• Handling Breakups

Hurt by a long time friend

Published: August 14, 2016 | By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
A woman is hurt when a long time friend ends their friendship.


Hi Irene:

One of my best friends for over 30 years began pulling away in the last year or so. Despite repeated requests from me to let me know what was going on, she didn’t respond.

Finally, I wrote her and said I felt hurt and disrespected by the lack of any response whatsoever. Two days ago, she responded saying the fact that I’d had a lot of health problems and financial issues over the years was too much for her. Then she wished me well.

I feel as though I was there for her during many of her challenges, so I am really hurt by her actions.

Signed, Mara


Hi Mara,

It’s hard to lose a long time friend with whom you shared so much history, especially when you essentially had little say in the matter.

Sometimes, friends—even very good ones—disappoint us. It sounds like this friend simply felt drained and had no more compassion or support to offer. It could be that your needs were overwhelming; that she was experiencing problems of her own that left no energy for supporting you; or a combination of the two.

In circumstances like this, it’s normal to feel hurt and to try to assign blame—although that response usually doesn’t turn out to be helpful. Instead try to learn from this experience and use it to guide your role in other friendships.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (10)

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  1. wc says:

    I’m shocked at how many people feel it’s okay to abandon a friend when they are having a health issue. I thought friends were supposed to be there for one another. If my friends can’t handle me at my worst then they don’t deserve me at my best.

    I’m learning as I become older, to approach friends like any serious relationship & define some boundaries from the get go. Otherwise, I would choose to not have friends because I would be so anxious that if I became sick, they would run & therefor aren’t real friends.

    I became ill last year, wow, it was enlightning. One friend answered the phone day or night. She went above & beyond to try to help me. I almost died & the doctors couldn’t find a diagnosis & it was just terrifying. Turned out to be a thyrid storm so the hormone was also making me out of my mind. Yet, my husband and this one friend held me through it.

    Another friend went MIA. She sent a text after it was resolving (she had ignored many from my hospital bed when I greatly needed someone to listen because I was all alone & scared to death). She explained that she had been busy preparing for a job interview. This was A) A job she did not even want B) A job she was only applying to because she wanted to see if a man was hired instead so she could try to file a complaint with the EOE.

    I’m sorry, if you’re too busy to TEXT me when I’m in the hospital then, no. You are not a friend. I made the mistake of keeping her in my life & feeling like I had been “too needy”.

    I now realize that we are ALL needy at certain times and this was, fairly, one of them. I should have ghosted her back then but a year later, she repeated similar behavior & neither of us have called each other for over a month now.

    My only regert is investing my precious time & resources in such a person to begin with.

    So to all the people (including the author) who say that you need to reflect & try to not repeat the behavior…

    No. Just no.

    Friends have an unspoken contract with one another. Unless one person is ALWAYS a needy person then we ALL deserve to feel safe that if we become very ill (which most of us will at some point) that our friends will be there for us. That seems like basic humanity.

    When strangers on Twitter are giving you more support during a hospitalization than a so called “friend” something is wrong. We all deserve unconditional love & to know friends will be there in good times & in bad.

  2. Meagan says:

    I too have been dumped by a very dear friend whom is going through alot and no explination at all little by little i could see the signs not liking posts on social media commenting on others but not mine from talking daily to silence i reached out to her only to be ignored so finally i asked her i was frustrated and told her i can take a hint her replys were very short say8ng nothing was wrong i know her better then that. i still today have not spoken to her i unfollowed her she was like a sister to me its sad i was there for her even when i knew she couldnt offer anything in return

  3. Anonymous and Hurting says:

    Take it from a person who has been “dumped” by the same best friend during a 40 yr period-she is not someone you can ever trust. No matter how nice she might act in the future, you now know she is capable of hurting you deeply and not being there for you if you don’t have a relatively easy life. She was looking for an excuse to get away from you….and used something that annoyed her or wore her down to pull the plug. Trust me, please, she will never be dependable. There will always be a nagging doubt in your mind even if she apologizes. And she won’t apologize. If it is totally convenient for her and she runs into you unexpectantly, she may be very sweet and suggest lunch or coffee but do not do it. When a friend shows us who she is, believe her. I didn’t and was hurt and devastated way too many times. I kept thinking that everyone makes mistakes and deserves a new start, but those starts end up abruptly with you going through this all over again. Let her go, try very hard to be positive, and forgive yourself. I, too, have had horrible health issues and it is hard not to feel desperate and need reassurance. I’ve learned not to even tell anyone about my issues. There are days I feel really sorry for myself, but I try the remember my blessings. I consider people who desert us as blessings because they are not genuine.

