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friends who run hot and cold

This topic contains 34 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Lauren 3 months ago.

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  • #1915 Reply



    I am part of a large group of friends, one of whom downgraded me a few years ago. We had been very close and then suddenly one day – she stopped talking to me. She would act like everything was ok in public, or around other friends. But no more phone calls, no more one to one conversations, etc. Like others who have posted, I tried to find out what was wrong, etc to no avail. I had considered her to be a very close friend, so this was a very painful experience for me.

    Finally, I stopped trying to reconcile, to figure out what happened. I started making other friends. Started distancing myself from the larger group of friends. And guess what? Now she is being super friendly again.

    I am not sure if I should take this seriously or not. Is this just for show for the other friends? Is this for real? Do I risk losing other friends in this group if I do not reciprocate her friendliness?

    Has anyone experienced anything like this?


  • #7358 Reply


    I had a friend like that. It’s jealousy, pure and simple. Put her behind you and move on with your life. I kept this friend for years and I was sorry I did because she hurt me deeply.

  • #7359 Reply


    I also had a close friend who I used to talk to, text or email daily who suddenly cut off communication many months ago. We are neighbors and have a fairly social group of friends in our neighborhood. She has alternated between giving me the cold shoulder when she sees me or being friendly and acting like nothing has ever happened. A few times she has suddenly started communicating with me and I thought we were on our way to reconciling, then she suddenly turned cold again. Now she is suddenly trying to be friendly again. I’m tired of the emotional roller coaster, so I’m not falling for it anymore. I am cordial but trying to distance myself from her as much as possible. It is difficult because I’m afraid this is going to impact my friendship with some of our mutual friends, and I’m afraid that ultimately I am going to be portrayed as the dumper instead of the dumpee.

  • #7373 Reply


    Maybe the friend you are talking about wants to remain civil in a group but does not want the one on one close friendship anymore. That is so painful! I know–that has happened to me before. But it is very hard to spell out to someone else what is wrong. Maybe they don’t want a confrontation. My advice is to move on and find others you can have fun with. I doubt your mutual friends will blame you.

  • #7394 Reply


    I have a similar situation at work, and I am genuinely sorry for your loss. I know the situation is so painful and embarrassing. You deserve friends who really care for you, not ones who enjoy your friendship for a reason.
    One of my colleagues at work has seemingly been a good friend to me for years, but suddenly I’m beginning to think she doesn’t necessarily value my friendship as much as she values what I do at work. I’m the workhorse of our group, and often do work that in other departments would be done by my friend. I realize after reading many of these posts that she has been distancing herself from me for a while, but pays enough attention to our friendship to make sure I continue working in my position and don’t “stray” to other departments. I’ve noticed that she never calls me, never stops by, only asks me to stop by and see her if she believes that I am drifting away. I think she doesn’t want me to drift to another job, not drift away as a friend. When I think closely of the things she has said to me, I believe she has been honest in saying how much she values working with me, not how much she values me as a friend. I believe I need to be a better listener and realize that is what she is saying. I’ve enjoyed our friendship enough that i think I wanted to hear “friend” instead of colleague.
    Now I’m ready to listen. Frankly, I’m with all of you who say you’re tired of the emotional roller coaster. I’ve decided that if she is distancing herself from me, it will make it easier for me to create some distance also. I’m tired of feeling awkward when I get together with her and others, kind of like I’m imposing. It’s hurtful and embarrassing. We all usually ate lunch together but I’ve noticed that unless I include myself, she doesn’t call to include me. The group I’m involved with are my friends through her. However, every time I drift too far away, she tosses out the net and drags me back in. I don’t want to do this anymore.
    In conclusion, I have many friends outside of work who are consistent and involved with me, so it is easy to see the difference. Any suggestions — I would love to hear. Kathy

  • #7415 Reply


    I read this and it so resonates with my situation, that I actually winced as I was reading it. I have a toxic friend who only calls when she needs something or wants something. So, not really a friend — except that we are part of a larger group of friends. And every time she senses that I am pulling away from her and that larger group, she renews her efforts to reel me back in. I am rather perplexed as to what to do….I think most of her efforts are to ensure that she looks good to the larger group…not because of any actual concern about me or our friendship. Love to hear if others have had similar experiences. In this case, I can’t ever seem to successfully maneuver past the roller coaster.

