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8 common friendship problems and how to fix them

January 19, 2012 | By | 122 Replies Continue Reading

It’s almost as hard to generalize about friendship problems—as it is to figure out how to solve them. Some situations may sound the same or have certain elements in common but when it comes down to the details, every friendship has a different trajectory based on a unique mix of personalities, circumstances and history.

When a serious problem does crop up in a friendship, it’s generally unexpected, disappointing, and very uncomfortable to deal with. Communication is key, but many times we’re at a loss for what to say or how to approach a sticky situation.

When another journalist recently asked me to identify some of the sticky situations that typically occur among followers of this blog, the 8 scenarios listed below were ones that seemed to recur frequently. I’ve provided a suggestion or two for resolving each of them.  


Your friend is too busy to make plans, breaks plans, and can’t be counted upon.


Make sure she’s aware of what she’s doing; let her know she’s disappointed you; and ask her to be more reliable. If the problem persists, you may need to dilute the friendship by seeing her less frequently and/or relying on more reliable friends.


You can’t stand your friend’s boyfriend or spouse. 


It’s her partner, not yours—and you don’t have to like him. What attracts two people can be hard to quantify or understand. If you don’t like her choice, try to carve out ways to spend time together with her, without him. You can say how you feel but don’t try to talk her out of the way she feels. Of course, if you think her choice of partner is self-destructive, let her know that and try to be there for her.


Your friend is infertile and you’re pregnant, again. 


Do everything you can to be sensitive to your friend’s feelings but the difficulties she’s having may be so painful that it’s hard for her to be around you. Continue to be empathetic, refrain from talking about children and childbearing constantly, and don’t be surprised if she needs some space.


You and your friend were attached at the hip and now have nothing to say to each other.


Your lives may have become so divergent that the friendship isn’t what it once was. Friendships have their ups and downs, and few of them last forever. See if you can figure out what’s wrong by talking about it. If it’s a matter of you, her, or both of you having changed,  try to maintain a more distant connection without cutting off the friendship entirely.


You feel like you and your child are being excluded by a group of mothers. 


Ouch! The only thing more painful than feeling left out is feeling like your child is left out. See if you can talk to one or more of the parents to see if you can maintain a relationship with her (or them) apart from the group. It might also be wise to try to meet new moms and kids.


Your colleague, with whom you are close friends, is taking advantage of your friendship by slacking off on her work. You were recently promoted and made her supervisor. 


It’s unfortunate that she’s done this. To preserve the friendship and maintain productivity at work, you need to speak to her and clearly define your expectations of her performance in the workplace.


You have introduced your best friend to another friend of yours and the two of them no longer include you in their plans. 


Although this feels rotten, friend poaching happens more often than you might think. Perhaps, the two of them just hit it off. You can see if you can maintain a relationship with one or the other of the two but, unfortunately, if you can’t, you may need to find a new best friend. 


Your friend has dumped you without an explanation and you need “closure.” 


After a friendship has gone south, it’s nice when two people have a common understanding of what happened and why—but this isn’t always possible. Often, friends don’t give us that opportunity. You can let the dust settle and try to talk to her again but you may need to achieve closure on your own by letting go and moving on.

What are some other common problems you’ve observed or experienced that could be added to the list?

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Comments (122)

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  1. Michelle says:

    I’m losing my best friend and don’t know what went wrong

  2. Complicated story says:

    I have this friend that i have known since we where 4 years old who i really dont want to lose. All though she isn’t letting me get close to any other people. Whenever i get close to someone else who is popular she becomes a different person and does stuff behind my back. Although she doesnt care about our friendship anymore because she has a lot of friends. All of the people she’s friend with i am friends with too but they would choose her over me. Honestly she is keeping me from becoming more popular (which i dont really care about that much except when she says atuff to make them dislike me) and i dont know why. We where the best friends anyone could ever want to be.when we where 7 atleast i miss those days. I go to a small school where there aren’t many choices for friends so this makes it impossible to get a real group of friends. My friend i know uses this against me by taking advantage of me and since i called her out on it she is mad at me and made every one if my friends mad at me. Sorry this is not good writing because its kind of random but please reply.

  3. Fizzy says:

    Try tell her you were being stupid and didn’t mean it ( of you did tuff luck bruh ) and try make up. i love internet so this does work ( most of the time.. ) Try give her a laugh and you’ll be fine lad.

  4. Kay says:

    I spent my 20’s being the life of the party, with more friends than I could count and about 15 girls I considered best friends. Then I met my husband, settled down, got married, bought a house, etc. Between him, our demanding careers, our pets, our families, financial constraints, etc. I just can’t find time for friends anymore. I’m still close with my sisters and cousins who were always in my core group. But sometimes I feel guilty for not trying to make more time for my old friends. Honestly we don’t have much in common anymore. They still like to party and they’re always having some type of drama going on. Is it ok for me to just let go of these friendships?

