How to salvage a broken friendship

megane2 asks: My best friend and I both had to move to different cities because of our parents’ work. Some complications and misunderstandings happened to us and her family does not like me and does not want us to talk or see each other again. It’s really hard. Sometimes I do talk to her online though when I get the chance, but otherwise we barely speak. I can’t call her because her family has caller ID. She is my best friend and like my sister and we’re really close, and now we’re just trying to keep in touch so we don’t lose our friendship… because friendship needs communication right? I feel like I have no one to talk to because she was the only one who understood me fully. Another thing is that I write her emails telling her what I’m up to and what’s new, and I wait for her reply, but she doesn’t care to. Sometimes I get the feeling she doesn’t want me anymore but I hurry and shake it off because she means so much to me. It really is hard. What should I do? Thanks and sorry for taking so long.

Hi megane2

This sounds really painful; but especially, it sounds Lonely!   It’s bad enough to live in a different city from your best friend, but then for her family to not like you makes it worse; and then for her to often not reply to you… that’s just awful!

So I’ve got all sorts of questions.  Like – was it just misunderstandings that turned her family against you, or was it something more; and why she isn’t replying (do they keep her from it, or is it her choice?).  So I’ll throw some thoughts at you, but please forgive me if I get some things wrong.

If it really is misunderstandings that have made her family turn against you, then it’s your job (and even more, it’s hers) to explain the truth to them.  I talk often on here about setting up a special meeting, maybe a dinner, to talk about it (as opposed to yelling something out while her mom’s brushing her teeth).   Families don’t usually turn so strongly against their kids’ friends, so what you need is to convince them that you’re better than they think.  And if they’re maybe kind of ‘right’ about their concerns (such as if you truly did some things they don’t approve of), then your job is to find a way to convince them that you’re not a danger to their daughter.

But then we move on to her actions.  Is she being kept from talking to you (which would make sense, given what you say about her family)?  If so, then again, you two just have to find a way to change their minds about you.  But if it’s the other way, if something has hurt your friendship, then I’ve got to admit: this is one of those areas that we dogs just never find ourselves in. If someone badly hurts us lots of times, then sure we’ll avoid them out of fear. But otherwise, once we like someone, we like them forever. We never decide to just not be friends. We never just stop talking. And if we ‘lose touch’ with anyone, that just means we’re not lucky enough to meet up. And then the next time we do meet up we just go crazy over them – sniffing, licking, chewing, climbing all over them… that’s how we do it, and really it’s one of the ways we’re simply smarter than people!

But you don’t need to hear me brag. You want to hear about how to somehow fix whatever went wrong with your friendship.  And the only way I know to do that is to find out what has changed about her.  Maybe she’s just moved on and has new friends that are taking more of her attention and time.  Or maybe she’s actually bothered by something.? But until you find out what it is, you (and I) are kind of helpless in this situation.

Regardless, the truth is that we all need all the real friends we can get. And we hate losing our friends, especially our best and closest ones.  So if it’s possible to improve your friendship, even if it takes a bit of work for that to happen, then I’ll bet it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay worth it!

Good Luck!


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riley - February 26, 2012 Reply

this happened to me before. What i did was ask my friend why their family doesn’t like me and changed it. If you do that then maybe they’ll say why they don’t like you, or what they are going through, and if you fix the problem then you can talk to her more.

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