  • #7450 Reply


    I’m a little late on posting to this comment but I’m going through a similar situation at work, yet with two female work friends. #1 runs very hot and cold while #2 generally doesn’t. #1 has completely cut me off while the other is distancing. They were good friends outside of work before either of them knew me. They got into a dispute that lasted many months and during the same time period I moved to another office but only 5 minutes away. They both initiated contact with me for several months following my transfer. I did get the feeling #1 started contacting me only when she needed something. It seems once they resolved their dispute they had no use for me any longer. It sucks and I wish it didn’t bother me. I am grateful I no longer work in the same office.

  • #7501 Reply


    I would be very careful of a friend that is hot and cold like this. I have experienced this a couple of times and it never turns out.

  • #7689 Reply


    Hi..I like your post…I too had a falling out with my best friend…I have experienced the roller coaster effect as well….not knowing whether she is coming or going in our friendship..the mixed signals etc….My question is how to you handle the “busy bodies” in town that somewhat interject themselves into the fallout of your friendship??? My friend grew up in this town, I did not. She knows everyone and seems to be well liked. I feel like the “outcast” if you know what I mean…Im sure others sense that my friend and I are not as close anymore and have maybe “picked sides” in a very subtle way…I sense a few women have stepped back abit and are wary of me…without even knowing what happened nor care to know the facts…I remain cordial, polite and friendly..but think I should just keep my distance at this point…advice needed!!

  • #7693 Reply


    I would say be nice to these women and just act as if nothing is wrong. But be careful who you trust and don’t say anything negative about your former friend to anyone who can’t be absolutely trusted- in fact it is probably better to talk about it to friends or family who don’t even live in your town. Hold your head high, even if you think they are talking about you behind your back. And do your best just to stay out of any drama. I know it is a weird situation to be in. My ex-BFF and I travel in a lot of the same social circles in our small town, and I get a lot of strange vibes from some of her closer friends which makes me think she has told them things about me. Now my teenage daughter is dating the son of her new BFF, so that makes for some really strange and awkward encounters for me. Believe me, I have days that I would love nothing more than to move away from this place. But I am stuck here for the time being, so I’m trying to do my best to deal with the situation.

  • #7694 Reply


    I just wanted to add that on the flip-side, I’ve also come to realize that my former BFF also has a few “frenemies” around who have started becoming friendlier towards me since they’ve noticed I’ve stopped hanging around with her. They like to tell me about their troubles with her, and one even told me that she thinks I am happier and nicer now that I’ve stopped hanging around with her. It is nice to know others have had similar trouble with my former friend, but it just adds to the whole high school drama weirdness of the situation.

  • #7695 Reply


    Thanks…that is exactly what I have been doing and glad to hear you agree…I have remained cordial, polite and friendly…even if I feel these once “warmer” friends seem to be shying away abit…I dont think my ex bff has said anything, isnt really her style, but in a small town as you know, things dont remain a secret for very long. I hold my head high and carry on as normal….I will go to my grave knowing I tried my hardest with this friendship…how are you holding up seeing your once former bff attached to another?? At this point, that would still turn my stomach…;)

  • #7696 Reply


    I always tell people..I already graduated HS and have no intentions of going back!! I have a son in HS!! …I have not encountered what you have experienced…everyone in this town knows my ex bff and that makes it hard…I think they have loyalties to her just because she has been here forever, where I moved here about 10 years ago..know what I mean…but I will move forward and try my best…like the prior poster said, I have to stay here…3 kids rooted in this town..I have to make the best of it…thanks for your insight…

  • #7697 Reply


    I’m handing it OK… at least better than I was. It was tough at first because her new BFF was someone I also knew who had never acted very warmly towards me, but showed all kinds of love to my now-ex-BFF. I guess you could say I saw this coming and felt like I was being pushed aside. Honestly, the whole situation has made me feel like I am back in high school. I didn’t like high school that much the first time I did it, and I definitely don’t like it now. The weird thing now is that with our kids dating I run into the new BFF more, but I just smile and play nice because I love my child and I don’t want my issues interfering in her relationship.

