GR US

Ask Stavroula: My Friend Is Avoiding Me

The National Herald Archive

Dear Stavroula,

I am a student and my best friend and I have been friends since high school. She is the person I trust the most. We talk 15 times a day on the phone and when we can’t talk, we send messages to each other. There is nothing she does not know about me or vice versa. But lately, her behavior has changed. I feel like she's distancing herself. In fact, she hangs out with a friend from school without telling me to go with them, something she never did before. When I decided to talk to her about this she told me that she is not obligated to go out only with me, we argued and she hung up the phone angrily. She has not answered any of my calls since then. Obviously, I understand that she will have other friends, but I cannot understand how she decided to cut me out of her life suddenly and without explaining why. What can I do to prevent our relationship from further deteriorating?

Eliza

Dear Eliza,

Friendship is a very important part of our lives, perhaps as important as our love affairs. Aristotle believed that friendship is a soul that dwells in two bodies, while Pythagoras defined ‘friend’ as the Other Ego.

Our friends are our chosen family, the people who help us to better understand ourselves, to endure the difficulties in our lives, to experience our joy more intensely. Our relationship with them gives us the feeling that we belong to a group where we can be understood and loved for who we are, helping us feel less alone.

The relationship with friends is a complex and sensitive relationship that requires respect, acceptance, truth, trust, and devotion.

But friendship, like any other relationship in our lives, evolves. Sometimes it becomes even stronger and other times it loses its power until it ends. And because we tend to idealize our friends, to focus on their positives and not their negatives, it is difficult to sever ties with them, when the relationship has ceased to give us joy, to be an environment in which we feel joy, love, and security.

Your friend distancing herself can be a sign that your relationship is starting to malfunction. The reasons can be many. What you can do to find out why it is happening is to have an honest conversation with her, focusing on how you feel and not what she is doing wrong. A conversation with phrases like “when we don’t communicate for a long time, I feel sad because I feel...” is much more effective than saying: “You used to call me all the time now what happened to you? Why are you writing me off like that?”

In the first case the person you’re talking to does not feel accused or threatened, so she will not enter into a defensive position that can often even take the form of an attack, and the discussion is more likely to lead to a good result or at least honest communication. This way you will be able to find out if there is anything that bothered her and discuss how you can put your friendship on a new footing.

If through this discussion you realize that your friend does not have the same attitude as you do about maintaining your relationship, you should accept it. People change, they want different things in their lives, they set other priorities, and on their way to change they need different people beside them.

True friendship always has within it the element of freedom and acceptance, as does true love. If one of the people in the relationship feels the need to take a different path, we cannot and do not want to hinder them or impose our presence on them.

This does not mean that you are to blame, or that you have necessarily done something wrong. Therefore, in case you realize that you no longer have the position you had in your friend's life, accept her will and move on without blaming yourself or trying to find out what you did wrong.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional and Life Coach, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor, and Certified Points of You practitioner.