    • Eddie says:

      Sure, let go of your friendships all you want; however, when you need someone outside your family and husband, don’t expect them to come back to support you, especially if you’ve let them go.
      Sure, life changes us, but if those friendships really mattered, you’d find some way to continue to include them.

  5. Trish says:

    Hello! My fiancee’s best friend and his wife have ditched us entirely after a good 1 and a half years of couples’ friendship and we are baffled. The guys were friends for over 20 years and spend the majority of their time together when they were single or even during relationships. In fact, my fiancee and I dated 10 years ago and split due to immaturity/jealousy issues but got back 3 years ago because, immaturity aside, we missed each other and everything else is solid so I remember hanging with this best friend and his ex at the time and it was great. After 1 year of dating my fiancee, this time around, the best friend starting dating someone and poof within 1 year and a half they were married and pregnant. We all hung out during the dating phase, we were even their only friends at their wedding and continued our dinner dates during the pregnancy. After she gave birth we did not see them for 6 months so we started to have a clue that weren’t the greatest friends at this point but what happened next was truly unexpected. They started to have marrital issues, which one day out of the blue (with no prior intimate conversations) she just started calling me crying her about her husband’s abusive yelling at her meanwhile the best friend was not saying anything to my fiancee. This continued for months and I started to feel uncomfortable as the best friend was calling my fiancee less and less and seemed less interested in him which I found deplorable considering the good friend my fiacee has always been to him (ex: generous, gave him free stuff, hired him when he needed extra cash and always put the bigger effort). Finally we actually met their child a few times and then they hit rock bottom in their relationship with an account of domestic violence. I mostly listened and tried to be as nutral as possible while she said really bad things about her husband and tried to offer positive encouragemet and not get mixed into their stuff. Then, they patched things, apparently, and made a rule that we were not to call them after 7:30 at night during the weekday because their daughter would be sleeping. I suggested many dinners and stuff like that but she seemed distant and just like that they were gone. While, in retrospect, it is no big loss to us as we have seen their true selfish colors I can’t help wonder…What happened??

  6. My friend messed with my sister so I went and showed her how pissed I was online. Then we had an argument and she said she didn’t want to fight Bout small things. I said I didn’t too but not to do it again, then she left the group! I don’t know what to do, she lives in my condo after all, I don’t know if I should resolve it or be mad and show how much my sister means to me and what I’ll do if they mess with her. Should I avoid her? But she lives In my condo, this talk will go on for days, what should i do?

  7. Isabella says:

    Me n my friend got in a fight over this book that had rules in it n she did one of the rules that my other friend made a kept blaming her problems on me n kept saying I made the rules she had got out of hand n I had gave her a best friend necklace for Christmas but she lost then she said the necklace was stupid n then started talking abt me were in the same home room class but we have different classes at different time so this other girl tht don’t like me try to be Best friends with her n she accept it so she started talking abt me behind my back n that girl tht was took my friend had change her scent that girl that took my friend n replace me she had change her personality n now she acting just like the girl tht hates me which tht girl does bad bad things so she got my ex best friend in to wanted to fight me n her other friends this all happen over a book nna necklace what should I do ?????????

  8. Sunny says:

    I told my friend I would show up to something but something came up so I couldn’t go. This isn’t the first time this has happened since the events are weekly. She accused me of lying because I gave her 2 reasons of which I listed. I guess she misunderstood and thought I was lying. Now she’s mad and I’ve been avoiding her to make things less complicated. I mean I don’t like being accused of lying but she’s still my best friend. What should I do?

    • Lillian says:

      Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. She’s the one who needs to figure out that she misunderstood. You could talk to her about it but there’s not much you can do in that situation.

  9. silviiia says:

    recently I found I was having problems with my best friend he was angry with me because I did not come to show his birthday but I already apologized and tried to comfort her back I was confused so that my friends can forgive me back but it turns out I found him further away I can you help me solve this problem?

    • god help you . says:

      god with you

      • Anne says:

        I understand how you feel.Guys feel the need to be reassured of their relationships even if they don’t know it. They feel that they could loose youover someone they think is beter than them so they distance themselves, afraid to get too hurt. Just reassure him

  10. Honeylemon says:

    Last year, i found a new circle of friends..i instantly became very close with one girl..but that girl didnt really like my friend(classmate) and started to talk bad abt her..at some point,even i didnt like my classmate(maybe i must be influenced) and stopped hanging out with my classmate.After really getting to know the girl who i recently became close with started to annoy me like hell.She is just not the type of friend i wanted to have in my life..i even tried to accept her the way she is but she just keep on disappointing me..i distanced myself from her and just become her casual friend.Now my ‘casual friend’ is very close with my friend (classmate) and they started hanging out like best friends.I spend alot of time caring about them when they were my friend.Now their friendship has become some kind of a stressful thing to me.

