Friendship Slipping Away?

Dear Relationshipper,

I have a friend that I have been close to for over a decade and lately she has pulled back from the friendship. When I call, she either does not return the call, or we will make indefinite plans for the future and I will not hear back from her. I know that her life is busy at the moment, but no so busy to completely preclude her from having the time to talk for a while or go out for lunch or dinner. Our situations in life have changed recently, with me graduating and getting married, while she is single and remains in school. When I broached the topic of having not talked recently, she simply said she has been in a little of a funk and not seeing anyone, but it feels like more than that to me. What is the best way to open up a discussion about this and get an honest response? I do not want to lose this friendship, but I do not want to start a dramatic discussion.


Dear Karie,

Friendships can go through periods of feast and famine.  One year you’re practically inseparable, and the next you hardly see each other at all.  If your friend is indeed feeling a bit depressed, you should try to have patience with her and focus on drawing her out of this feeling of melancholy.  After all, isn’t that what friends are for?  However, you could be correct that there is some other issue lurking in the shadows of your friendship.

We all know what it’s like to experience the cold shoulder.  Sometimes it’s tough to get the “true” story, even when the person admits they are upset with you.  If she is reluctant to be honest about her feelings, it’s going to be difficult to resolve this situation without the “dramatic” discussion you mentioned.  However, there are a couple of ways to make a quieter attempt toward a solution.

Put yourself in her position.  She may perceive you as being “ahead of the game” life-wise.  Perhaps she is jealous that you’re married and done with school.  If you were her, what kind of attention would you desire?  Send her an occasional ecard saying, “Glad you’re my friend”, or something similar.  If she’s busy, offer to cook her a simple pasta dinner one night.  When you talk to her, ask her how she’s doing – not just a quick, “How are you doing?” but a heartfelt, “Jennifer, how are you doing lately?  I know you’ve said you feel like you’re in a funk.  Are you okay?”  Give her a laugh by sending an occasional text quoting an old private joke between the two of you.

It’s hard to resist a friend who bombards you with laughter and love.  If she still does not respond to your appeals, you have two choices: 1) ask her definitively (once or more) if she is upset with you, or 2) don’t ask her anything, leaving your friendship open to the risk of fading into oblivion.

She may not be ready to deal with a dramatic discussion either.  Give your relationship the best effort you can muster and if that doesn’t work, you may have to accept the fact that the nature of your friendship has taken a new form.

Do you have any problems with your friends?  Send me your questions:



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