Freckled & Helpful: My Friend Is Blowing Me Off

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Welcome to another edition of Freckled & Helpful! Thank you so much for all your support as I start this new endeavor for my blog. Keep those questions coming! If you are inspired to ask a question after reading this entry, please leave a comment or email me at freckledandjoyful.blog@gmail.com. Whether you choose to be anonymous in our correspondence or not, know that this is strictly confidential and no one will ever know who the actual sender was (unless you blab in the comments!). Okay, enough formalities, lets get down to it:

A close friend decided to become my roommate recently, and at the last minute backed out. I understand her reasons for not being able to honor her commitment, and I do not hold any animosity to the fact that we won’t be living together. We did, however, have a disagreement about how she informed me of her decision. She never directly said that she would not be moving in; I had to extract the information from her. Later that night I sent her a message describing how I did not feel that she was supportive of my needs in our friendship by not having an open and honest conversation with me about her decision. In fact, it now has me questioning whether or not she wanted to move in at all! I would love to have a conversation with her about this but she has not made any effort in responding to my message. I want to believe we have a strong and lasting friendship, but this makes me reconsider. Should I try to contact her again, or just let the relationship fizzle out?

Sincerely,

Broken-hearted Friend

Ugh, friendship problems are the WORST. Combining two worlds–friendship and co-habitation–can be super tricky. I’m really sorry your friend didn’t feel like she could be upfront with you–that definitely had to hurt. When you feel like someone is a good friend, and they pull the rug out from underneath you like this, I can understand how it could make you feel like it wasn’t a strong and lasting friendship. However, not everyone can handle conflict directly. For a lot of people, it is much easier to run from a problem than face it head on–some people can repress their feelings and comments about a situation for days, weeks, months, years, etc. It sounds like to me that your friend wants to avoid a super painful conversation–admitting her own faults and maybe pointing out a couple of yours–and they don’t want to do that. It’s much easier to ignore you.

But that doesn’t give YOU any kind of closure. If this was a good, stable friendship and this is your first bump in the road, I think trying to reach out to your friend again is totally acceptable. However, it shouldn’t be a letter or a message this time–you can simply invite them to get coffee, or something you two enjoy doing together (but where you can talk). Before you meet, really think about what you want to accomplish in your conversation–mentally practice using only “I” statements, so that she doesn’t feel like you’re attacking her. Once you’re face-to-face, you’ll be able to gauge her reactions–body language can speak thousands of words if your friend is not one to come outright with their emotions. If you had to extract from her that she wasn’t even moving in, she may be reluctant to talk about things. Know that if you push the subject too hard, she may get frustrated and close-up completely, so try not to be on the defensive. You could lead into a conversation about how you feel about the situation gently, with something like “Hey, so did you get that message I sent you last week?” If she says she did, you can say that you just wanted to talk a little more about it in person. Social media and text messaging leave a lot out of conversations that people need to discuss–people that want to save a relationship, anyway. If your friend says she doesn’t want to talk about it, then telling her that continuing the friendship for you means being honest and clear communication can express to her how serious a situation this is to you. If she isn’t willing to have the conversation, well, I’m afraid you have your answer about whether or not the friendship should fizzle out. Try not to get angry, try to keep your cool–remember she’s the one that left you high & dry, and she should be the one trying to make things better! But recognize when someone isn’t willing to be in the effort for your friendship and your happiness, aka, know when to end the conversation, pay the bill, and walk away.

If your friend doesn’t respond to an invitation to seeing you, that gives you an answer as well. Some people need some time to be alone and clear their head–if that’s how you’ve seen her handle other relationship issues before, maybe give her some time before you invite her to meet. If she doesn’t respond at all when you do send the invite, unfortunately, sometimes you have to let some relationships end–no matter how painful that may seem. Try really hard to not constantly contact your friend for affirmation of the friendship–if she doesn’t respond to the initial invitation, she’s not worth the effort. Friendship break-ups are super heart-wrenching, but I hope that’s not the case.

Ultimately, you need to do some soul searching within yourself. Is the friendship worth saving? If your answer is a clear yes, reach out, and don’t be afraid to be honest with your friend. If your answer is hazy, maybe give yourself (and your friend) some time to cool off. 

It sounds cliche, but people do come in and out of our lives for a reason. Even if the friendship doesn’t work out, try really hard to focus on the positive things about the person–that way, if she comes around and decides she does want to talk about things, even if it’s a considerable amount of time later, you’ll be emotionally prepared and maybe willing to give the friendship another try. In the meantime, focus on finding a new roomie that will commit!

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