  • #7698 Reply


    Thats hard…sounds like your handling things for the best…also, probably best she doesnt know the true effect it all had on you as well…I think if nothing else, I wouldnt want my ex bff to even know that this whole situation has upset me the way it has…I havent cried about it since we had our falling out…sadly, Im more relieved. Relieved that I no longer have to walk on eggshells or worry about things that she used to say or do that she knew would upset me…suble things, but she knew what buttons to push..I hung in there alot longer then I should have…do you have any other close friendships now?…I dont, I miss that too. I miss the friendship I had, but I dont miss her. I thought she would be my bff forever…yes, Im in my 40’s and thought I had found this lifetime friend….sounds silly, but I did….tell me about your friendships now…

  • #7712 Reply


    Any advice about a friend who downgraded me a few years back and now only extends invitations to me through other friends? “Tell Tina I’d love to see her tomorrow night.” or “Tell her I have an extra ticket to such and such if she wants it”?

    Is it me, or is this worse than the original downgrade?

  • #7713 Reply


    Any advice about a friend who downgraded me a few years back and now only extends invitations to me through other friends? “Tell Tina I’d love to see her tomorrow night.” or “Tell her I have an extra ticket to such and such if she wants it”?

    Is it me, or is this worse than the original downgrade?

  • #7714 Reply


    Hi…if you were in fact downgraded a few years back, then I would question her intent now. Why does she want to see you or spend time with you if if she stepped back from the friendship years ago? Does she want to rekindle the friendship? is she just saving face in front of these mutal friends so she doesnt appear to be the mean friend. If it ment that much to have you participate in whatever she was planning, then she would call you and extend an invitation herself. I am so done with the games, mixed messages and signals…too old and busy for all that now. Unless you are so missing this friend and have wanted her and the friendship back during these past few years..I would be skeptable…doesnt sound genuine to me…

  • #7716 Reply


    Thanks for your advice. I am so sick of all these games! i think she is trying to save face in front of these mutual friends…maybe even look like the victim when i keep saying no to her invitations.

  • #7718 Reply


    I would agree…she doesnt want to look like the one who ditched the friendship…she wants to be the victim…yes, everyone knows she has been extending invites to you, yet, you keep declining them…how awful you are..;)….just go with your gut, dont do what others would expect to do or what you feel just isnt right. Bottom line again…if she REALLY wanted you around then she would make the effort to call herself….

  • #7719 Reply


    If your absent friend is extending invitations through others, just ask the go-between, “Why is Tina asking you to ask me? Why isn’t *she* asking me herself? It would bother me if I were made a go-between or messenger.” That puts it squarely back in her court, and it starts making people who were tasked with asking you, why Tina isn’t asking herself. I’d be surprised if they weren’t noticing her method of asking you by proxy anyway.

  • #7725 Reply


    Your post was very reassuring to me. Oh, yes what a meanie I am! :-) Daring to say no thanks to the Queen Bee, even tho she downgraded me quite clearly several years back. I have learned more and more as I go through this to trust my own instincts. SInce I have drawn some boundaries and stuck to them (ie., if you want me to do something, you need to use your words and ask me directly), I have been feeling much better. And I am going to keep doing that, just as you suggest. Best part is I have been making new friends and doing new things. So the other drama just seems odd now, not as upsetting.

    To fewer mind games in the future!

  • #7733 Reply


    I’ve known people to do the same sort of thing and to me it’s laziness plus fear plus putting on a show/saving face. People who do this are incredibly immature whatever age they happen to be. They’re trying to avoid the responsibility of putting themselves out there to be accepted or rejected – while also making themselves look really “nice” to other people.

  • #12273 Reply


    Sadly, you may be more authentic and sincere than the other person: she may have a fragile sense of identity even though she may put on an air of bravado.

    Some people are so shallow and so enslaved to being “liked” that they get kooky notions of who is “cool” and who is not. If a friend is acting odd (as described on this page) it could be she made a new friend (who she thinks, mistakenly, is “cool”), and that new friend doesn’t like you. So your friend backs away.

    It’s hurtful and foolish in the extreme…but as hurtful as it may be to you, it will likely be more hurtful to her in the long term, as she surrounds herself with phony friends and makes extremely poor judgments in friendships.

    Also, if your friend is prone to jealousy or envy (you have a salary she thinks she should have, you get praise she thinks she should have, you are allowed to work from home and she isn’t, etc), she may turn on you simply to cause pain to you through hurtful and bewildering actions. It gives her a childish sense of power over you.

    I know someone like this: and another good friend pointed out that this person likely had a caregiver as a child who treated her this way: pushed people away, drew them closer, etc. And that this may be a subconscious survival mechanism that she is acting out.

