Walking on eggshells

Published: March 1, 2011 | Last Updated: March 1, 2011 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading


Hi Irene,

I haven’t spoken to an old best friend for quite some time. I was the last one to initiate contact after the relationship had become uncomfortable. I decided to stop and see if she would contact me. It wasn’t that I didn’t get a response but I felt like the response was bland. I also feared that if I kept contacting her (this certainly wasn’t going to be a constant or regular thing), then she would say something I didn’t like.


It’s her birthday shortly and I am unsure what to do. I feel okay that the friendship has ended but I feel if I do send her greetings, I am somehow not respecting her boundaries. If I don’t and she expected me to, I worry for some odd reason that she will do something nasty to me. I know that sounds strange. I’m not sure why I feel like this.

Thank you for your help,



Hi Michelle,

It’s natural to think about a friend on her birthday. But when a friendship gets to the point where you have to worry about everything you say or do (even something as simple as sending a birthday card), the friendship has reached its expiration date. You haven’t gone into details so I don’t know when or why the friendship became this uncomfortable.


It sounds like your’e in a Catch-22 or no-win position—either because your friend put you there or because of your own feelings. In either case, something’s amiss. If you want to send her a birthday card or express birthday greetings on her Facebook page, by all means, do it. But don’t do it in an effort to alter the relationship. And don’t be surprised if she isn’t appreciative.


My advice: If you can’t have an honest and open discussion with a close friend (either because of her or you), it’s time to let go.

Hope this helps.



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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi…just reading this post from a few months back…if I didnt know any better I would think I wrote it!…my ex bff and I had our final falling out a few months back….she had made it clear that she wanted open and honest communication…when I actually tried it a few weeks later, she pulled the rug out from underneath me! Told me I was starting drama…I could not have been kinder or more respectful when I had tried to talk to her…in return she gave me the silent treatment for weeks…then proceeded to only communicate through texting…for months. I finally told her to give me a call if she ever wanted to talk or chat….I wouldnt continue with the texting (we are in our 40’s)…its been 3 weeks and I have heard nothing from her…I just dont understand it, but I know I dont want anything to do with such juvinile baloney.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have had a close friendship with a friend of mine for about 7 years…over the years things said or not said have fractured things quite abit…we actually just reconnected after not having much of a friendship or contact last year. We agreed to always have open and honest communication, put it out there, dicuss it and move on…

    Last week something happned were I felt she wasnt being completely truthful with me, I questioned her, very nicely and respectfully…the response back was defensive, agitated and things blown out of proportion. I thought it best that we hang up to avoid further escalation.

    We have not talked since, although I did send her a text message Sunday to say Hi and hoped she was ok as well as sending two other messages related to some more formal issues we are involved it…but again, so voluntary reach out from her…

    My question…at this point should I even continue to pursue a fractured friendship involving alot of work and effort…disecting everything I say and do to avoid friction…saying and actually being open and honest are very different…

  3. Irene says:

    Hi Sunny!

    Great question. Yes, not much to be lost in giving a friend the benefit of the doubt. After all, the person is/was your friend. 

    Important to draw a line, however, between staying in touch and ignoring a wall of silence.





  4. Sunny says:

    Many times I’ve felt I was being snubbed or, as Irene would put it, “downsized” because of someone not acknowledging a birthday, a gift, an e-mail, whatever. But then it has turned out the person truly didn’t mean to be thoughtless; they were simply busy and forgot to get in touch. And I have felt so grateful that I didn’t write them off and “downsize” them in return. And I have sheepishly remembered that I too have been guilty sometimes of just being accidentally neglectful of my friends, because I was too busy or too distracted. So, with this humbled attitude in mind, I find I sometimes continue to send cards, e-mails, etc., to people who might actually be trying to “downsize” me. So here is my question, Irene: Do you think it’s best to continue to give your friends “the benefit of the doubt” even if it means you are being a pest? Is it worth the risk? This is the continual dilemma.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was in a similar situation recently. My friendship with my closest friend had come to an end….it was a very confusing situation because we had a discussion about some communication issues we were having….both left the conversation wanting to put our issues behind us…but feel the very fact that we had to have a ” conversation ” in the first place was what finished our friendship…
    Neither one of us could be honest, both just tried to smooth things over…so feelings were left hurt…
    So we both just fell out of contact…never had another talk, just both stop calling…maybe I should have initiated one just for closure.
    Anyway her birthday was this fall, after mine, she did not acknowlede mine in anyway…So when her’s come around, I felt I did want to send a text… I wish the friendship could have worked out, I do believe it was for the best to move on..too many misunderstandings, her actions never matched her words….but regardless I really enjoyed being her friend….so I texted her a birthday greeting….not a big deal…but took me awhile to decide what to do….
    Hmmm, really hard to lose a close friend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “My advice: If you can’t have an honest and open discussion with a close friend (either because of her or you), it’s time to let go.”

    Amen! This really rings true. I have a friend who refuses to have an open discussion with me. I’ve tried several times over the last few years. We can be the only two people in the room, and she still won’t look me in the eye. I finally realized that if she is honest with me, she’ll have to be honest with herself about some things that she doesn’t want to look at. It took me a very long time to realize that it wasn’t because of me, it was because of her own issues.

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