I have known my friend for only 1.5 years but we connected very well from the beginning and I would now call her my best friend. I've known her from college, she still lives in the same area though I moved away after graduating in May. We keep in touch regularly, over text and periodic catch-up calls. I visited her for her birthday last month and since that we have been talking about once a week.

However, last week she cancelled the call because she said she had to be there for a friend who has been broken up with. She rescheduled it for the next day but when I reconfirmed the next afternoon if she is still good to talk, she said she cannot as she was with the friend.

We are in touch over text but have not set a new time to talk. Today she said that she is emotionally drained; clearly her friend is taking a lot of her energy.

Why I am really worried is that I fear that she will disappear for a certain amount of time. Last year she was under depression for about a couple of months. During this time, she cancelled a call we scheduled and did not express any interest in talking for 2 months, and eventually stopped replying to texts until she reached out and came back in touch.

I am really worried that will happen again. How can I respect her space and time to herself as she deals with this while supporting her and encouraging her to keep in touch and communicate - over text until she is ready to talk?

She is my best friend and I really value her and it's just tough when I want to help and support but cannot find a way to do so if there is limited communication.

Thanks for any suggestions!

2 Answers 2


I have a friend who has a difficult family situation that causes her to sometimes go into the 'emotionally drained' state; what I do is regularly remind her that I care about her without requiring/expecting her to respond.

Once in a while (about once a week or so), I send a message like, "Thinking of you, I hope things are going well." Sometimes I ask her to "Let me know when you are in the mood for a chat." Sometimes I send pictures or memes of things I know she likes or make me think of her. Not overdoing it is key, as a constant stream of phone alerts is often counterproductive to recovering from being overwhelmed emotionally.

When people have expressed a need for space due to situation that doesn't really involve you, there's not much you can do but give to them, with occasional but not too many reminders that you still care and are still there for them.

If things are really bad for her and it's something you want to do, and consistent with the kind of relationship you have, sending a 'glad we're friends' or funny card or a small care package of things she would enjoy, nothing too elaborate or expensive, can be a nice gesture for someone who is under a lot of stress.

  • I don't think she minds me texting her (at a reasonable frequency, of course). After last year's episode, I asked her how my attempts to reach out were received and she said that I was doing the right things. But now I want to let her know that I really appreciate her staying in touch when she's not in the best place emotionally. Do you think this is something I can mention explicitly in a text?
    – anshjain97
    Feb 18, 2020 at 22:01
  • You can definitely ask her to stay in touch, but pushing about it too much will probably just upset her.
    – Meg
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:55

I am concerned that you are worried more about your own ability to remain in contact with her, than with her desire to stay in contact with you. You say:

it's just tough when I want to help and support but cannot find a way to do so if there is limited communication.

In your comment, you add:

I want to let her know that I really appreciate her staying in touch when she's not in the best place emotionally.

Since she is the best friend you have, it is natural to be concerned about losing contact. I would be concerned, too, because I need to know my friends are there for me when I need them. Fortunately, I have more than one very good friend, and I would hope you can find someone else, too.

That she is your best friend does not mean that you are her best friend. In fact, when she was out of contact last year due to being emotionally exhausted, most likely she had someone nearby that she leaned on but never told you about. Also, she told you that you were "doing all the right things" (stated in your comment), because what else was she supposed to say? You want contact so badly, she basically had to be polite and tell you it was all right.

To figure out how she really feels, the two of your should get together when both of you are feeling rested and relaxed and discuss it face to face. Depending how I'm feeling, it feels intrusive getting emails and stuff from friends, no matter how well they mean it or how much I enjoy them as people. I like Meg's idea of sending little greetings with no strings attached to let her know you're there but not expecting anything--not even a response.

Knowing that the other person wants a response of some kind evokes guilt when one can't respond (causing even more emotional drain), and burns reserve energy when one does respond but barely has the energy to do so. Knowing all of this is what concerns when someone is so adamant to get a response no matter how drained she feels. The best support is, at times, to keep one's distance so the person has breathing space. Some of us need privacy to recuperate.

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