    • gemma says:

      I have honestly been in the same place… it might anoy you at first and also be angry about it at some point … but maybe you should try hanging out with new people ,and if you still want to hang out with them … why dont you hang out with one of them alone …cause you might feel like the third wheel … and also if you think that you can fine words easily .. i mean you speak whats on your mind easy.. why dont you talk to the girl that used to say bad things about your classmate.. ??

  11. ana says:

    i have 2 friends but there leaving me out and sometimes the talk about me behind my back and one of my friend only cares about her self i´ve many chances i dont know what to do i think i should no be their friend anymore and they are my only friends the problem is that they are not including me to play with them they said that they were not playing tag but they were and they didnt even ask me.

    • Nailah says:

      I feel the same way Esha was my friend and now she’s acting all that. We were so close and she said she wanted to move because of me like omg I have feelings too. I didn’t even do anything to her. I wish she could just move away now because I don’t like her no more.im just pretending to be her friend to see what she does. We always have fights and it all because of her. She started a fight on my other friend Natasha’s birthday and ruined her day.wish she could just go away.then she goes talking stuff she doesn’t know and making everyone go against me

  12. SalMinaJ says:

    A close friend of mine just dumped me recently and I don’t really care. As long as I know I have better things to do in life , that should be enough for me. Usually,when you are deeply emotionally broke down or they reached to their certain level of success , their actions and words towards you defines everything. Showing them your weakness side can actually make peoples’day.

  13. twentyfiveleaves says:

    well as for me, I am 13. and 1 day, my best friend decided to bond with 3 people that we are not really close with although we are a clique. Initially, my best friend and I have 2 cliques; we always stick to 1 clique and neglected the other one[which is the 3 people she decided to bond with.]1 day, I got really upset and my clique broke. As for the clique we bond a lot with, they always sided my best friend and therefore resulted in many problems with the clique.. and 2clique broke.it was really very depressing for me, I even tried to suicide and all because I realised I was at fault. I apologized sincerely a total of 7 times per person and nothing worked.to be honest, after both clique broke, I found a clique where I am actually pretty welcomed. But for this clique, I realised that they aren’t suitable for my type like probably because they are over obedient and unlike my 2cliques, we are always vulglar and all and we rant everything together. But one day, my best friend, suddenly got nice with me. I betrayed 1 of my friend and told her that she calls her a ”step bitch” but this 1 friend of mine actually helped me when I was ”kicked” by the clique. And when my best friend complains about her, I told her too. so basically , I betrayed both side and this is like the biggest regret of my life I swear. I could have just accepted the new clique that I’ve got and bond with them and I could have just stayed at friends with my ex bestfriend but instead everything went wrong. oh well, it was like a 8v1. I was alone, and they are all against me in whatsapp group and started talking craps and mean comments about me so to be honest It should be school hours now but instead I skipped school as I was really super upset and afraid to see so many people against me and I just couldn’t live as happily as how I should be. all in all, please remember that betraying is something that will tear all of u apart and at the end of the day you’ll be left with nothing.

  14. Margot says:

    I have had 3 big friendship problems over the past 7 years, I’m in yr 6. One time my friend Adele and I have been best friends for about 2 years, then a new girl came and i let her into my group with adele. One day adele changed the way she thought of me and went off with the new girl Lana. She became a real Bitch and spread rumours about me and convincing my friends and that i said rude things about them. They all turned their back on me. But i found new friends that stood up for me. But Lana was a perfect student in school so the teachers always believed her not me – i was telling the truth. It went on like this for 1 year and 4 months. I am graduating soon and i hope to never see Lana ever again. Because no one should suffer like i did.
    My advice is to go and look for people who aren’t caught up in drama, its not worth it. Good luck to all of you…Xx

  15. Kathy says:

    My friend and I have been besties for 15 yrs. Love her to pieces but she has begun to act embarrassing. ..never shuts up, same stories about stuff nobody cares about, loud, obnoxious. 52 yrs old and still very thin and pretty but acts like she is still 25. I can barely stand to be around her…but I know what a great person she is and don’t want to end the friendship!
    From the obnoxious chick’s BFF

  16. Ed Cannings says:

    I have a girl friend and every day we are together, she lives one place and I live another, but I drive and we do things together. I am 85 and she is 83.
    She has a son who is married, and they call me the baby setter. They both work and I fit in fine, I take her places like doctor, trips etc., I am a little concerned about her family should something happened, death, break-up. I have a will. Can her family in any why be a problem, distributing funds to my family should I pass on, Alberta laws is my concern. I don`t wont them to crate any promblems in my death, or a break-up, not that I,m thinking of that at present. Can you give me any advice?

    • Laura says:

      Ed, your relationship sounds amazing! You are both so lucky.