    I’m dealing with a situation like this. It’s been really painful to me, and I guess I seem like a fool b/c I’ve found it very hard to get over. And I still genuinely and deeply care about this person. Sadly, this person recently was fired due to poor performance and fraud. She seems to be sort of self-destructing…treating very poorly (horribly in some cases) those individuals in her life who give her opportunities and who have the most to offer her. She clings to people who are users, and manipulators and fakes (as she is, sadly, learning to be).

  • #12308 Reply


    Hi, everyone.

    I have posted here several times about my former close friend who downgraded me – suddenly, and with no explanation – several years ago. And her erratic hot and cold behavior since then. We are part of a larger group of friends, so we have had to find a way to socialize in the group, etc. Last night (I think she had been drinking) she called me out of the blue and demanded to know “when we were going to move past this weirdness between us.” I was speechless. I told her that if she wanted to meet and talk, I would be open to that. She then says that she only wants to talk if she knows I am interested in being a close friend again, if I think our friendship can return to where it was years ago. I told her I could not promise that., but she seems willing to meet anyway. We are supposed to meet to talk tomorrow. I don’t think I want to renew this friendship – how do you say that in a way that is not unkind and cruel? I am very nervous about meeting her tomorrow. Her behavior seems very erratic to me. Any advice? Ack!

  • #12735 Reply


    What you have described is similar to what I’ve been dealing with off/on for about 6 months now with a “once” very close friend. What has caused this issue? I 100% believe it’s a manipulative & controlling boyfriend who has made sure to isolate her from her friends as much as possible. He can’t keep her from seeing her kids, but “friends” can be pruned very easily & she is so desperate to keep this jerk in her life that she has let our friendship dwindle down to mostly a co-worker relationship. I have to see her at least one night a week at our part-time retail job, but other than that, I have curtailed my interactions w/her.

    She has called me a few times in recent weeks, but I’ve totally quit calling her as I never knew what kind of mood she’d be in or how she’d act. In recent months, I’ve seen her bad moods & venom spewed out to other co-workers & people not nearly as close to her as I have been. She’s toxic to many people now but is unwilling to see the very co-dependent relationship she has with her guy who is ruining her life. Sadly, while I want to get along w/her at work, I no longer care about her the same way & it’s gone way beyond forgiveness for how she’s treated me.

    She blew off my birthday in the fall only to take me out to lunch a MONTH later with a whole group of co-workers from her day job that I didn’t know that well. My b-day celebration was lumped in with other people’s b-day celebrations & I was treated as a co-worker instead of a close friend. Now, I’m debating about her birthday coming up. Do I do something? Offer to take her to lunch? We had always gone to dinner just the 2 of us for our birthdays until the boyfriend seemed to be dictating her evening plans to her a lot. She has buckled under his control. It’s a sad situation but only until she gets sick of his abuse will she change and I’m not holding my breath.

  • #12736 Reply


    So many comments on this page have similar elements to my now “toxic” friend. I’m careful about what I say to others, but most everyone has seen how this person has been acting. They notice more how she treats them than how she’s treating me anyway. I think in the end, this will all come to bite her in the butt because the majority of us know the reason for her behavior is an abusive & controlling boyfriend. She’s dated him for about 5 yrs. now but her bad behavior has really only happened towards me within the last 6 months & slowly she has acted badly towards others in the later months. The words I’m hearing from other co-workers & people who know her are “hateful” and “selfish” which seem to fit her characteristics now.

    I have to keep in mind that KARMA doesn’t forget things though. Maybe when she figures out the boyfriend has a woman in another city, she will get some humility & realize that she’s pushed away all her friends. I’d give her a copy of “CoDependent No More” but I know she would not read it. She’s a mess and I just have to keep my distance from her.

  • #13069 Reply


    Congratulations on moving past this toxic friendship. I’d be interested in knowing how your talk went.

    For me, that “talk” has been what I’ve been waiting for for a long time as my former friend doesn’t yet realize that her manipulative guy has isolated her from friends (or won’t admit it). I believe he is at the root of her bad behavior towards others. However, after so long (been about 7 months since I realized she’d changed), I cannot totally blame a guy for someone else’s behavior. It’s her decision to behave the way she has. At this point, even if my friend sincerely apologized (again), I would never trust her again. My assumption that the many years we had been good friends was the cement that would take us through anything was totally off.

    People change and sometimes not for the better. However, I’m making efforts to connect & reach out to other people I don’t know as well but who might be better people to socialize with. I don’t need the negativity in my life as it’s affected my emotional as well as physical health to deal with this person. I can’t avoid her at work but I don’t have to be around her at any other time.

