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Do You Have To Give Up a Friendship?

You thought that she would be your best friend forever. Then, suddenly, she does not answer your calls or never seems to have time for you. What do you do?

Liz Pryor, who wrote What Did I Do Wrong? When Women Don’t Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over says that life is full of transitions. With new jobs, marriage, and kids taking up our time is not surprising that we lose track of friends along the way.

Here are a few tips on how to maintain a friendship and how to know when it is time to let go.

Call Her

If your longtime friend has moved away the two of you may have lost touch. Rather than feeling rejected or angry about her not calling you, call her. Come to the point. Tell her that you have always valued your friendship and would like it to continue. Ask if she feels the same. If she does not answer the phone or you do not have her phone number send an email. Say the same things. One of two things will happen. She will respond and the two of you will agree to stay in touch or not. If she does not respond tell yourself that you have done what you could and move on.

Look Inside Yourself

Sometimes our friendships are not as great as we would like them to be. Sometimes our friends pull away for their own good reasons. And, sometimes our friends distance themselves because the friendship was not good. The author of The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships, Susan Shapiro, says that maybe your friend is tired of hearing your complaints. When friendships get too one-sided the person who ends up being the therapist and rescuer, instead of the friend, gets worn down and pulls away to take care of themself. If this turns out to be the case think about it. If you can restart the relationship in a more balanced way try talking with your friend. Tell her that you understand what you were doing and that you would like to be friends without asking her to solve every problem in your life.

Remember That Life Can Be Complicated

Sometimes friends just get busy. If you friend has a new job, a new relationship, or a new baby she may simply not have any time to spare. It does not mean that she is angry with you. If we accept that life changes as we move on we realize that a couple of cancellations of lunch plans does not mean anything except that your friend is really pressed for time. In this case talk to your friend and make plans for something that fits her schedule instead of yours.

Celebrate What You Have In Common

When friendships move on lives diverge. One gets married and has three kids. The other takes on a new job and moves to another city. A third friend is still playing the field and simply enjoying her life. You can all still be friends by keeping in mind the things that you have in common. You may keep in touch by phone, emails, or Facebook and in each case simply sharing your life with your good friends keeps you in touch and keeps that common bond alive.

We Come To Occupy Different Places In Each Other’s Lives

If you dearest friend has stopped confiding in you, telling you her most intimate secrets it is not necessarily a sign of losing a friend. Different people occupy different places in our lives over the years. Instead of mourning the loss of such intimacy let your friendship lighten up a bit. Going shopping together, having brunch, or just sharing a conversation on the phone every so often is a good way to maintain a friendship without the heaviness of constant confidences.

Not All Friendships Last

When a friend seems to have moved on it is a good idea to ask ourselves a question or two about the friendship. Sometimes friendships are a matter of timing and proximity. We get together with friends from work, girlfriends when we were in school, or neighbors. When we move on we find new friends from work and new neighbors. If trying to save a relationship with a coworker from a previous job or someone from your old neighborhood gets too difficult think about it. Is the relationship worth saving? Are you pushing it a bit too much to try to keep in touch with everyone that you have known along the way? Sometimes it is best to put our best efforts into the friendships that really matter.




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