  4. DJ says:

    Mara I feel your pain and bet you wish that she had talked to you early on so that if discussing your health or financial issues was too much for her you had the option to pull back on that type of conversation. Sadly as Jared says it rarely works trying to keep up a friendship when the other person doesn’t want to.
    You have a number of options including 1. no response 2. responding that you would have appreciated her raising this as an issue early on or 3. saying I’m sad but respect your wishes but should she change her mind later on and wish to make contact please do so. Probably no 1 is the way to go as would you trust she wouldn’t do this again

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi Mara, I want to say sorry you were hurt by a friend. when we think of friendships we think of people who will be there for us no matter what. People have different views n friendships than we do. A friend is someone that is there for us regardless of what we are going through and regardless of how long. People don’t know how to be true friends these days. We are living in a throwaway society. A true friend would have gotten together and sat down with you and explained the feelings they were experiencing and offer a solution that she would need to do in order to maintain this friendship or take some time to step away for a bit. I don’t understand why people have such a hard time with open communication. We all could benefit from a class about communication. She also has no compassion if she can just drop you with no word or warning, and simply walk away. I know this hurts, and friendships can change like the wind. Because we are dealing with human nature, this makes it harder for us to understand or accept. This being said, be thankful for the years you had as friends and cherish them, but, by no means let it destroy or define who you are. Leave the door open if you still want to be friends but don’t tell her this or she will know she can stay away as long as she wants and you will always welcome her back in when SHE feels like it. You are a human being and deserve a better friend. Best of luck to you, you sound like a lovely woman.

  6. Denise says:

    I completely sympathize with you. If she’s felt as close to you for the bulk of 30 years as you have, up until recently, she really did owe you an earlier conversation that your problems were draining her and she needed more space.

    Why is it difficult for close friends to be honest in this situation instead of pulling away with no explanation? There can be a balance between being less supportive while needing a break or more space. You really deserved this courtesy instead of no responses. She could have and should have given you a kind explanation so this is more a reflection of her than you.

    Does “wishing you well” sound final? If you would like to have her friendship again, hope it happens.

  7. Amy F says:

    Friendships can ebb and flow due to life circumstances. If I were trying to establish some boundaries and get a little emotional distance and a friend kept questioning me, I would see this as a sign of disrespect pull back more. I’m glad you got an answer, even though it wasn’t the answer you wanted. You did ask the question repeatedly. If you can take a step back from your hurt feelings and ask yourself how you presented your difficulties to her, before she began pulling away to see whether the process of your exchanges pushed her away rather than the actual difficulties. I have 2 friends going through the same difficulty. One rarely mentions her problem and focuses on the positives. The other constantly dramaticizes every hiccup and has a why me attitude. The first place inspires me, the second leaves me exhausted. If, without realizing, you have been exhausting (and we all are at certain points in our lives), that could be a reason.

  8. Jared says:

    I would feel hurt as well, but at least she gave you the answer and wished you well. Other people don’t get an explanation–ever.

    One thing I’ve learned from this site is that the reason many friendships end is because one party has been putting up with the other in silence for a while and eventually tires of it.

    We’re only friends with people who make us happy, and when they don’t, the friendship declines until it’s severed. Another analogy is a bank account. Each good time is a deposit while the bad times/irritations/let downs are the withdrawals. If the withdrawals are too great, the account is closed. From this site, I’ve learned that people don’t want to explain their feelings to the other party for various reasons such as fearing an argument or feeling like the other person won’t understand.

    It’s hard to accept a decision when we don’t agree with the reasons, but in the end, people have their own reasons that make sense to them.

    Although you feel wronged(I would too), I’ve never heard of a case where trying to keep a friendship the other person ended worked out.

    • meorge says:

      Very well put, Jared. It’s very upsetting when someone pulls away from a longtime friendship, but there are always two sides to a story. Maybe the other friend felt that she gave more than she was getting, or she just had no more to give. It is her right to not be in a relationship she no longer wants to be in.

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