s the thingwhether or not I have fulfilling friendships in my life is not actually their responsibility.

Sure, I would love for them to love me and my family. I’d kill for someone to show up at my front door with coffee and a hot meal in hand, to invite me on weekend trips and girls’ nights, to be that ride or die you hear people gush about. But . . . that specific group of women is not actually responsible for filling that need in my life.

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They have their own needs and families and lives to think about, of which I likely don’t know all the details. They reserve the right to decide how to spend every single ounce of their own time and energy. And if they decide not to invest that time and energy into a friendship with me, that’s something I need to accept and respect.

Because it’s their choice. They don’t owe me a thing. They owe themselves. They owe their families. But not necessarily me. And that’s OK.

The truth is the one person responsible for me enjoying fulfilling friendships . . . is me.

If I initiate friendships that don’t pan out, it’s up to me to assess the relationship, cut ties when necessary, and work to make new connections. And if my next connection isn’t mutually beneficial, I need to try again. (Quick reminder: If someone’s not interested in being your friend, you deserve better anyway.)

Yes, it’s exhausting work until you find that friend who values and invests in you. And unfortunately, even when you find them, they may not be that friend forever. Sometimes a friend is just a friend for a season and then you have to start your search all over again. And that’s OK, too.

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So please . . . if someone has rejected you or made you feel as if you don’t belong, don’t sit in that rejection. Don’t feel hurt or sad for yourself, at least not for long.

Friend, there are nearly eight billion people in this world. Surely one of them would be a fantastic friend to you. Go find them!

Deb Preston

Deb Preston lives just outside of San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. She launched her blog, DebTakesHerLifeBack.com, to document her journey from surviving life as a new mom battling depression and identity loss, to truly living it again. Her goal is to provide honest, practical guidance to help encourage and make the journey easier for others. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.