    As long as she’s with her toxic guy, she will remain toxic to others & few people will want to be around her. In other words, karma will work its magic once again–waiting for that to happen is what is hard for the rest of us.

  • #16455 Reply


    I am looking for some advice. I have a friend who is hot and cold. I try really hard to understand her circumstances: she is a perfectionist, a busy teacher, mother of two, with a crazy schedule. I am also a busy teacher. I, however, don’t have kids nor a family. I have a mom and dad, nieces and sisters, but I don’t have a family at home. I have a boyfriend who lives 20 minutes away. Anyway, I understand that she has more demands than I do. But, sometimes I won’t hear from her for months. She never calls me to see how I am. The ONLY times she calls me is when she has a problem and needs someone to cry to. I helped her out a lot last year with her job and with her family. I am always there for her. I guess I always just took the fact that she has a busy family, and I have more free time. But now I am beginning to resent it. Last month, I had pneumonia – and was almost in the hospital. I have never in my 44 years been that sick. I never heard from her. And, I work with her – she is the next door from me!!! The only times she texts me or calls are when she wants a shoulder to cry on, or when she is bothered by something at work. I really like her, and I am loyal to a fault, so I am very lost in all of this. Please help…

  • #16483 Reply


    Hmmm. Sounds like she’s made your friendship an option – not a priority if she only contacts you when she needs your shoulder to cry on. I think it’s rude that she didn’t even acknowledge your bout with pneumonia, esp. since she teaches next door to you at your school. If she’s using her motherhood as an excuse with you, that’s because she’s downgraded you. Motherhood has nothing to do with whether or not she can devote time to your friendship. As you pointed out you have people in your life who you commit time to spend with, so if she’s using the ol busy-mother routine that’s just an excuse. Sure mothers are busy but who isn’t these days? Single people are just as busy as mothers are with equal amount of commitments. I’d say you need to detach yourself from this woman as her actions show that your friendship is just one of convenience to her, not actually a priority.

  • #16565 Reply


    I agree with this post – there is a saying “Never make someone a priority who treats you like an option.”

  • #16566 Reply


    You really like her? What’s to like about this woman? She is using and abusing your kindness/big heart. She does nothing for you, yet you do everything for her. The balance in this “relationship” is you do all the giving, and she does all the taking. She brings you down – only contacts you when she has a problem. She does not deserve a loyal friend like you. Bring your loyalty to someone who does.

  • #74587 Reply


    Thought-provoking comments. I made a major move in 7th grade too and had “someone” tell me I sholud just change from being an introvert to an extrovert, be a whole new me. It didn’t work, but I made good friends that I still have to this day. Ironically I married an extrovert and have extroverted kids. Guess God knew I needed a whole family to keep me from living among my books and scrapbooks. As much as I love alone time and quiet time, I need the excitement of the extroverts in my life!

  • #152040 Reply


    My “best friend ” is doing this to me. Every time she calls me she wants something. Money, favours, an ear to listen to her woes over her failed relationships etc etc. she goes for weeks without calling and suddenly she’ll call out of the blue wanting something. Time & time again I’ve helped her out especially with money which I don’t get back. At all.

    A few days ago she called wanting me to take her somewhere. I said I’d think about it, I’m a busy mum & wife as well & work p/t., she said she’d call next day. Nothing. No call & no text. I texted her asking her to call. Nothing. I called her & I got her voicemail. I’m very upset yet again. Seems shes angry b/c I told her maybe instead of yes. She’s forty eight years of age as well and 18 yrs older than me. I love helping when I can but she’s draining me like mad. It’s time to end this friendship but I’m unsure how. :((

  • #152093 Reply


    Perhaps stop thinking of her as your *best friend*. She borrows money from you, and doesn’t pay you back, she often asks favors of you, she only seems to call when she wants something from you.

    It’s time to rethink her status as a best friend. It’s also time to put up strong boundaries. Don;t say “maybe” to her, but instead just say No. If she persists, then just say you can’t do it and you have to go now. That’s it.

    You say you *love* helping her, but it’s draining you. So take some time to really think about it…do you really love helping her? Or maybe you just need to say NO more often and be firm about it. Sounds like she is using you, and it sounds like it is upsetting you. Practice just saying NO to her.

    She may have some good qualities, but from what you say, it seems like the friendship is one sided with you giving and her taking.

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