• Handling Breakups

What can you do when a friendship abruptly ends?

Published: November 16, 2014 | By | 10 Replies Continue Reading

There are no easy answers for dealing with the abrupt end to a friendship.



My best friend abruptly stopped responding to my messages one day even though when we had hung out the night before and had made plans for the next day.

She has mental issues and has phoned me when she was suicidal on an occasion; she has had a rough past. We connected on a lot of things and I had come to rely upon her. I never thought she’d leave.

After messaging her all day she finally replied and we ended up on the phone. She says it’s just what she does; she has a friend for a while and then cuts them off before they can do it to her, and that things go best when she is on her own.

We’ve been best friends for over a year and shared so much. I care about her but she said she would never contact me again—that she needed a fresh start.

Signed, Carla


Hi Carla,

When a friendship abruptly ends, it can leave you reeling—wondering what happened, what you might have done to to precipitate the cut-off. You also feel a big void because you presumably spent a great deal of your spare time together.

In your case, you are lucky that your friend explained that her decision had more to do with her than it does with you. (By the way, it may or may not have anything to do with her mental illness.) You might think about whether there were any signs that you missed suggesting that your friend was pulling back. Perhaps, it wasn’t as abrupt as it seems.

Friendship has to involve two people so if your friend is adamant about ending this relationship, there is little you can do to salvage it. The only suggestion I can make is that you might want to give her some time and space apart, and contact her again in several weeks to see if she has changed her mind. In the meantime, try to keep busy doing things you like to do.

My heart goes out to you.

Best, Irene

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Comments (10)

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  1. Kris says:

    A week ago my best friend and I had some friction over a comment that I made and she misinterpreted. I let 4 days passed and when I contacted her again she unfriend me from facebook whithout knowing what was going on I send her a message. She told me that I lied and that I was not real and that she was done. I was devastated because I didn’t know and I’m still don’t know why she is like that. All she told me was that she’s very hurt for something that I said and did. We used to work together until 4 weeks ago in a gossiping ambiance. I have texted here and there but she doesn’t want me to tell me what the comment was and only says that’s very hurt and done. I gave her space and told her when she’s ready to contact me because we need to talk. I don’t want to loose her friendship. I don’t know what else to do. I apologized for if I hurt her unintentionally and to remind her that she’s my best friend but I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have been without talking for 2 weeks now and I miss her so much. We used to play dominos and have drinks at her house on Saturdays night for over 2 years.
    I just hoping for her to cool off and get together so we can talk but the wait is not easy.

  2. Allison says:

    I had a similar story… My best friend and I were so close.. we were inseperable. We were those friends everyone wanted to be.. and I spent the night with her one weekend, just like normal… and then the next week, during school, we had an argument. I thought it was a silly argument, but it ended up costing our friendship.. she told me we weren’t friends anymore. I was absolutely crushed.. I asked what I did wrong and what I could do to fix of but she wouldn’t talk to me… I apologized so many times and did everything I could. I even got her a birthday present… she took it but didn’t say anything to me.. then she so easily and so quickly got a new best friend.. it crushed me. She told me ever since we stopped being friends she was much happier and a weight was lifted off her shoulders.. as her life got better mine just got worse and worse I was/am very depressed.. I miss her so much.. seeing her in the halls during passing period and seeing all her posts with her new best friend.. it just crushes me.. we haven’t talked in 8 months and I still cry.. I so badly want my best friemd back but she’s happier without me. 🙁

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Allison,
      Sorry to hear about your pain. Try to keep in mind that time will heal the sadness and pain, but I know that it’s tough.

      Really, all you can do now is to move on, and form new friendships and find new acquaintances.

      The other thing, which is equally important is to learn a lesson from all of this confusion and pain. Friendships don’t all last forever. Try to avoid arguments in which things are said which cannot be taken back, ever. Also, remember that on-one is perfect, and sometimes we have to accept our friend’s imperfections (and hope they will accept our imperfections). Remember the old saying, If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

      It is hard for you now, but be strong, and learn from what happened, and try to move on without bitterness or bad feelings. Forgive your friend in your heart quietly, and equally important , forgive yourself.

      Now make an effort to move on by, for example, taking tennis lessons, softball, volleyball, language conversational classes after school. This will fill your thoughts, give you more confidence, and you will probably meet new friends and acquaintances there.

      Best to you,

  3. Carol says:

    It has been very very tough getting through the holidays for me this year. There is a deep void inside of me that i can’t get past. This time last year, I was so happy and looking forward to more wonderful holidays with the person I loved. He had asked me to marry him the day after his open heart surgery and I said YES with tears of joy streaming down my face. But, I am sure it was the morphine talking. He never mentioned it again after that. Then he started having other health issues according to him. Then he told me he knew what the inevidible was going to be. I thought he meant he knew he was dying since he was told he had clogged arteries in his legs and was a high risk for a stroke. I grieved over this only to learn he was on a dating site trying to meet other women. Then before I knew it, he abruptedly ended our relationship and I have not heard from him since and that was a few months ago. I just want this month to be over with and forget. All my friends are paired up and have things to do with their partners or spouses. My children have their partners ands spouses too. I will find myself spending Christmas this year alone. My son and his family will be with me for a short time and then will spend with his wife’s parents and family. I have none left. I have tried meeting other people but I’m still not over this person. Believe me I’ve tried everything and it may take years for me to get past this heartache as it did other relationships and my last marriage. I am not a loner and stopped dating for three and a half years before giving it another try and I was so miserable and lonely. I tried joining groups to get my mind of of things. But I lost interest and stopped. I am about retire next year and I WAS looking forward to it. But now I’m not.

