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My Friend Is Avoiding Me: What Can I Do?

Published: July 13, 2021 | Last Updated: July 13, 2021 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

When a close friend is avoiding you, it’s hard not to take it personally but that may not be the case. 

QUESTION

Hi,

I would love your advice about a very close friend who seems to be avoiding me really suddenly for no reason that I can make out.

This friend and I have been friends since high school. There have been periods where we’ve lived in separate countries and had less contact than other times, but we’ve always gotten back in touch and picked up exactly where we left off. I feel like we have a lot in common and have shared a lot of vulnerability and intimate conversations.

In the last few weeks, my friend seems to be avoiding any contact with me. I contacted her (in a group message thread with her partner) with some general news and an invitation to catch up. She responded to the news but not to the bit about catching up. A mutual friend then invited us both (plus partners) over to dinner. My friend initially accepted and then canceled, saying not to worry about rescheduling. Another mutual friend invited us both to something, and my friend saw the message but still hasn’t responded.

I’m worried that either she, or her partner, are avoiding seeing us, and I can’t figure out why that would be. The two of us and our partners, as far as I can tell, have gotten on very well with each other. My friend is starting up a small business, and I wrote her a reference and a comment on her business Facebook page, both of which she replied to. She and her partner also liked a Facebook post my partner and I put up recently. There just seems to be an issue around catching up.

It seems possible that she’s busy setting up her business, but this is out of character and really consuming me. I feel worried, anxious, depressed, and miserable. She’s my oldest and longest-standing friend, and I don’t know how I would cope if she was suddenly deciding to end the friendship.

Signed, Chiara

ANSWER

Hi Chiara,

It sounds like this is a close and long-standing friendship you treasure so I can understand your concerns. It does seem like your friend is avoiding getting together but it may not be about you, or you and your partner, per se.

Some things to consider:

She turned down the dinner invitation from a mutual friend and didn’t respond to the invitation to get together with your other mutual friend. She may not be up to socializing for one reason or another. It could be that she is depressed, dealing with a personal demon (e.g., her relationship with her partner, a business or financial problem, a health condition, or another emotional problem). She may be reluctant to share this information or she may simply be depleted of the energy or inclination to get together with anyone.

You haven’t mentioned the pandemic but many people are still wary of social interactions. Even those who are vaccinated may not be ready to return to real-life friendships.

The bottom line is that you really don’t know why your friend may be avoiding you or others.

Since you don’t have enough information to make a judgment and feel close to this friend, my suggestion would be to email her and tell her that you are concerned about her. Ask her if everything is okay with her and if she might like to get together to talk one-on-one. If she doesn’t respond, give her some time and space before you try again.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a friend is avoiding you when it may not be about you at all.

Hope this is helpful.

Best, Irene 


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  1. Cynthia G says:

    I can empathize with your worries. But it’s been such a strange and stressful time for all of us, given pandemic restrictions, just for starters. I also believe the pandemic has made us all reevaluate our relationships and left us feeling a bit uncomfortable as we try to navigate the way back to normal living. Still, you’re right to be on alert to a change in your friendship. I would ask your friend for time to discuss your relationship. If it’s a longtime friendship it deserves full attention and caring.

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