• Handling Breakups

Friend crush: Dropped and depressed

Published: March 26, 2014 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
An unrequited friend crush at work with an unhappy ending.



I have been close friends with a woman older than me at work. We used to get along so well. We’d make each other laugh, be able to share personal stuff with each other, both knowing that it would stay between us.

Also during our friendship, I developed a deep crush on her but made sure I never told her. There was one time where she was standing right behind me, and I could feel her breath on the back of my neck. I nearly fainted it had such a strong effect on me. Then another time, I she was standing right behind me, and she hooked her thumbs into my belt I was wearing, as if hinting something to me, I don’t know what.

A few months later, I confessed to her that I am gay but didn’t let on that I liked her a lot. She doesn’t appear to have a problem with my being gay but hasn’t made any more touchy moves towards me. We are friends on Facebook, and used to comment or like each other’s things we each posted, and used to chat or message each other.

A few months ago I was diagnosed with depression by my doctor, and had told my friend about my problems, and she has cut herself off from me saying she can’t deal with my problems. She has blocked my messages on Facebook, won’t reply to any of my messages, and goes off in the opposite direction when I visit her in the workplace.

What do I do, I want so much for our friendship to resume, not for me to tell her all my problems, but so that we can make each other laugh, hang out together, tell each other what we’ve been up to in our spare time. But I can’t get through to her. Other people who I’ve spoken to about this say that maybe this friend came into my life, only for a short time, and now she’s moved on. I thought this friendship could last a few more years, friendship means a lot to me. Plus, it’s so much harder for me to unfriend her on Facebook because I don’t want to and because I still care about her so much, even though she’s hurting me by avoiding me.

What advice can you give me?

Signed Cheri


Dear Cheri,

I’m sorry you’re feeling hurt and depressed. I see two issues here—your crush and the end of your friendship. Some people are more touchy-feely than others without any sexual innuendo. Once your friend found out you’re gay, she may have pulled back so as not to confuse you. Sometimes secret crushes aren’t as secret as we think they are.

When you told her about your depression, she reacted by pulling away, which suggests that perhaps you saw her as a closer friend than she did you. On social media, it’s easy to mistake having similar interests and values (liking posts) with a deeper level of intimacy and understanding—and thus, to feel closer to someone than we actually are.

Friendships fulfill different roles for us. The concept of a best friend forever (BFF)—a friend who is everything at all times forever is less realistic (or common) than having an eclectic group of friends who meet different needs. There are friends who meet out social needs, emotional needs, need for intellectual companionship, fun friends, and friends of convenience (like neighbors or work companions) who we wouldn’t have if not for that convenient proximity.

The intensity of friendships can wax and wane but friendship is always voluntary. Not every friendship lasts through illness or tough times, which often means the foundation probably wasn’t as strong as we might have thought it to be.

It sounds like your friend crush is telling you, through her actions, that she no longer wants to be in the relationship. I know how that’s frustrating and how much it can hurt. Unfortunately, you have no choice but to respect her boundaries. Continuing to message her will drive her further away. She hasn’t defriended or blocked you from Facebook since you can still see her posts, but you have that option if seeing her posts is more painful than not having her on your friend list. You can also hide her posts.

You haven’t said how long the issue with your former friend has been going on. If it’s a matter of a few weeks, she might just need space and when she sees you’re respecting her boundaries, she might ease up. But, you also have the right to set standards for what you will and will not accept from a friend: Do you want a friend who isn’t open to accepting that you have depression, a medical illness? You have every right to expect more from the people you have in a your circle, and to mourn the loss of someone who you thought would be part of that inner circle.

I hope you’re seeing a mental health professional to help with your depression and that she can help you learn from, and move on from the loss of this friendship.

Good luck.

Amy Feld*

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

**No information provided here or elsewhere on this blog is intended as medical advice. The blog focuses on everyday friendship problems.

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Category: Relationships with ex-friends

Comments (5)

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  1. Trinity says:

    It is hard, but you have to let this go. Start focusing on other things,

  2. Meg says:

    Thank you for responding to my question. I haven’t been able to talk about this with anyone, fear of being judged, and other people thinking this is just some silly phase I’m going through.

