Is turning off a cell phone the solution to this friendship problem?

Published: May 29, 2010 | Last Updated: May 30, 2010 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

My friend and I are best friends and I care about her a great deal. She calls me A LOT! I don’t mind that but the problem is that if I don’t pick up the phone she gets really upset. Many times, I have tried to explain to her that I don’t always have my phone on me but she doesn’t understand. My problem isn’t the number of calls but the expectation that I have to pick up my phone every time. It’s irritating and causing me a lot of stress.


There are times I’ve turned my phone off for three or four days in a row just to avoid her, but the problem with that is that my clients can’t get hold of me either. There are times I fill up my own voicemail just so I don’t have to get a message from her.


The times I have spent with her haven’t all been bad but when I quit my job to start my own business, she told me that we are in a recession and that what I did was stupid (Note: I never asked her for any help). Recently she told me that her friend Jack is the smartest person she knows and that I’m not even on her level. At another point she told me that she had a dream that my business tanked and I failed and lived in a slum.


I’m here in this country, kind of by myself, for the past ten years. I’m working on setting up my business, which is pretty time consuming. While networking is something I love and enjoy, it takes time.


What should I do about my friend? The last time I kept my phone off for over a week, she sent me a text saying she was thinking of suicide. Sometimes I get really depressed thinking about last year when she said this and this past month has been pretty bad. I love and care for her, but I don’t know what to do.




Dear Carla,

It’s reasonable to be annoyed by excessive phone calls from a friend but turning off your phone or filling your own voicemail box aren’t satisfactory solutions. The pattern of her calling and you not responding has become a dysfunctional source of frustration to both of you.


You seem to depend on each other in different ways. Your roots in this country aren’t very deep and this relationship provides you with a sense of stability and belonging. Although your friend’s insensitive remarks irk you from time to time, you have been able to get past them. On the other hand, you provide your friend with a sense of security as well. Her need to have constant contact with you suggests that she may be very insecure and overly dependent on you.


First things first: When someone expresses suicidal feelings, these should never be ignored or taken lightly. If your friend seems depressed or suicidal, you need to encourage her to speak to a mental health professional. Understandably, this has been weighing on you heavily. This may be a serious problem and if you need help, you might want to notify a close family member of your friend or seek advice from a suicide hotline.


In terms of the problem with phone calls and texts, when your friend is more stable psychologically the problem may resolve itself. If it doesn’t, you need to be upfront at that time about setting clear boundaries in terms of the number and timing of non-urgent calls you are willing to accept. When you’ve gotten over this crisis, you may want to reassess this friendship and think about making others that are less complicated and more supportive.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.



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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think mobile makes easy to be a friend. My best friend reminds me so rediculously much of sheldon. He has the same haircut and hes six feet tall and skinny and he spits out random strings of facts about science that no one cares about at random times. Plus he wears shirts that say bazinga and hes condescending and im the only one he lets touch him. And he goes to a math and science academy. And he has big blueish greenish eyes. Only difference is he isnt asexual 😉

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