The Phase Out (Times Two)

Published: July 25, 2011 | Last Updated: July 25, 2011 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

When friends are always busy and never initiate contact,
they may be trying to step back from the friendship~



Dear Irene,

For the last couple of years my friend has been slowly but
surely phasing me out of her life. I’m no longer invited to events and she’s
usually busy when I suggest we get together. She had been emailing jokes to me
a few times a week but now even that has stopped.


The problem is that our daughters are both in their early
teens and now my daughter is being phased out, too –not invited to her friend’s
birthday party next week; her daughter was busy and not able to come to our
house; and so on. I’m hurt. I’m mad. But I want this to be done and over. How
do I get over this? What do I say to my daughter? For my girl’s sake, I don’t
want to burn any bridges.

Signed, Missy



Dear Missy,

All the signs are there that this is a
definite "phase out."  It sounds like
your friend is backing off from the friendship without directly telling you. If
this friendship is important to you, ask your friend if you did
something to upset or anger her. If not, you may just need to accept that the
friendship has run its course.


This situation is complicated because of your
daughter: It may be that she is being phased out because of you, or it could be
that you are being phased out because of her. It’s possible that your friend’s daughter
is no longer interested in being friends with your daughter, and her mother
doesn’t quite know how to handle it.


Irrespective of what came first, you need to
encourage your daughter to seek out new friends and remind her that friendships
and allegiances change all the time, especially during the teen years. At some
later point, she and the other girl may become friends again.


Since you all run in the same social circles, it’s wise for
neither you or your daughter to express anger or burn bridges unnecessarily. Just move on.

Hope this helps,

My best, Irene


Other posts on The Friendship Blog about being phased out:

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Missy, I am so sorry you had to go through this; especially with your daughter involved. That makes it very tricky. I’ve been “phased out” of a friendship within the past 2 years. It began with my ex-BF pulling back on email, then phone calls, then get-togethers. There was an occasion when she showed up at an event and she was acting so aloof w/ my family and me that it was beyond awkward. My family asked what was up with her. Currently, the only mode of connection is via FB, and that’s infrequent. She will on occasion send and email or a greeting card which is so pathetic. It’s as if the guilt is eating away at her, or she wants to keep me in the lurch just-in-case. The most hurtful thing is that she is striking up friendships with people that she used to dislike and gossip about all the time. These new “friends” are people that used to “dis” her and treat her like crap. How ironic! I am having trouble letting go of the hurt. I have not reached out to her. I am too angry and confused to do so. This is taking up so much energy from me that I am not opening myself up to new friendships for fear of being abandoned again. My therapist says to dis-friend her on FB because it’s over. I’m not quite ready for that yet. I guess deep down I am blaming myself. If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it, Thank you!!!

  2. M says:

    I had a harsh and sudden break up with my best friend a few years ago during my divorce of a 15 yr marriage. She has one daughter and I have 2. Obviously we used to hang out and play together all the time, then suddenly everything came to a halt. It was hard on every one involved.
    Just recently I got a text from the Ex BFF. She had gotten her daughter a cell phone and wanted to know if our kids could "text" each other. Even though I was extremely grateful she asked, I politely said no. I explained to her that her decision to move on and cut me out completely, is an absolute. Now that time has passed, and me and my kids have moved on, there is no sense tempting the bad, unrepairable things from the past. I just don’t want to stir the pot. And I don’t want to tempt my kids of having to deal with a loss a second time due to their parents stupidity.
    Unfortunately things happen, we make mistakes and hearts get broken, but I have found that some times it is best to move on and leave things in the past. It is hard, I still miss, and think of them often.
    Good Luck

  3. Butterflygirl says:


    I’m very sorry for what you and your daughter are experiencing via your former “friend”.

    I think that women who use their children to play out their dysfunctional need for grown-up mean girl drama are an abomination. Yes, sometimes friendships between adults change, but the key word here is “adults”. One of the responsibilities of a good parent is to set examples around how to handle normal ups and downs in relationships. That a grown women could actually gain some satisfaction in knowing that she is hurting a teen-aged girl in the service of sending a message to her phased out friend is quite frankly disturbed. If her behavior weren’t so sick-making you could almost feel sorry for her as she is obviously an unhappy person.

    I hope that both you and your daughter move on to form happier, healthier relationships that are nurturing, inclusive and supportive. If it’s any consolation, I’ve seen the drama seekers bitten by their own nasty bug after they’ve run through every target in their social circle. Rest assured that now that you and your daughter are out of the game, she’ll set her sights on someone else. For some people the only influence they can enjoy is negative.

    Good luck and keep your chin up. That you and your daughter no longer have to deal with “Mean Queen” is a blessing. She doesn’t deserve any more space in your head.

  4. Debbie says:

    This is in response to the blog on July 25th from Missy. My daughter and I are going through a similar situation which started about a year and half ago and we are still struggling, but it is getting better with time, (slowly). My daughter’s BFF decided she didn’t want to be friends with her anymore and decided to only hang out with her for rides home after school and to stay at our house until her Mom could pick her up. The problem is the Mom was my BFF and she allowed her daughter to treat mine in this manner along with excluding my daughter from her group activities while she sat at my house. I tried to talk with my friend and work out a better situation for the girls, but she continued to allow her daughter to use my daughter and me and she started doing the same, by not returning my calls, taking other friends places and not including my daughter but still expecting me to pick her daughter up and care for her, everyday. Her daughter excluded my daughter from a group activity knowingly while she sat at our house. I let the mom know and I didn’t hear from her again until it was time to pick her daughter up from school and I called to talk to her and realized she didn’t care, so I told her I would no longer pick her daughter up and I never heard from her again. My daughter has been excluded from the entire group and no longer has any friends from her childhood and her ex-BFF is included in everything and her Mom continues to use other people for rides and care. I feel we were doing right by this family and caring for them and we are the ones left out and excluded. My daughter and I both struggle to trust anyone as friends and keep to ourselves. We have a strong family and life long friends for support but it has and is extremely difficult to understand and neither one of us will ever be the same. We see them everyday at school and with the extra activities and it is very uncomfortable, the girl completely ignores us and the Mom acts like nothing is wrong. I have spent the last year supporting my daughter in finding new friends and a new group and I am trying to do the same. It still hurts and I still think about it everyday, I can’t wait for the time when it all goes away and we can be happy and live our lives again without them, it just hasn’t happened yet. My only regret is that I didn’t just walk away quietly. So I agree with the advice “don’t burn your bridges” and confronting the other person for closure doesn’t work! I do believe however that we are good people, we deserve better and that everything does happen for a reason. My daughter is an incrediable young lady and she has shown more strength and dignity then I ever knew she had, I hope she see’s the same in me.

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