Reader Q & A: Why did she dump me?

Published: November 17, 2008 | Last Updated: November 17, 2008 By | Reply Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

I telephoned a girlfriend today for a chat and to see how see was doing and she hit me with a bombshell. She politely told me that she saw no point in continuing our friendship. She said she was making positive changes in her life and I wasn’t included.

We have had one disagreement in the six years we have known each other. We are both busy moms and live in different towns so most of our friendship is over long phone calls. We are both Americans living abroad and we have found creature comfort in talking to a fellow-country woman.

Though I understand that we were never best, best friend-our interests are different-we were always there for each other to share joys and tears. I told her that I had to respect her decision but I admitted I was confused why she felt the need to cut it off entirely. We didn’t have some screaming fight. We laughed with each other, gave support when the other needed it. I babysat when she asked and included her daughter in all my kids’ parties.

She said she was looking for a best friend. Someone whom she could go out and have a drink with. She said she didn’t feel like putting any energy into a phone friend. I understand what she was saying but I don’t get why she had to dump me as a friend totally. Can she only have one friend at a time?

I am a mom with three little boys and a husband who comes home late. I rarely have an option of a babysitter, so nights out are even rarer still. My friend is a single mom who has one day during the week and every other weekend child-free because of visitation with the child’s father. I understand her need to let loose but I thought she understood my situation too. I am sad. I miss our girl chats. I miss being her Dr. Freud. I know a lot of people in this foreign country but she was my touchstone to home and I didn’t have to explain who I was because she already knew. I really feel alone.



Dear Dumpee,

It is always painful to be dumped, especially without any real explanation. To make matters worse, your friend was unnecessarily blunt and showed little respect for your feelings. Your friend’s reasons for suddenly breaking off the relationship in a hurtful way are as inexplicable to me as they are to you.

There are a few things you’ve mentioned (and that you may have overlooked) that suggest your friendship may have been imperfect to start: While you are both ex-pats, you have different interests, fairly different lifestyles (single mom of an only child vs. married mom with three little ones), and live in different towns with few opportunities to see one another. While none of these differences are necessarily relationship killers, it sounds like there just weren’t enough ties to bind you other than you country of origin.

Your life sounds pretty constricted right now (your husband has long working hours, you are still adjusting to living in a foreign country away from old friends and extended family, and you have few childcare options), so admittedly, this is a tough time to make new friends and it’s natural to feel alone.

It sounds like this lost friendship may have been a relationship of convenience for the two of you. You mention that you liked being your friend’s "Dr. Freud," which suggests that you were on the giving end of the relationship more than the receiving one. When relationships are tipped in one direction like that, they are often prone to fracture.

You deserve to have a close friend with whom you can share feelings-but one that is more reciprocal. My advice: Try to find a replacement closer to home. You may have more in common with someone in your neighborhood than you do with this ex-pat—perhaps, a mother of one of your children’s friends. At different times in a woman’s life, it may be more or less difficult to make and maintain female friendships. Before you know it, your little ones will be older and you will have more time and options.

You have a very full plate right now so, perhaps, on an interim basis you could reconnect by email to some of your friends from back home. I’m sorry this happened but I think it has more to do with her than with you. Don’t over-analyze why she did it because you’ll never be able to figure it out. Instead, move forward and find new ways to address your own needs for friendship.

Hope this is helpful.

My best,


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