A woman is upset when her friend of 35 years won’t talk to her.
Dear Friendship Doctor,
My friend for over 35 years won’t talk to me. She said she hates me and doesn’t want to see me anymore and won’t tell me what’s wrong. What can I do?
It’s always upsetting when someone shuts you out without explanation, especially when that person has been a close friend.
First, give your friend and yourself a chance to recover by stepping back and letting some time elapse. Your friend is probably as upset as you are. If you approach her now before she is ready, she may respond out of anger. Also, you probably are reeling, and have to feel hurt and disappointed. You don’t want to make things worse by inadvertently lashing out at your friend.
Second, take some time to try to analyze what happened—if that’s possible. Your note is quite short and devoid of details. Are you aware of anything that might have precipitated this problem? Did you do or say something wrong? Did you have a misunderstanding? Did you disappoint or undermine your friend in some way? Was the friendship slowly eroding before this? Were you having frequent arguments?
Is there someone you can talk to in confidence (perhaps a family member or someone who doesn’t know your friend) who can help you talk it through and figure out what happened?
After you’ve allowed some time for your friend’s anger and upset to diffuse (at least a week), write your friend an email and say something like this:
“I’m so sorry that there is some misunderstanding between us. Your friendship is so important to me and I want to do anything we can to repair it. I hope you’ll give me that opportunity.”
Of course, it you are aware that you said or did something wrong, offer your friend a sincere apology in that note.
Then, give your friend some time to respond–at least a week. If she doesn’t respond, you can try reaching out again by phone or email a second time several days later.
If she still doesn’t respond, you really have no choice but to leave the ball in her court. Friendships are voluntary relationships that take two people to make it work.
I hope this helps.
Category: RESOLVING PROBLEMS