• Handling Breakups

Mom worries when her teen daughter has a falling out with a best friend

Published: September 24, 2015 | Last Updated: September 24, 2015 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
Regardless of age and circumstances, have a falling out with a close friend is always painful.



My daughter, age 18, has recently had a falling out with her best friend. My daughter suffers from an auditory processing disorder so making friends and keeping friends was always difficult over the years.

Her own impression over the course of her life is that no one ever stays. Eventually they dump her for one reason or another. She feels that she’s never quite been accepted. She is a lively, smart, very funny, and a very loyal and caring person and just hadn’t met that soul-connected best friend, until last year.

For me as her Mom, watching this relationship develop and grow has been so incredible. Just to see how much this friend has been there for my daughter, loves her for her quirkiness and has been so devoted over the past year has been so wonderful for my husband and I to see. Finally, she found that person that she could rely on outside of her family.

This summer, my daughter went to camp for a month (planned a year ago) and then we were away for two weeks on a family trip. The girls kept in touch as much as possible although at camp my daughter was not allowed a cell phone so she could only receive letters. Her best friend wrote her quite a bit.

Since coming back a few weeks ago though from our trip, its become apparent that her best friend has found a new crowd of people to hang out with and my daughter doesn’t really feel a connection to the new group. They like to drink and party and my daughter has no interest in this. Her best friend has become less and less engaged and recently bailed on an event they were supposed to go to together and had planned to go to for months.

My daughter, although pretty upset, still took it in stride and tried to let her friend off the hook but the best friend got angry and has not called or messaged my daughter in several days. My daughter is heart broken. She honestly never thought that this friend would ever turn her back on her and I don’t know what to say.

I really didn’t let myself trust the friend either until a few months ago just having been through the “dumping” thing a few times already…I didn’t want to get my hopes up. This friendship though seemed different but now after this, my  daughter feels it’s just another person letting her down and giving up on her.

Ultimately she feels like she’s “not enough” for anyone to stick around long term. I am trying to stay calm and not let her see how much it hurts me to watch but I am at a loss as to how to be there for her and let her know that life is just like this sometimes and that eventually things will change and this relationship may change back or grow or diminish but in the end, she’ll be okay. I’m at a loss.

Signed, Worried Mom


Dear Worried Mom,

I’m so sorry your daughter is struggling. You’re right to stay strong for her and to hide how hurt you feel, she’s got enough to process with her feelings.

Since you haven’t said in what ways her disorder impacts friendship, I’ll assume she has more difficulty in face-to-face and phone communication than written and that her impairment is mild due to her ability to develop and maintain a relationship with a friend who doesn’t have her challenges.

From your letter, the friend seems to have found a group of party friends, which isn’t unusual for late teens, but is something that will never play to your daughter’s strengths. The same would be true if she didn’t have a disability, but was an introvert and shouldn’t be seen as a negative. I wonder if the friend has a greater number of friends because that could place a lot of pressure on her friendship with your daughter.

My advice would be to encourage your daughter to seek out other relationships, rather than to put all her eggs in one basket in one “best friend” relationship. Explain that different friends can fill different roles, study buddies, activity-centric pals, fun friends, convenience acquaintances etc.

If you feel like she’s becoming negative about herself, depressed or hopeless, she might benefit from counseling to help her build her esteem and work on strategies for meeting new people. Therapy can be a good opportunity to give her another support person to help build her up, and gently identify any issues she may have in attracting and maintaining friends.

She’s lucky to have you in her corner.

Signed, *Amy Feld

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

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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  1. tanja says:

    I am sorry your daughter is struggling. I can only imagine how you may feel watching her go through this. My daughter is still young, so I am just entering the world where they are starting to make their own friends. I have thought about this as well, even though I am not there yet. This is because as a kid, I always thought my relationships were more important to my mother than to me. I was not a party girl either and never was. I hated bars and dance clubs and still do. I prefer one to one interaction over a coffee and cake any day to alcohol in a night club with loud music. I feel lonelier not being able to connect with another person, although we all connect in different ways. For me, it is verbally and through intimate, not always intellectual but funny conversations.

    I think if I may give advice, that I would encourage her seeking new friendships, such as joining clubs or interest groups, keep your daughter busy. I mean she is 18 and needs to do some of it herself. But, get involved with things at school or in the community. When I was that age, I did not have many friends, but i worked crazy hours and worked a lot. I joined a photography course that was held within the community. I took Spanish, just a college course here and there and met people. I gave up that idea of “best friend” because I thought it limits the relationships. I also had a friend from high school that in front of me would call this other girl her “best friend”. I don’t know why she did it, but she would always point it out, not realizing that it made her friend uncomfortable. I just ignored it. We still talk to this day and we all have kids. But, I have had to ignore and play oblivious to a lot of awful things this one friend did. She is not all bad…just insecure….Anyway, i developed relationships and a lot of them came and served a purpose at a time and left again. Then, I met my husband and he is great but even he can’t be my everything because he can hurt my feelings a lot as well. So, over time, you realize that things change and some people are only meant to be in your life for a brief time and that is okay. I had a friend who was in my life for four years, when I first had my son. She had a son the same age. She invited us out a lot. It was great. She even took care of my son while I went to teacher’s college for very little pay. I knew he loved it there because of her son. But, when our kids were 4, she abruptly ended the friendship because she did not like my sister because she was mad at teachers and they disagreed on things. But, she then ended the friendship with me as well because I disagreed. But, she did not like to be disagreed with but i disagree with my husband on things and it doesn’t mean “the end”. Anyway, there could have been more going on. I will never know. But, it hurt. It still does from time to time. My son wondered why he could not see his friend anymore. I tried to contact her to at least see if the kids could still be friends. But, she did not respond. So, we told our son that they moved back to Poland. He asked why they did not say good bye and I said I don’t know. I told him I was sad as well. What could I do. I told him if he ever needed to talk about his friend I was here for him. Well, now he is 7 and just before his 7th birthday, he asked if he could see a picture of his old friend “Charlie” because he forgot what he looked like. He did not remember his sister’s name or mother’s name or father’s name, but he still remembered his friend “Charlie”. So, I showed him and we talked about it and then we talked about Grandpa, who died, the same year the friendship ended and he treated both like a death. Only the friend was harder because he knows the friend is still out there. He once said to me “I wonder if Charlie ever still thinks of me?” He said that this summer. So, I know it was hard on him.

    The point is that although, I was hurt. I will never regret the friendship. It served it’s purpose for a brief time. It got me through the first few years of being a first time mom. I will never forget her. She helped me a lot through a difficult time and I will always look back with fondness and say thank you, the move on.

    I have made other friends since, but none as good as she was to me. So good friends are hard to come by.

    So, get her involved, meet people and love people and also let go. But, there are dangers in having one “best friend”. You could get hurt more easily. I also would suggest some counselling as well.

    Good luck. Sorry that your daughter is going through this.

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