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I have a close female friend who I've known for a few years. We've been through thick and thin together, and have always been able to be open and honest in many different situations. For example, she has come to me to share her personal problems (family, relationships, etc.) whenever she needs advice, or for someone to just listen and hold space. We've butted heads a handful of times and have always been able to talk it out and move forward. For the record, she happens to be the same person I wrote about a year ago in this post, if that helps frame the connection we have built.

For the past month, she's been very distant. On one occasion, a mutual friend and I tried to make plans to hang out, to which she initially agreed to. She then disappeared and made no contact for a week before simply responding that she didn't feel like meeting up. At this point, I was more concerned about her wellbeing, since this is unusual behavior for her. The only other time I can remember her doing something like this was when I upset her a couple years back.

Another week passes by, and I had plans to have dinner with some of my other friends. The restaurant was nearby where she lived, so I decided to stop by beforehand and see how she was doing. We chatted for a few minutes, and she mentioned that she's been a lot busier at work lately. She also mentioned that she'll "get around to responding to messages", and when I asked her if I did anything to upset her, she said that wasn't the case. From what I got in the conversation, I was happy to see that she was hanging in there and wasn't terminally ill or anything crazy like that, and that she appreciated the friendly gesture.

Shortly after that, I was out of town for couple weeks for work. At one point during that time she messaged me and asked if I'd play some video games with her, but I couldn't since I was quite busy myself. Following that "vacation", I returned home and asked her if she'd care to meet up over some food and drinks sometime. That was over a week ago now, and she hasn't even read my message. It's clear that she is actively ignoring my messages, even though I've seen her active on other social media (we even view each other's "stories").

While I understand that life can have its way on us, I don't understand how one can be active on social media, but not have a minute to respond and say, "Sorry, I've been busy" or some other form of acknowledgement. This is the first time she's been strangely distant, but it's a reminder to me of how I feel like our friendship is uneven. I've always tried my best to be there, whether she needs someone to talk to or if she simply just wants someone to share a drink with. Being abruptly cut out of someone's life makes me feel used and not truly valued as a friend.

I've accepted the fact that for whatever reason, she does not want to talk at this time. My question then, is how can I communicate with her that I don't appreciate the overall state of our friendship, while not making it all about me? I respect her need for personal space, and I would like to frame such a meaningful conversation in a way that makes the focus on our friendship, not just me or her. I would also prefer to talk about it in person, so I would hope that she'd agree to meet up at some point.

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    Have you only communicated with her over text these last few times? Or have you called her as well? – Robin Oct 17 at 6:41
  • @Robin Only through text. Most of my friends and I typically don't call each other to communicate, unless it's important. While this is certainly important to me, it may not be to her, and so I feel reluctant to do that. – user13232774 Oct 17 at 20:37
  • The reason I ask is because if I am having trouble with getting a date set to meet with a friend, for whatever reason, I usually just end up calling them. This puts you both on the spot and often ends up in the both of you deciding on a date to meet up. Calling is more direct and pressing than texts and IM's and such. So I would try that perhaps. – Robin Oct 18 at 5:57
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I have thought a bit about your issue and the hardest part will be making the conversation about the friendship of you both, and not focus on your issues with how it currently is. I think this might work, but I also think that a discussion like this could easily slide to becoming about one side more over the other, be it hers or yours.

First

I suggest you call her, as I said in my comment calling is more direct and pressing than text messages and such. This will put her on the spot and most people, in my experience, will set a date with you. Of course, they could use the excuse of not having their agenda with them but many people these days use their phone for that purpose. If she is still hesitant/ uncooperative with setting a date to meet up tell her that you want to meet to talk about some stuff. This will set the tone of the meet up from the beginning though, so I don't think this is favourable.

The talk

Once you do begin talking about the issue, tell her that you are worried about your current relationship, how it is going and the way it is headed. Say that you have noticed you two talk less, meeting up has become harder and you feel as if overall, the friendship is deteriorating instead of growing. Depending on how she is, choose your words of course. To some people deteriorating would sound good, to others it would sound alarming.

Say this all worries you and that you value your friendship and want to work on making it better, but that all this also frustrates you and hurts you in a way. (Being honest and talking about things that frustrate you is healthy and recommended in any kind of relationship. Friendship or love.) And then see how she reacts.

Some personal experiences

I recently made a new friend and she acts a lot like your friend does. I dug a bit around with some mutual friends that have been friends with her for a longer time and they have told me she has been like this for a while, although it is getting worse. She is feeling depressed at times and during those moments isolates herself. Any excuse will do for this and this can come the day of the meetup itself even.

This is very frustrating to deal with as a friend, especially if said friend also does not want to talk about what is bothering them. But it is possible that your friend is feeling depressed lately. Perhaps combined with work related stress. It might be that this will be a temporal thing and she has decided to not burden her friends with talking about it. It is also possible that by talking to her about your concerns and frustrations that she will open up to you about this. This might be a can of worms you might or might not want to open or have a say in. So think about that as well.

Lastly, a tip/ something to remember. I have had issues with remembering this in the past as well and think you might do as well.

The mental well being of your friend and the health of their social life is not your concern, burden or responsibility. You should try to be a good friend, but it is not up to you to make sure hers is in order. This will exhaust you and at times might not even be wanted attention and help either.

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