And now she’s branded me a fake! A letter writer wonders what she did wrong;
our elder warns that she may never find out, but has some tips on how to move on from this.
My best friend of nine years stopped talking to me out of the blue over a month ago. Two weeks before Thanksgiving she refused to make eye contact when I tried to speak to her and she would make little to no responses (“yes” or “no”). At first I assumed it was just stress but she’s always talked it out with me. From there it only progressively got worse. After attempting to get our mutual friend to sit with her; putting her in the middle she would sit in the library during study hall and lunch. She just recently unfriended me from every social media site. I have tried calling and texting her but she never answers my messages though she reads them. On a social media site she started posting stuff about fake friends and it was obviously pointing at me. The thing is she talks to everyone else just fine but when it comes to her “old” friends we are now “fake”. I’m very lost and hurt at her sudden change in behavior. I just honestly want to know why she is acting this way. We both have been through a lot together and I don’t understand how she could throw away nine years of friendship without explanation.
Elder Sage replies
I empathize with you. Although I personally have not experienced a BF cutting off all ties, I recently witnessed my wife go through this situation with a person who she has been friends with since they graduated college together.
I watched as my wife tried to make contact and get to the root of the problem. She never did and to this day, she still has not figured out why the friend decided to drop her and the organizations that they were in together.
I am telling you about my wife’s situation because I want you to realize that there is a possibility that you might never find the real reason why your friend has shut you out. Sometimes it’s a gift when people walk away from you, even when you feel the grief of a friendship lost.
Look at it this way, not everyone is meant to be in your life forever, so if you cannot revive the friendship, forgive her for choosing to communicate with silence, and move on to other people who want to be in your life.
Having said that, here are some tips and strategies that you might try as you attempt to get your friend back:
Accept that you can’t control the behavior of your friend. You only have control over yourself and your own actions. You can’t force her to hang out with or talk to you; you can control, however, how you react to her shutting you out.
Reflect on your previous interactions and see if any situations come to mind in which there may have been tension between you and your friend. Dig deep and figure out what you could have done to make it happen.
Is it possible that your friend may be feeling offended or hurt by something you said or did? Did you say something behind her back that you knew you shouldn’t? Did you make an insensitive joke or comment? It’s possible that you may have offended your friend or hurt her feelings and that she is distancing herself from you for a while. Once you’ve pinpointed the reason, you can figure out how to talk about it.
I think figuring out the reason gives you more ammo when you go into the conversation than just asking the person why he or she is ignoring you without knowing why. You’ll be more prepared about what to say and more ready to defend your actions.
If you can pinpoint a problem, offer a sincere apology for your part in causing the rift.
Give your friend some space. I think that one of the worst thing you can do is call, text, and Facebook message her every five seconds “What’s wrong? What did I do?”
Instead, take a step back to let the her cool off or just get some distance from you, and think about the situation before you proceed.
Talk it out with your friend. I know this is hard to do when she is ignoring you. But, try your best to get into contact with her with a clear message: I want to understand what’s wrong.
Send an email, note, or letter that says something like: “I’m trying to figure out why you have completely shut me out. I’m so sorry if I have offended you in any way. I want to make it right and move forward, so if you’re willing please let me know.”
Explain that you are perplexed by her ignoring you during recent encounters and want to understand why it is happening.
If you still can’t get a response out of your friend but would consider reconciling with her at some point in the future, send her a note, email, letter and let her know you care about her and will leave the door open if she wants to work things out. You can say something like, “I’m not sure what’s going on. However, if at some point you’d like to talk I’m open to that. I’ll be here.”
There was a reason she shut you out, and until you know what that is, you can’t jump to conclusions and get angry. Forgive her for ending the friendship this way and move on.