• Handling Breakups

It feels like my friend is downgrading our relationship

Published: January 16, 2015 | Last Updated: May 17, 2020 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
An ex-pat feels like her friend is downgrading her status as a BFF.


Dear Irene,

I am living abroad away from my family and I don’t have a boyfriend which makes it much more important to have friends on my life. I had this best friend and I truly love her as I felt we connected and had similar views about things we always had a great time together! We used to be roommates for two years and got along great, but since we moved away from each other, we haven’t been so close anymore!

She makes friend easily and now she has a boyfriend. She hardly ever texts and almost never calls me. She says here and then we should meet up and she used to say I was her best friend but I feel like is something she says for the sake of it.

I feel upset and haven’t talked to her about it. I feel if I do and she wants to meet up because of that, it is not going to be genuine. After all, if she doesn’t care about our friendship why should I?

I feel like If I tell how I feel she is going to tell other people and they will think I am dependent and lonely and, in fact, I am feeling very lonely but I don’t want other people to know and feel sorry for me.

I have some other friends but it is not the same as I don’t get along with them as well. I am considering talking to my friend about it but to be honest I am not sure it’s worth because she doesn’t seem to care and has plenty of other friends.

I am deeply hurt and angry her but think I should just let her go without humiliating myself. What do you think? Please help me!

My best, Connie


Hi Connie,

Although this friendship was one you cherished, it’s not uncommon for friendships, even very good ones, to change as people graduate or become involved in romantic relationships.

Your friend has the social advantages of being outgoing, having many other friends, and being involved with a boyfriend. On the other hand, friendships don’t come as easily to you and as an ex-pat, you’re living far away from your family. Put another way, your former roommate seems to have more social connections than you and, as a consequence, has less time and motivation to maintain the same relationship you once had.

You have no choice but to accept that this relationship has changed. It doesn’t negate the close friendship you had in the past or mean that your friend doesn’t like you. If you want to see her, take the initiative to call and tell her you miss her. If you ask her to get together and she says yes, it’s safe to assume she will do it because she wants to get together with you. If she can’t get together, don’t assume it’s because she doesn’t value your friendship.

In the meantime, reach out and find other people to fill the space that has been left by this changed friendship. You can’t make a close friend overnight but if you work at it, some of your acquaintances may turn into more meaningful friendships over time.

Best, Irene

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Comments (9)

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  1. LaTrice says:

    I’ve met my best friend in Women’s Study class ten years ago, and honestly, time goes by so quickly! Not only did we share the same class, but we were working together!! She told me that she was transferring to another university in a different state, to study medicine. Honestly, I hated to see her leave, but she was going after her dreams, and I was happy for her. Not only did we keep in touch with each other, we would visit each other whenever we could (especially when my best friend needed “girl” time).

    I feel that you should talk to your best friend about communication, Connie. If your best friend really loves and cares about you, she would have taken the time to contact you. Also, her actions should give you the motivation to focus on your peoples skills. I know that it’s NOT going to happen overnight, but you should give yourself a chance to make new friends.

  2. ssc says:

    hey nice suggestion . helpful

  3. GraceW says:

    I’ve had the experience of being both the expat and the friend left behind at one time or another. No matter which side you’re on, the nature of the friendship is going to change.

    Depending on the friendship, having a friend move away can feel a bit like abandonment to the person left behind. You see your friend getting on with her life with her move, so you have to figure out a way to get on with yours. If all my friends who moved away had expected me to try to maintain exactly the same friendship with them after their departure as before, I would have resented it. After all, the person who moved away made the first change, so how can she expect things to stay the same?

    On the flipside, I remember moving abroad myself to be an ESL teacher for a while. My friends from “back home” could not offer much support, especially considering that my best friend’s brother died in an accident less than a month after I’d relocated. She suddenly had many things to take care of at home, and I had to figure out how to navigate my new home alone. I was alone in a country where I barely spoke the language, but I’d made a choice to pick up and relocate. I got myself into it and had to figure out a way to make it work.

  4. Maddie says:

    Moving away does indeed change the dynamics of friendship. I hope she connects with some new, local friends.

  5. Pat says:

    You’re sure in a tough spot; it’s hard to pick up and move abroad, leaving your friends behind and having to start from scratch. It’s too bad your friend, or even your family, don’t realize how tough this is, how tough it would be for anyone, and to step up and be extra supportive of you right now. But people don’t think, especially if they are wrapped up with their new boyfriend or new friends. I’ve been where you are, living abroad and moving across the country, so I feel your pain. I hope that you’re finding new friends and enjoying your time abroad.


  6. Maddie says:

    Does she say in her letter she is an ex-pat? I missed it.

  7. Amy F says:

    Moving away from friends changes the dynamics nearly every relationship, if due to nothing but the frequency and type of interactions and communitcation. Your friend sounds like she’s spreading her wings and, which is healthy, but feels hurtful to you. Like Irene said, your roommate probably filled different roles for you roomie, friend, sister, etc. You may have filled fewer to her, so you’re feeling a greater loss and this is also triggering some homesickness. None of these things mean you are less valued or loved as a friend. Every friend is unique and special in her own way. Each friend has a different, specialness, no one else fills the role of you.
    If you hold on too tightly, you’ll probably push her away. You can tell her how you feel in a way that doesn’t sound needy and demanding by keeping the conversation light. Try not to sound like you blame her or expect her to solve your feelings loneliness. If she sees that you’re proactive in seeking new alliances and not just relying on you, she will feel less pressure coming from you. I’m not suggesting you feel any of those ways, just that sometimes when we’ve bottled up feelings and they can come out more intensely than we intend.
    Meanwhile, if you make yourself small goals like inviting one friend for coffee or lunch next week, you can work on widening your social circle. When socialization needs are met by a several friends, you won’t be at the mercy of one person pulling away upsetting everything.
    Good luck. I hope things work out if it you.

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