• Handling Breakups

When Friends Distance Themselves From You

Published: January 2, 2024 | Last Updated: January 2, 2024 By | Reply Continue Reading
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When you can’t understand why friends distance themselves from you, it usually suggests that there is some information you don’t know.

QUESTION

Hi Dr, Irene,

I’m wondering about how to manage my relationship with my best friend of over ten years. We’ve shares a brother-sister bond since our school days. Over time, as we moved into different walks of life but unlike most other friendships, our bond retained strong.

About 10-12 days ago, my bestie started distancing herself from me without any apparent reason. A few days later, she told me she needed some space. Until then, I’d chat with on a daily basis, and discuss a lot of things over Google Meets and calls. 

Prior to that, she’d raised a topic of an apparent miscommunication between her and another mutual friend of ours whom I knew from childhood. She told me that I shouldn;t deliberately miscommunicate and ruin their relationship. I was shocked because I trust both of them equally and didn’t understand what miscommunication she was talking about. She gave me no further information about it and avoided talking about it any futher. 

Things temporarily returned to normal between us after I told her that if there was any wrongdoing (unintentional /non-deliberate) on my end, I was sorry about it and asked what I could do to rectify it. 

A few days later, she’d began ‘ghosting’ me and stopped responding to my very otherwise routine and casual texts with which we’d both had started our days—-such as ‘How are you? and ‘What’s up?’. A few days later, she’d responded saying that she’d been trying to resolve a lot of things on her end and needed some space.

In an attempt to know what damage I’d done to her relationship with our mutual friend, I asked him to take me through their constant meet-ups and he highlighted a very minor instance of miscommunication on my part. The issue was related to others thinking they had something going on, which both of them denied. I had previously told her that it wasn’t true, yet she saw it as an instance of deliberate miscommunication. I had already told her that I’d never ever do such a thing. I value both my friends and these friendships.

I am trying to understand and cope with the sudden absence of my best friend and also attempting to help repair her friendship with my bestie from childhood by letting him resolve it.

However, my bestie is yet to re-establish contact with us and take our calls. How do I overcome this and restore our triangular friendship, which was from the beginning based on trust and confidence in each other?

tt makes me quite distressed to see things suddenly take that shape after so many years of ups and downs. 

ANSWER

When long-time friends distance themselves from you, you have have reason to feel hurt. Apart from a decade of shared memories, this friend was part of your daily routine with morning meetups and phone calls.

You’ve made several attempts to understand what happened and to apologize, and this hasn’t resolved the problem. Your friend has told you more than once that she needs space, which might or might not have to do with you, per se. She may be struggling with other issues that are too embarrassing or uncomfortable to share with you at this time. 

Unless your mutual friend isn’t telling you the truth, he seems to be in a similar situation as you, not understanding why your bestie has cut both of you off. 

You are correct in assuming that you each need to deal with your bestie separately. Although you are a group of mutual friends, you each have different relationships with each other.

When someone asks for distance after you’ve given them an apology, there is really nothing more that you can do but give that person space. Let your friend know that you care about your relationship and will be there for her when she feels comfortable talking again. Resist the temptation to blame your friend for the lapse; she is probably doing the best she can.

When you are perplexed why friends distance themselves, it usually suggests that there is some information you don’t know.

Try to engage with other people and get involved in other activities you enjoy to distract yourself from this loss.

I’m so sorry that his happened to you and hope it gets resolved.

Best, Irene

Category: Apologies and forgiveness

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