    I had told my friend about me being gay a couple of months before she got touchy-feely with me, and at the time I told her, she said she didn’t have a problem with me being gay. She didn’t try to avoid me at work or appear uncomfortable around me. I have no issues with being gay, I have known I feel very strongly attracted to other women since I was 15. At times I thought, “Am I straight, just because I had boyfriends in college, and because I have been with a man?” I might have been, – then. “If I was bisexual, that would mean I am attracted to men and women. Wrong. I am only attracted to women. Therefore I believe and am comfortable with being gay”. Since I am proud and comfortable with being gay, I wear a waist belt that is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. For me this represents gay pride. I often wear this belt with my work pants or when I go out, and sometimes it is noticeable depending on what top I’m wearing. When my friend hooked her thumbs into my belt when she stood right behind me, I felt as though she was hinting something to me, like she liked my belt, or really liked me. I’m certain she knew the meaning behind it. I don’t know for sure.

    In July/August of 2013, my life just felt like one big pile of crap. My work hours had decreased at that time of year, I was constantly thinking about the past, thinking that if I had done things differently when I left school at the age of 18, that things would be so much better now. I am/was also constantly thinking about how I want so much to travel, but at the same time, how to get through to my mother who thinks the world is a dangerous place, and is very needy of me. Eventually I was persuaded by close acquaintences to seek help, speak to my doctor. My doctor diagnosed me as suffering from depression. I refused to go on antidepressants, worrying that something might trigger me to overdose on them as a way out. I have tried contacting a few psychologists in the phone book for my state, but am on a long waiting list to be able to see someone. I then began obtaining quite a few self-help books from various libraries, which are helping a great deal. I also got to housesit for an elderly lady, a close friend of my mum’s who lives in the city. This gave me time away from my mum for a while and gave me the opportunity to make my own meals and look after a house on my own.

    I thought that my touchy-feely friend would be so proud of me because things seemed to be looking up for me at last. I told my friend that I stiill had a lot of negative stuff going on. I asked her if she had ever suffered from depression. In my opinion while working with her, her moods can alter very quickly. One half of the day she would be fine, happy-go-lucky, and humourous, the other half of the day, distant, serious, not talkative and snappy. She told me that at one time she didn’t say exactly when, her husband had been rather down, crying a lot and talking about suicide. She said that it got to the point where she was scared that she’d come home from work one day and find that he’d taken his own life. She took him to his doctors where he was diagnosed with depression and was put onto antidepressants and given councelling sessions. My friend said after a while her husband made a complete recovery but she feels the need to “keep an eye on him” in case it happens again to him.

    My friend said that she couldn’t handle all my negativity, that she needed time-out from me. Every now and then I sent her a plain “hi, how are you?” msg to her on Facebook but in the end she un-friended me without letting me know beforehand. I was so crushed, I just sat and stared at the blank wall and just cried uncontrollably, wondering if depression would come back to get me all over again. It was there, but didn’t seem as severe as it had been earlier in July/ August that same year.

    Did my friend resort to un-friending me because of my depression, because it brought back bad memories for her of when her husband went through depression? And why much earlier on did she get touchy-feely with me, knowing I am gay? I feel as though she was flirting with me, toying with me. Whenever I was around her I felt like my heart was pounding in my chest, my pulse would be racing, butterflies in my belly, legs feeling like jelly, worrying something embarrassing is going to happen to me in front of her. Would you class these feelings of me as having fallen in love with this friend, or just me feeling nervous around her because of her moods?

  3. Jarod says:

    In my experience, when someone pulls away, that’s pretty much a red flag that it’s over.

    I completely agree with what Amy says about how people see the same friendship differently. Very often, I feel more loyalty toward the other person and then I’m hurt when it’s not reciprocated.

    I think it’s time to leave this person alone and realize that she can’t fulfill the needs of the person writing the letter. It’s best to move on.

  4. Amy F says:

    Thank you, Sandra.

  5. Sandra says:

    What a tender and kind response from Amy! This is a very tough and complex question. Cheri, in particular, I appreciate how Amy points out that many friendships wax and wane, and different friends serve different needs in our lives. As we age, this becomes easier to understand and accept.

    And here’s another wonderful point from Amy that I wish everyone would keep in mind: “On social media, it’s easy to mistake having similar interests and values (liking posts) with a deeper level of intimacy and understanding—and thus, to feel closer to someone than we actually are.”

    I’ve actually experienced problems with that very issue, meaning that a few of my social media friends wanted to believe we were closer “friends” than we really were. It got to the point where I felt healthier when I spent less time using social media and made a point of getting out with my longtime, real-life friends.

    Cheri, I’m wishing you peace and comfort as you come to terms with this loss.

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