Reader Q & A: Coping with a roller coaster friendship

Published: November 10, 2008 | Last Updated: November 10, 2008 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading


Dear Irene:

I came across your blog tonight. I am thankful. I am feeling desperate for some advice. I became good friends with a girl in the same town where I live. We met in February of this year. We hit it off right away. We became super close really fast. Had the same interests, desires and goals. Our daughters are 2 weeks apart. She became part of my family. We spent hours together in person, by phone or email. We took a trip to California together with our families.

Off and on I noticed she would shut down and ignore me for days. No call back, no response to emails, no texting back, etc. I thought it was odd but didn’t think anything of it at the time. She claimed she wasn’t feeling well, she was having marriage problems, etc.-excuses. Her marriage has been rocky since day 1. She is only married for less than one year. She is currently pregnant with her second child. Her husband and she go to marriage therapy every other week. Their communication is horrible from what she says.

She claims I "yelled" at her all the time. She blew up at me over the phone one night the end of Sept. I was shocked! Not one time did she lead me to believe that things were bothering her. I knew she was either having a bad day or not feeling well. I kept my distance, but at the same time tried to reach out in case she needed anything. She would ignore me for days, not call me back, not answer emails or texts. After a few days, she would call and pretend nothing is wrong when truly she was ignoring me on purpose. She brushed things under the mat. She never communicated her true feelings. She bottled everything inside and finally blew up at me. I had no idea.

I was crushed, disappointed, hurt, angry, etc. I considered her like my sister. I thought the world of her. I could talk to her about anything. It was devastating to hear her accusations. I don’t feel I ever "yelled" at her…that’s just not me. I think she might be bipolar because she was either really happy (on the high side) and other times she was sad, not wanting to talk to anybody (low side). It was extreme.

I tried to contact her, but she does not answer her phone. I sent her an email asking her to forgive me (even though I don’t feel I did anything wrong), but she said she is "happy with the way her life is."

The hardest thing is that we have lots of mutual friends. We are the coordinators of a local moms group. Everyone is starting to notice that we don’t talk and ignore each other. What am I suppose to tell our mutual friends? I am not trying to get girls on my side, but it has been extremely difficult to keep this from others. I truly care about her. I loved her and her family. I gave her everything. I hurt. I think about her every day. I wonder how she is doing, but can’t contact her anymore. She truly slapped my face and said she doesn’t need someone like me in her life.
I don’t know what to do. Please help! Any advice is appreciated.

Hurt Friend


Dear Hurt Friend:

It sounds like over the course of your friendship you have observed that your friend may be facing a number of challenges/problems-that have nothing to do with your relationship with each other, per se. You’ve noticed that she:

  • Has marital problems (which could make her feel ambivalent about becoming pregnant a second time)
  • Is pregnant (which could be playing havoc with her hormones)
  • Is parenting a toddler while she is pregnant (which can be challenging when things are stable)
  • Has communication problems (and, specifically, has a hard time talking about little slights until they escalate and become big ones)
  • Tends toward mood swings (whether or not they are symptoms of, or fall short of, a diagnosable mental disorder)

The two of you became very close within a very short period of time, perhaps because of all you had in common. You became fast friends before you really knew one another.

But even if you had known her longer, you don’t always know what else is going on in another person’s life. As you describe your friend, she seems to be a very moody person who gets upset over little things and who has a hard time resolving conflicts. When you first met, either her mood may have been more stable or it may have been more elevated-which can make someone extremely likable and engaging. Then, over time, you began to see her roller coaster personality emerge.

You sound like a very caring, understanding and forgiving friend. You have done everything you could possibly do to mend the friendship. Your friend may or may not be able to appreciate the friendship she has lost. There may be other things going on in her life that are consuming her.

In terms of seeing one another (which you inevitably will, if you live in the same town and have a child the same age) and handling your failed friendship with your mutual friends, my advice is:

1) Always act cordially to your friend when you meet (smile, nod or say hello).

2) Don’t make any further efforts to mend the relationship unless your friend extends herself to you. Even if she does, be cautious and careful because the same thing may happen again.

3) If you are close to these mutual friends, you can say (one-on-one) that the two of you had a small tiff that you couldn’t resolve. They will understand because this isn’t that unusual.

4) Don’t provide any details. Say it’s nothing you want to talk about because you feel like it would be a betrayal. They will respect you for that.

5) Try to do things with other women so you have less time to think about the failed friendship. You deserve someone who is able to appreciate you.

Despite the hurt and pain, you just need to move on. With time, you will heal. Everyl friendship don’t last forever, even the best of them.

Best wishes,

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Elise says:

    I agree with anonymous. I went though a bad time trying to patch up with a close friend who no longer appreciated our friendship. I felt even more rejected and no matter what I did she just didn’t want to know which compounded the hurt. I know it’s a cliche but time does heal, and it does help if you can concentrate on other interests – relationships.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Irene. I just went thru a friendship breakup with a good friend 4 months ago. Just move on with your life and let go because the harder you try to fix the friendship the worse it gets. If she’s isn’t interested in maintaining the friendship anymore, nothing you say or do could make her change her mind. It hurts to be the rejected party but time will heal the wound.

Leave a Reply