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About 3 years ago I moved from Canada to Ireland.

While I didn't have many friends in Canada, I have a friend that I've been very close to for over 20 years. In the first 2 years after I moved to Ireland, my friend was going on Skype with me. After the birth of my second child last year she stopped going on Skype with me.

She has still kept in touch with me through instant messaging. I'm finding it difficult to really know in detail what's going on in her life and in my hometown over fragmented instant messages and a phone call or a Skype call would be better even if it was just once every few months.

I asked her why she doesn't want to go on Skype and she just says things like, 'Oh the time zone difference is too large and I go to my other friend's house on my days off'. I understand that but I don't understand why she can't spend 20 mins on Skype once and a while.

I do know that some things are bothering her such as turning 30 without having a child and her own family moving away leaving her in our hometown etc.

I'm feeling frustrated and I fear that we could grow apart eventually if she can't put more effort in. I told her that I was planning to visit Canada next year and she did say that she was excited.

I guess I am living in a different world, a different culture and I'm losing touch with what's going on back in my hometown and it's possible that I could forget completely.

How can I bring this up with her without causing conflict?

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Manage your expectations

You claim that she's not putting in enough effort into the friendship, but that hardly seems true, because you talk on instant messenger on a weekly basis, so clearly she still wants to be friends. You, however, seem to expect the same type of closeness as you had before you moved, when you lived in the exact same town. That's an unrealistic expectation.

I understand that but I don't understand why she can't spend 20 mins on Skype once and a while.

Why? Why can't you understand that she might not be interested in skyping with you? With the time zone differences involved, when you are done for the day, finished your work, had a nice meal and decide it's time to have a Skype chat, it's like noon for her. She might be at work, or she might decide that she doesn't feel like having to lock her time just because you want to have a Skype conversation, when she feels that text messages work just as well.

I guess I am living in a different world, a different culture and I'm losing touch with what's going on back in my hometown and it's possible that I could forget completely.

This seems more like a you issue. You're treating your friend as some sort of link to your old life, and you're worried that you'll forget about your old hometown if she's not around to remind you of it, but why is it her responsibility to Skype with you because you think you'll forget your hometown?

There's no need to psychoanalyze why your friend doesn't want to Skype with you, however. They don't want to, and that's that. You can either respect that wish and remain friends with them, or turn this into some sort of make-or-break issue and risk eventually losing all contact altogether because your friend gets tired of the complaining.

Nothing in your question indicates that your friend is putting in a lack of effort, you're just expecting the same kind of friendship despite being on opposite sides of the planet, which is an unrealistic expectation.

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Your lives are definitely in very different places (literally and figuratively) so some drifting would make sense. You don't mention in your question how frequently you two instant message or the kinds of things you two speak about. In my interpretation though, the fact that she is still keeping up with instant messaging means that she doesn't want to lose you completely. If she were uninterested in maintaining the friendship, she wouldn't bother with any of it if I'm honest.

Given that you two are in such different phases in life, do you think that maybe she doesn't know how to relate to you at the moment? And perhaps a Skype call intensifies that feeling and makes it harder to ignore because she is forced to interact on a much closer level. Does this make sense when you think about the interactions you've had?

There are other factors that could possibly be contributing as well. You said that you know that some things have been bothering her, such as the fact that she hasn't had kids yet and that she's feeling isolated. The fact that you know those things and the fact that you two have been friends for over 20 years may be exactly why she isn't keen on a more personal form of communication. I know that when I am dealing with something that I am not ready to talk about, I steer clear of people who know me (and my mannerisms) very well because I know that they will know that something is wrong and then they will ask about it and I will feel forced to talk about it.

So, how do you handle it? This friendship is obviously very important to you and I truly believe that honesty is the only way to deal with this. She (for whatever reason) is not keen to Skype so I wouldn't suggest trying to handle this that way. She is comfortable with instant messaging so what about writing her a long message to explain how you are feeling without putting blame on anyone (you used the phrase "lack of effort" in your question). You could say that having moved away from her and dealing with your life in Ireland, you are worried that you are going to lose touch with her and that the thought of that makes you sad because has been and still is such an important part of your life. You could say that you have noticed that she hasn't been keen to Skype and that you're not sure why but that you'd really like to connect properly. Maybe leave it open to her to suggest how you two could do that. At the end of the day, she's your friend and you have a long history together... she will most likely value your honesty. She may not even realise that her actions have made you feel this way.

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  • We talk on instant messenger weekly and sometimes every couple of days. She does it on her own accord sometimes and sends me photos. – user1261710 Jan 3 at 10:10
  • She also stopped going on Skype when she was having extreme issues at work and she had to get a new job. That was also around the time when my son was born her work problems started. Not having a child is really bothering her. I think you could be right. – user1261710 Jan 3 at 10:12
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    I think that her feelings of isolation are probably intense right now with everything that's going on. Her family aren't close anymore, work problems and then her close friend (you) living in another country and building up a family (in contrast to her possibly feeling she's losing hers). Emotions are very complicated and not everyone is good at putting them into words to make them a little less scary. She's probably just overwhelmed. She can do the light-hearted stuff and since you say that she initiates the conversations sometimes, she obviously wants you around. – LnZ Jan 3 at 10:38

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