This is very repetitive. We are very close friends, probably the only close friends of each other. But still, this happens again and again. For example, last time I was traveling, my close friend did not contact me at all to ask how my travel, etc is going on. Then when my return transport got delayed, he finally messaged "are you still alive?". That was definitely not nice and I did not like it. So I got a little bit upset and did not talk to him when I got back. He also then did not talk to me for 1-2 days, until finally, we resumed to normal terms.

This is just one episode among many repeating ones. Every time we get into the no-talking phase, I feel that we are never gonna resume and I get scary thoughts that this would be the end of our friendship. But I guess luckily our friendship has survived through such phases. But I would definitely like to know how to stop such phases. I would really appreciate helpful suggestions.

So far, I haven't talked to my friend about it because mentioning this would bring back the not-so-great memories and probably make us too self-conscious. I would like to know a subtle way to handle this issue.

  • What do you usually do to stop these phases? Are you asking about preventing them from happening, or stopping them when they happen? What would a "handled" situation look like to you? At this point, besides talking, what options do you think you have for interacting with them, what kind of interaction do you want to have then?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Oct 21, 2021 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


Dit you contact them to say how your travel was going? Is there a reason why you are waiting for them to initiate contact? Maybe they are just waiting for you to start chatting first because they don't want to bother you on your holidays. Especially the way they formulated their first contact after your travels sounds to me like they are trying to jokingly point out that they have not heard from you in such a long time. I personally don't see it as not nice and would most likely send you a similar message.

The only way to resolve such a difference in expectations is to talk about it. I understand that being open about your feelings is scary but you seem to only look on the possible downside of it. Sure it might make things awkward a bit, but those silent phases seem to bother you even more in the long run.

You seem to have no difficulty in guessing what a bad outcome for your actions (in this case bringing up silent phases) would be, but have you also tried to immagine the best possible outcome? In this case that could be that you and your friend chat even more and you also hear a lot more about their little acccomplishments that they neglect telling you because they don't feel important enough. You might be missing out on an even better friendship right?

When they do something wrong in your eyes, like writing "are you still alive?", have you ever told them you considered that to be "not nice"? You ignoring them seems to not really have the effect you want it to have so perhaps you should look into different ways of resolving such misunderstandings. The only way they can learn how you would like to be aproached in such a time is when you actually tell them.

As you can tell by now from this answer there are a lot of questions for you rather than just a solution to your problem. Most of these I don't expect you to aswer but just think about for yourself. Hopefully I have also given you the required clues on what you might need to change in your own behaviour which will in turn greatly improve your friendship. Without specific examples of problematic situations and without knowing your friend I'm afraid that's about as much as I can give you here.


It sounds like your main issue is the fact that you and your friend stop talking to each other periodically. From your example, it sounds like you initiate the non-talking when you are not sure how to deal with a situation (as in the case where you thought your friend's comment was not nice). This comes under the category of "assertiveness," which is the art of speaking up without sounding aggressive. So a short answer would be that you need to learn more assertiveness skills.

Specifically, when your friend said, "Are you still alive?", you could have responded by pointing out that his question hurt your feelings and didn't sound friendly to you, and ask him if he was upset about something you did. If he is also able to be assertive, he may have responded that it bothered him that you didn't write while you were away. As you can see, responding assertively opens your relationship up to possible disagreements. If either one of you is unable to tolerate disagreements, then taking a break from talking might be a good idea, temporarily. In the long run, learning how to communicate better will help you not only with your friend, but in forming new relationships in the future.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.