      You need to speak with an attorney about estate planning. No one here can help you with that.

    • Irene says:

      How nice that you have a girlfriend whose company you enjoy and vice versa.
      If you are concerned about your will and assets after you pass away, you really need legal advice from someone familiar with Albert laws.

      Best, Irene

  17. Can't say says:

    Want a bullet point version?
    o Had a BFFFFFFFFFFFF for 1 1/2 – 2 yrs
    o she met another popular girl
    o friendship ruined
    the [profanity removed by moderator] end

  18. Christina says:

    My best friend Sequioa threated me but I don’t know why all she said was I will never talk to you and I never will. But I said “Why would you say that” and she said because her best friend Geneva but this website is just perfect. But her best friend Geneva laughs on purpose a lot.

  19. Syd says:

    My friend is always begging for attention and she makes all the boys her slaves. She even makes them dump her lunch tray. She doesn’t even aknowledge me and insta and she posted a list of friends that I wasn’t on. She used to be my best friend but now she looks at me like I’m stupid. She acts better than me. I know she wasn’t raised that way.

    • Dina says:

      Move on . Talk about this with your parents . You can’t stick with just 1 friend. Find new friends. Never talking trash about this person because it’ll get worse if she knew it. Always think positive like ” god loves her” . Stay calm , positive and detached

      • shadow says:

        lol just try to get more atractive ya know cause she might, possibly like you try to see what she does if you get a bunch of girls seround chu & do the same in insta it may work

    • kaipa says:

      If you don’t like the way she is now, then just leave her and find a new friend, it isn’t that hard if you’re a good person [you sound like a good person ^^] and never EVER go with the flow. You need to be who you really are, don’t let a douchey friend stop you, trust me, I know. She is not better than you if she doesn’t have enough energy to dump her own tray. If she is trying to prove in some sick way that she is, just know that it means you are better and she wants to just prove you wrong. Hope this helped, good luck!

  20. Dina says:

    Me and my friend ( classmate ) got in a huge arguments . I already make my apologize to her . But she didnt seem to make up with me. The next day (friday) she didnt came to school. This is hard for me. Plus , this girl is sitting next to me in our class. Help me. I will not giving up on her. We both involved in same school project. This is going to be awkward.

    • Jess says:

      honestly, if she keeps it up.. Just find someone better, Like i have more friends on the internet than irl.
      Try show who you are to her and add her into groups and activities but, if she just becomes a pain then.. Its time you find a new branch. find new friends that have the same hobbies, give yourself inner peace, if she’s the only one in your class that your friends with because there not the same or have your same hobbies, then try get to know them either way, because you don’t know if your from the same Branch until you get to know them. and don’t be shy in life! you have this one chance! its fun to have friends! but even better to make friends!

  21. sara says:

    my problem is my friend allwes run from me she dont want to play with me i dont know whay

  22. Phoebe says:


  23. Wanda says:

    My so called best friend has been ditching me for a girl I don’t like and when My bestie and I hangout we both talk shit on that girl..Now my best friend is posting all this crap about how much she loves this girl. Wtf..Aren’t best friends supposed to hate the same people and not lie..

    • Farah says:

      This sucks. Talk to your friend about it and explain the situation because honestly if i was you, i would want a good reason for all the crap your friend has done.
      Tip: don’t talk to your friend in front of the girl you talked shit about her.
      If “your friend” doesn’t respect what you did, just move on because no lair is worth you god damn time gurrll. They’re a lot of fish in the sea – said someone

      • Eli says:

        Well, I got almost the same problem but it’s a bit different. I had a best friend (sorry I have to talk in the past now :c) and we were the best BFFs in the world. But one day, she got really close to her cheerleaders friends and she forgot me. And she met the girl I never liked because she dumped me for no valuable reason… So now I got useless and got replaced by the girl I hate. The thing is I don’t know if I should make efforts to talk to her again (it’s been 3 weeks I’m trying) or just move on (even if I can’t) :/

    • Jess says:

      People change in life but, this girl, she might be better than you think, try be nice to her and she might also and the you’ll have another friend.

  24. Unsaid says:

    My friend and I have been getting Chrismas gifts for each other for over 5 years now. This year however, I was the only one that gave a gift to her, her husband and her children. Not that money means anything but I spent I pretty penny on their gifts… I know this sounds petty and I shouldn’t be upset but my feelings are hurt. I realize times are tight and tough right now but the least she could have done was gotten me a Christmas card. I appreciate that more than a gift. Anyway, do I approach this situation or do I just let it go?

    • Laura says:

      Gifts are voluntary, so you need to let it go. If you feel she is downgrading your friendship adjust accordingly next year.
      Another thought, money could be a problem and she’s ashamed to say so.

  25. Lil' Fizz says:

    I said something stupid to my best friend on facebook and now she’s angry at me and I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!!!!!!! Helllllp

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