I bring my best friend down

She always seems happier with other people than she does with me. 

Don’t feel you have to distance yourself from her, says our elder. Try having a heart-to-heart.


Dear EWC

I feel like my best friend is happier with others than me. She seems so tired or sad or something very often, and whenever I ask her what’s going on she says that she’s just tired. I didn’t force myself, but I do tell her sometimes that if there’s something wrong, she can always talk to me. Whenever we’re together the mood is very down, there’s almost no conversation. When I see her with others she seems like a whole different person; talkative, happy, funny, … I wonder if it’s an obvious sign that she isn’t interested in the friendship we have? She even told me yesterday, when I asked her what was wrong, she told me that she just needed some time with her male friends. But ten minutes later I see her laughing and joking with another friend. I don’t have many friends, and she does have a lot of people. She kind of always ‘drags’ me to them, because I have no one else. For the past two days, I’ve started distancing myself. I’m sitting alone during breaks and such things. I just feel so lonely and complicated…. I often feel lonely but this time it’s different. I not only feel lonely, but it looks like I’m actually lonely. I just don’t want to talk to anyone else anymore.


Scott replies

I am sorry that you are feeling so lonely right now. It sounds like a lot of what you are going through is a reaction to your best friend. You said that she seems to be happier with other people than she is with you. It sounds like she does not seem to be normal self when she is around you. She seems tired, or sad.

I think you are doing the right thing by not forcing yourself on her, but letting her know that she can always turn to you if there is something wrong.

It sounds like the time you spend together is a bit awkward. The mood is down and there is very little conversation between you. This is a contrast to how you see her acting around other people. When she is with others you notice that she is talkative, happy, and funny.

You wonder if all this might be a sign that she isn’t interested in the friendship you have. There is another possibility… It might be that you are the only person she feels comfortable around being herself. Is it possible that the outgoing person she is around other people is just a show to seem happy?

You said that she is your best friend. From that, I gather you have some history with her and possibly been through some up and down times. Have you considered having a heart-to-heart talk with her and tell her what you have been observing? Doing that would require some risk. You would be putting yourself out there without knowing how she is going to respond. But it could also help her understand how her mood is affecting you.

I don’t think you will find any answers by distancing yourself from her. Sitting by yourself during breaks does not sound fun, and she may not know what to make of it. She might wonder why you are being distant, and even assume that you don’t want to spend time with her!

If you don’t feel comfortable asking her about it, then I would do something called “practicing non-anxious presence.” That means you continue relating to her as you normally would. Practice not feeling anxious about her behavior. Just assume that she wants to be with you and enjoy the time you have together. That is not an easy thing to do, but it will help change your frame of mind as you relate to her. I am not suggesting that you won’t still feel awkward if she is not responding to you, but it will help her relate to you in the way that she is used to relating to you.

I wouldn’t distance yourself from her with the hope that she will reach out to you. She may or may not – and if she does not, it could be for a variety of reasons. She might think you need some space, or even that you don’t want to be around her anymore.

I hope things improve in your friendship. It is not a good feeling when you think a friend is wanting to spend less time, or is less interested in you.

Article #: 418158

Category: Other

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