    • Amy F says:

      I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had so many disappointments. I’m not sure if this helps, but many heart surgeons say their patients often experience personality changes that can be long or short term. Many of those changes are biological, some resulting from slight brain damage during surgery, anesthesia and other surgery related complications. Some of those changers are emotional as well. Often partners of patients are more aware of these changes than the patients themselves. Maybe knowing even though you are justifiably hurt, forces beyond either of your controls may be at work. I hope this helps your heartbreak.

      Being alone for the holidays can be difficult. I am glad your son will stop by. Have you considered asking him if you could join him at his in-laws’? Sometimes people are so stressed and focused on what they have to do beforehand, they might not even realize you’d like an invitation. Even though an invitation without asking might feel better for your ego, you’re more likely to get what you want by asking directly. I don’t have family nearby and Ive spend a lot of holidays alone, some by choice, others not. This year I have 2 offers, but I’m choosing to stay home with my kindle, my jammies and my cats. I don’t feel like traveling an hour or more and I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied to enjoy the day. I had a friend who volunteered feeding the homeless on Xmas and that gave her great joy. She also met some great people in her same position.

      Most of the time, people make better dating decisions when they are comfortable with themselves and where they are in life, not because they want to fill a void. They also attract more emotionally healthy people. If you want to date for the sake of dating, you can try online dating. Some people meet their life partners that way, others are perpetually disappointed.

      This might be a great time to strengthen your female relationships and make new ones. Volunteering is an avenue for meeting likeminded women, joining a book club (your library probably at least one), or joining a club like the Red Hat Society. Keep your expectations realistic and in the moment. Hope to have a nice time, rather than the pressure of hoping to meet a new best friend. Most friendships start as acquaintances.

      If you find yourself constantly sad or upset, you might want to consider professional counseling to help you over this difficult time.

      I hope your holidays are better than you expect.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Carol,
      I’m sorry to hear about the end of your relation ship with him , especially when he asked you to marry him, only to have him totally forget those words and move onto dating sites.

      Yes, I like Amy’s idea of asking to join your son’s in laws next time they have a get together. You never know, you might meet a nice guy there or make a new girl friend.

      Try to forget about him, he let you down plain and simple. Don’t think of him any more in glowing terms, but instead try to think of him as an unreliable person who can’t ever be trusted. He is NOT as good as his word. Now think of him as a clod, and NOT as a god. Do this for a little while and this will help you get over the whole situation. Then your memories of him will be more neutral.

      I also like the idea of getting out and about. Join a Pilates class; this is good as it will fill your mind concentrating on the breathing and the moves and it will also be good for your emotional health and good for your appearance.

      Look in other events…join in to clubs and other things…look into MeetUps. This will help you immensely. Sign up for a photography class or an art class. This will be very creative and will surprise you and help you a lot.
      HOp some of this helps a little, Carol
      All the best to you…health, strength and good luck.

  4. Leeanne says:

    You’re fortunate that she thought enough of you to give you a reason. So many friendships end without an explanation.
    Just a guess but I bet in her romantic relationships she enjoys only the Honeymoon phase and moves on as soon as things become mundane or real.

  5. Amy F says:

    Forgot to add, if it were me, I would not contact her. First, because I’d assume she didn’t want me to, since she said she said she’d never contact me again. Second and most importantly, I don’t like roller coaster relationships filled with drama. I also would not trust that she wouldn’t pull the same thing again. My feelings and experiences matter too and she’s already said ending friendships is what she does,. Even though she has problems, I can’t fix them. She needs a therapist to figure out how and why she does this.

    But, if you want to contact her, you’ve got nothing to lose. I think a snail mail card would be the best way, in case she doesn’t want to read an email. With a card she can decide to open at a later time. With email, she doesn’t have that choice because even to put mail in trash folders, the subject line is visible.

  6. Amy F says:

    Sounds to me the friendship was doomed to be a short one from the beginning. People who have a history of short relationships, like your former friend, some have difficulty with emotional intimacy. They crave it, yet pull away from it. Sometimes they push others away or act in ways that make their friends want to pull away. If this is the case, there’s nothing you could have done to change the situation.

    If I were you, I’d autopsy the friendship to see if I missed any warning signals. Did she talk about short relationships? Did she blame other people for relationship failures? Has she disappeared and returned? What can I do to make sure I don’t fall into this type relationship again?

    If she does come back to you, you will have to decide whether you want to risk a repeat, because chances are it will happen again. Believe the actions, not the words.

    You can lean on your other friends to help ease your hurt. Time will help too. I hope you feel better soon.

  7. jacqueline says:


    The end of a friendship is always sad. However, as Irene said, at least you know why she ended it. You have closure. And, it is nothing you did or could have prevented. She does not like to be close to anyone for long. It seems she likes “beginnings” and perhaps once she has shared too much of herself, she wants to start over with someone else. You yourself stated she has mental issues and has had a rough past. This could all have something to do with her current behaviour.

    I hope she is going for professional help.

    I agree with what Irene said. Wait a few weeks and let her know that you care about her and that your feelings won’t change towards her.

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