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Growing up in a small town, I had one friend throughout my school years - we shared interests outside of the norm as well as certain difficult aspects of our family life, and even after we parted ways for further education (her going to a different country, across water) we somewhat kept in touch. That is to say, we didn't exchange messages much at all, but any time she was home (summer holidays and over Christmas most notably) we would meet and catch up.

During this time, a year after we finished school, she told me that she was diagnosed with a condition. To my knowledge, it is mostly incurable but is treatable, and can cause depression and low energy. I can't say for sure if this actually has any importance but I feel it might.

Cut to 3 years after school - I graduated, and my friend was repeating her third year of university, with two still to go. My final year of university really took it out of me, having struggled with social anxiety and depression, which to this day are still an issue for me. I happened upon a job opportunity that would involve me relocating to the city my friend was studying in. I swiftly let her know it was an opportunity via text, and she seemed as enthusiastic as I was.

The weekend I moved, we met up. Regrettably, I arrived an hour late to our rendezvous, and I worry that rubbed her the wrong way; additionally, I think the meeting ended on something of a sad note. I may be remembering it worse than it is, but I definitely came away from the meeting feeling quite morose.

We haven't met since then, which is nearly a year ago now. Depression hit once again, and only exacerbated my inability to initiate conversations. As such, the messages we exchanged were extremely sparse - maybe one "How are you doing?" a month, which either went ignored on her end, or led to a few basic texts catching up, maybe once a season.

This didn't strike me as an issue until recently, when she indicated she'd like to meet up at the end of August in a text at the end of June. When the end of August came, I texted with another "How's it going?" and got no reply. Around a week later (a week ago now, start of September) I followed up saying that I hoped she was okay and that I'd love to meet up with her when she was free, and again heard nothing.

In general, I've not been very popular, or good at making friends, so I treasure the ones I do have - I may just not be very good at showing it, due to my insecurities. She's one of the few genuine friends I've ever connected with, that felt more than just a "friendship of convenience" as I've become accustomed to.

Is there anything more I can say/do to try to re-engage her? Or is this her way of cutting herself off from me, having found better friends? It's the living in limbo that's really hurting me - if I knew I could process and start to recover, but for now I'm clueless and hopeful. I've been considering actually calling her instead to more proactively engage her, but it's out of the ordinary for me, and I'd worry that it'd be rude to do it without warning like that.

Sorry for the wall of text, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible! Am new here as well, so if I've done anything wrong, please let me know.

TL;DR - With depression as a possible factor on both sides, and after having texted occasionally with little response, how do I proactively rekindle a waning friendship?

  • @cheshire We've never really chatted on the phone, maybe once or twice very early on in our uni days. I've been considering calling but I worry if it might be a little unwelcome without any warning/asking first, especially as she'll have just started another year at uni. – SnowInSpringtime Sep 11 '18 at 18:57
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Having lived through some periods of depression myself I can tell you the reason for her not reaching out might not be that she doesn't want to be in contact with you. When I was going through it my mom had to send someone to my dorm to physically check if I was alive(on multiple occasions) because I wouldn't pickup my phone or respond to messages or go to classes at all. You can imagine how low of a priority was reaching out to people at that point.

I can tell you it is a deep hole to climb out of on your own and in times like that it is the close friends that wouldn't take "No" for an answer and didn't care that they were pushy that helped me out the most.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that you should go to her house and drag her out and force her to talk about what is going on. Though that was very useful for me when my friend did that it is definitely not something that would work for everyone and might cause more harm than good in most of the cases.

What I would do in your shoes is try to initiate contact again but put more focus on yourself than on her. I would tell her that you miss the times you used to talk to each other and you are going through some things and would really like to talk to her about them in person. If she still cares about you and your friendship she might be willing to accept. When you open up to her, she might be inclined to open up to you as well. It is generally easier to talk about other people's problems than your own, depression or not. If she doesn't want to maybe the other people that have answered are right and you just drifted apart a lot.

I just wanted to share my story and explain that not responding might not be so strange if the person is struggling with depression and shouldn't discourage you that much. You should be very careful though.

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As hard as this might be to read, I don't believe she is interested in being your friend because she would be reaching out to you and engaging with you if she was. The best thing you can do is to let her go. Wait for her to come to you and accept that she might not do so. It appears she has been, at most, polite towards you on the whole. The last thing you want is to appear pushy. That might build resentment.

I've seen many times people who have been my closest friends come and go. One was a work colleague I spoke with most days about all sorts. We met up regularly for lunch, helped each other with our personal issues, laughed and cried together. But I left that firm to work elsewhere and we soon lost touch, she responded less often to messages and the promises she made to catch up went unresolved. Which sadly is part of life. She will have her reasons but I don't need to waste my energy worrying about that. She knows where I am if she needs me.

Please try doing the same and let her go. Sorry. It's horrible but you need the energy for you.

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    Hi Matthew, this answer would be much more helpful to OP and other readers if you explained the reasoning behind it - why do you think she isn't interested in being friends anymore? What are the signs and experiences that lead you to recommend that OP doesn't even try to reconnect? – Em C Sep 12 '18 at 16:19
  • Hi Em C thanks for the feedback I've tried to address that in my edit. – Matthew E Cornish Sep 12 '18 at 16:48
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Tell her what you're feeling. Via text or email because it's less intrusive and allows her to to choose whether to respond or not. Start with:

I'm not very good at making friends, but I treasure the ones I do have - I may just not be very good at showing it. You are one of the few genuine friends I've ever connected with. So I'd like to know if there's anything I can do to keep you as a friend. If you tell me 'No' or if I don't hear from you then I'll know that it's a lost cause. I hope all's well with you and I wish you the best.

If you get no answer or a vague answer about getting together "sometime" or a flat "no", then give up and move on. All these are ways that some people say "No."

  • I agree with the part about using text or email, but I'm afraid I don't see why that statement in block quotes would be inappropriate coming from a man. I've never known anyone with a credible fear that a man would become dangerous if given "no" for an answer, and no one is in danger if it's said over text or email anyway. Also, not everyone is a man or a women :) – cat40 Sep 13 '18 at 1:04

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