• Handling Breakups

What to do when a friend ignores you

Published: February 20, 2017 | By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
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A woman is at a loss for what to do when her friend ignores her with no explanation. Her prior efforts to address the problem haven’t been successful.


Hi Dr. Levine,

One of my closest friends has recently abruptly started ignoring me with no explanation. I’ve reached out to her several times and asked her what I did wrong, and apologized if I offended her in any way. I have absolutely no idea what I could have done to hurt her.

She’s ignored me in real life and ignored my texts. I want to know what I should do from here on. This has been going on for over a month now and I don’t think it’s worth it to keep asking her if she obviously doesn’t want me to be a part of her life.

It was sort of important for me to resolve this though because soon we are going to be competing on a team together and it’s going to be awkward and strain the performance of the team. However, at this point I’m kind of done with her. Thank you.

Signed, Lori


Hi Lori,

It’s a horrible feeling to be dumped by a friend without explanation but this happens more often than you think. You’ve apologized, reached out (by phone and by text) and have given your friend some time to work through her feelings. I would agree with you that at this point, you can’t do anything more to resolve the estrangement.

In terms of being part of the same team, your friend should feel a lot more awkward than you because you’ve handled the situation appropriately. Act cordially to your friend as you would to any other teammate with whom you don’t have a special friendship. Make sure you don’t involve anyone else on the team in this matter. While you’ll feel uncomfortable the first few times you see this friend, it will eventually begin to feel more comfortable.

If it feels as if a problem is about to surface, you may want to seek advice, in confidence, from the coach of your team.

I think you’re on the right track! Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog:

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Category: Getting over getting dumped

Comments (10)

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  1. Ruby says:

    The interesting thing about these posts I find is that everyone always says ‘I had no idea.’ If you look back you’ll see that you did know. I had tried for 4 years to dump a toxic friend. I spoke about things that were bothering me and basically got back it was my misunderstanding etc… The straw that broke the proverbal camel’s back was when Toxic friend complained about her sister-in-law and how she never asks about her, only talks about herself. I was done. She understand its wrong when its done to you but not when you’re doing it to someone else. Thus, the cold stony silences, cutting off occurred. It wasn’t out of the blue. It was out of necessity. If people realised that in a lot of cases the Dumper was pushed to a point and walked away. None of this is easy for either party and there is no simple solution. If there was we would have ‘Break-Up w/Friend Day.’

    • Joe says:

      Makes sense but only if your friend perceives herself that way. If it was that obvious she most like would have changed her mannerisms with you assuming she valued your friendship. Wouldn’t be easier to say you had enough? The way you did it was cruel and far more hurtful. I am assuming you would want to take the high road here. While people can sometimes piss us off, the mark of a class act is someone who can control their responses in a civilized way. I know it can be hard but in the end it is worth it.

      • Ruby says:

        Agree with what your saying but when you have repeatedly told someone the way they’re behaving is hurting you and they continue on, not sure what you can do at that point after giving 4 years of trying with no change. Every situation is different but all I’m saying is, sometimes its not out of no where when it happens.

        • Joe says:

          I get why you did it. However, your description makes it sound like an on going conversation without a clear point and without a clear consequence. Maybe it is because of the way your are describing it and you did do those things. I just can’t tell from your post. I have found that clear and to the point communication with a definite consequence spelled out works best. I definitely empathize with you. Hope you do not have to thru that again.

    • Clarity says:

      Ruby, I think you are being unfair in assuming that the person who got dumped was a toxic person. It is just as likely that the person who did the dumping is toxic themselves. I was recently dumped by a friend who had been just a casual friend for some years, we would meet up occasionally for lunch. Last year she had a work crisis and took stress leave. During this time she suddenly started wanting to hang out several times a week, because she needed to talk; I am retired so I was available. I spent hours of my time listening to her sympathetically. She always picked me up as I have no car, but I never asked het to, I always used to meet up with her in town.
      Anyway she found a new social meetup and suggested I join too,which I did, and she always drove me. In turn I had her over for dinner(actually many times over the years), bought her lovely Xmas and birthday gifts, even contributed money for petrol although she didn’t want to take it. I even went with her on her first overseas trip – I am a seasoned traveller – and I showed her around and we had a great time.
      Then suddenly she stopped taking me anywhere; we had a dinner to attend and she just did not pick me up, without warning, so it was too late for me to arrange public transport. After that she would email me but we did not meet up. I believe she suddenly decided her car was worth more than our friendship, even though I always tried to recompense her.
      I have emailed her recently but she does not answer. I was always a good friend and a sympathetic listener, and I find her behaviour odd.

  2. joe says:

    If this happened to a guy, I am sure the advise would be to just move on so sad too bad like I saw in something similar in another post here. I find the double standard here alarming. When a guy does the same thing, it seems he is being a pest or a “stalker”. When a woman does it, there seems to be more empathy and sympathy towards the natural follow-up actions that by the way any normal human being would do. While I can certainly sympathize with having to see and deal with this person in whatever activity you have going on, you will just have to deal with it as diplomatically as possible. Be polite but essentially pretend she is not there. Maybe at some point she will get over whatever the issue is and come back around. On the other hand who knows, she may leave the group if she is that uncomfortable. You stick by your guns as you did nothing wrong and acted in the most reasonable, humane, and rational way possible. Hang in there and god bless you!

  3. Judith says:

    It is so hard when this happens and so hurtful. I’ve been through this before. The type of person I am, took me a long time to get over and move on.
    I wonder if there is something going with her that she doesn’t want you to know or to embarrassed to let you know.
    You have reached out to her in many ways and apologized for anything that may have offended her. What I learned is to pray about it, send her card to let her know that you have reached out in many ways to her and that you are going to stop reaching out and to move on. Will say a prayer for you as well.

  4. Denise says:

    You’ve done all you can by making reasonable efforts to talk with her, asking her what happened and got no response. Even if someone has lied to her about something you’ve done, you can’t know because she clearly has shut the door. It would be easier to focus on more positive things except for the competition coming up. If you can cancel your participation, I’d definitely do that; for me it would be uncomfortable and distracting to be there.

  5. Ariane says:

    Is it necessary that you have to be on this team with this ex-friend? If so, I would just minimize interaction to a “must have to”. Maybe someday she will be decent and mature and decide to give you some closure to this. There is one person who was in my life years ago and I was dumped without warning or reason and I learned from that point you cannot control what another does, but you have control over how you respond. I know this is hard, but you just have to find a way to work through this knowing you may never get answers. This shows you what kind of person she is and she pretty much did you a favor by showing her true colors.

  6. Amy F says:

    Here’s a quote from Grey’s Anatomy
    Penny: I don’t want this to be awkward.
    Meredith: Then don’t make it awkward.

    For some reason, your former friend ended the friendship and didn’t have the communication abilities to tell you why. That was her choice, though not a particularly mature or kind one. Be cordial by treating her as you would another teammate or acquaintance. Don’t try to get her attention or use the opportunity for answers. The first time you see her will be hard, but it’ll get easier.

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