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I’m Hear

Dear Liv,
I need to know if I’m overreacting or if this happens to other people as well. I have a friend, who I consider a best friend, who seems to be too busy to talk to me, except for when SHE has the time to talk or has something she wants to talk to me about. I call her because I like talking to her. I like laughing with her and sharing our lives. But over the years I’ve found that when I call her or even text her, she often doesn’t contact me until days later, or sometimes doesn’t respond at all. I know that we’re all busy. I’m busy too. But it just feels like she doesn’t consider me a priority in her life anymore. She seems to know my number when she’s having relationship or family issues, but the phone calls to see how I’m doing, or what’s new, or if we can get together are becoming few and far in between. I really love my friend, but I’m kind of getting sick of this. When she does call me, I feel a bit torn. I’m happy that she called because I missed her, but I also feel used. I was just wondering if you’ve ever had anyone else ever bring this up, and if so, what should I do?
Angela

Dear Angela,
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve heard this. In fact, it’s even happened to me. I think there are several things to consider here, and you have to decide what works best for you.

I, like everyone else in the world, have a very busy schedule. There have been times when I haven’t been able to respond to a friend immediately, however, I make every effort to get back to them as soon as possible, as I consider it to be very important to let that person know that I care about them, and that I want them involved in my life. Everyone doesn’t do that.

I’ve found over the years, if someone doesn’t try to get in contact with me in a reasonable amount of time, there are usually one of a couple of things going on.

  • The person could be very involved in an important issue in their life, and they simply don’t have time to talk with anyone outside of those involved in the issue.
  • The person could simply be too busy with work and family to talk to anyone.
  • The person could be depressed and doesn’t want to speak to anyone about what’s going on in their life.
  • The person could have met new friends, and has less desire to speak with old friends.
  • The person could be ill.
  • The person could be upset with you.
  • The person could be self-involved, and only thinks of him or herself.

You can try to guess what might be going on with your friend, you can give her some space and see what happens, or you may want to ask her about her “distancing behavior” directly. Another approach may be to stop calling her for a while. I know she’s your friend, but if she isn’t reaching out to you (unless she wants something from you), you may want to stop focusing on her, and start focusing more on yourself. Do things that make you feel good or keep you busy. Try some of these.

  • Step up your exercise program.
  • Become more involved at work.
  • Plan a vacation with your family.
  • Create new friendships.
  • Remodel/paint a room in your home. A newly painted wall can bring new life to your home, and will inspire other positive changes.
  • Pick up a hobby.

Everyone’s life is different! We all have priorities and obligations. What may be important to you may not be to someone else. Friendships change over time too. We grow. We might find a love interest; we might have children, buy a home, or get a pet. On the other hand, we might get a divorce or lose our loved one to cancer. Our children grow and move away, and the job we’ve done successfully for 20 years, is now no longer a position – and we’re forced to be out looking for a new one!

It’s sad when a friend doesn’t respond to us the way they have in the past. I think initially we feel rejected. However, if there isn’t any bad blood between you (which you should clear up), just get busy with your own life. Don’t worry about what’s going on with this friend. Seek out other ways to enjoy life. Who knows what’s waiting around the corner for you? Change is difficult for most, but it often bears gifts you couldn’t have even imagined. Be sure to keep your eyes open…as you won’t want to miss a thing!

Live and Learn

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