What to do when a friend suddenly stops contacting you

prettyndsweet12 asks: My friend recently moved and I really miss her. She’s like a second mom to me. The only contact that I have with her now is through social network chatting. But I haven’t heard from her in the past three days, and I’m worried and sad because I really want her to text me back. What should I do?

Hi prettyndsweet12 –

Your question “rang a bell” in my mind, and I was sure I’d answered one like it recently.  Imagine my surprise when I found that I had – and it was to you!  So I know we’ve already talked about missing your friend.   I’m guessing that the really tough issue is what to do when you don’t hear from her.

Well, my friend, I relate!  Every day, Handsome leaves me locked up in our yard, and I have no way of knowing anything that’s happening with him.  Maybe he comes home at the time I imagine he will (around when the sun goes down), maybe he shows up hours earlier, and maybe he doesn’t show up till the next day!  Even if he’s told me when he’ll be there, I usually don’t quite understand what he’s saying, so I simply don’t know.

What’s worse is that I don’t know if he’s okay!  He might be late because he’s off visiting someone he wanted to see, and he’s arranged for a friend to come by and feed me – or he might be late because he was hurt or in an accident and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to help him (or myself) until someone lets me know.

It is a terrifying feeling, and one that I go through all the time.

So what must it be for you, when your best friend doesn’t respond to you for days?!  On one hand, you’re not in danger of starving to death because you’re locked in somewhere.  And you know that most likely her not writing for a few days doesn’t mean something awful.  But on the other hand, you don’t know.  And that is a truly awful way to be.

So, in the short term, there might not be much you can do.  Hopefully, you’ve already heard back from her, but if not, you might just have to wait.

But once you do hear from her, this is a good time to set up a system for you two, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  The easiest thing is to give each other a couple of email addresses you could write to if you get worried.  Maybe each other’s parents.  “Hi, Mrs. sweet12, I haven’t heard back from prettynd in a few days, and am worried.  Can you tell me if prettynd is okay?”  Or maybe you could get each other’s phone numbers, again only to call in case of a worry like this, not for talking every day (which might get too expensive).

And then, of course, you could also try to make sure to let each other know if anything is coming up.  “Hey, my school’s taking a 2-day field trip, so you might not hear back from me till Monday.  Have a great weekend!  Miss you!”  Something like that.

But it’s always possible that a situation could arise where none of these methods work.  Let’s say your friend got a bad illness, and went to the hospital.  Most likely her parents wouldn’t be putting a lot of effort into responding to emails or phone calls, so you might be stuck like me, just worrying and hoping that the worst you are imagining isn’t coming true.

And as awful as that is, there is one good thing about having that experience, of feeling that feeling.  The next time you think your parents are overbearing and crazy, because they’re yelling at you about what time to be home and how you can only go out with certain people and can’t go to this part of town and blah blah blah…?  Well, now you know why they’re that way.  Because the way you’re worrying about your friend is the way they worry ALL THE TIME about you.

So you still have the right to ask them to give you more freedom… but at least you’ll understand why they’re the way they are, and how much love it shows.

(But that’s the only good thing about that feeling.  Other than that, it stinks like a week-old litter box!)


Good Luck, I hope all’s okay,


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