What Do You Do When Your Friend Avoids Talking to You?

by C. Giles

Friendships can be amazing and life-affirming, which means that it can be very difficult to lose a close friend, when a relationship has soured because of problems. In many cases, however, it's possible to identify potential problems at an early stage and resolve them before they get out of hand. If you are aware that a friend is ignoring you, you may feel hurt, rejected and confused. You need to take control of the situation and do everything you can to sort things out, if you still value your friendship.

Think Objectively

According to psychologist Irene S. Levine in the article, "5 Tips for Mending a Tattered Friendship" on Psychology Today, discovering the reason for your friend's behavior is the first step toward fixing the problem. Think about what has been going on between the two of you for the past few weeks or months. Identify when you first noticed she wasn't talking to try to pinpoint the reason for her silence. Perhaps you have simply grown apart, which often happens when friends' lives take different paths. Or, maybe you said or did something that hurt her feelings, which caused her to withdraw from you. Consider all options before approaching your friend.

Make the First Move

Talking to your friend is the only way to find out why she's turned her back on you, if you can't work it out yourself. You have to be prepared to hear some uncomfortable truths. Tell your friend you value her friendship and want to discuss what has caused the rift. Face to face is normally the most effective form of communication, says psychotherapist and relationships expert Beverly Engel in the article, "How to Give a Meaningful Apology" on the UMass-Amherst Family Business Center website. Speaking to your friend in person lets her see how sincere you are.

Accept Responsibility

If you have caused the rift -- whether you were aware of it or not -- you have to be willing to acknowledge your mistake and apologize for the hurt you have caused. Back up a verbal apology with a meaningful gesture, says psychologist Irene S. Levine, in the article, "5 Tips for Mending a Tattered Friendship" on the Psychology Today. Invite your friend for dinner or send her a card with a heartfelt message. Email her a funny picture you found online and tell her you thought she would appreciate it. These are small but heartfelt ways to reach out to your friend and let her know the relationship is important to you.

Be Patient

Your friend may need time to decide whether she wants to rebuild your relationship. After you have made the initial contact and let her know how you feel, give her some space, suggests Levine. Respect her wishes and don't contact her for a few days. Send her a text or email just to let her know you're thinking of her. The ball is in her court at this stage. If she says she isn't ready to be friends again, give her some more time before trying again. If she won't change her mind after several attempts, you will have to accept her decision and move on, says Levine. You cannot force your friend to talk to you again.

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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