The Friendship Doctor

Send in your friendship questions and quandaries and get expert answers and solutions

A carpool friendship: Has it reached a dead end?

Losing a job and a husband at once is tough for any woman


Dear Irene,

I met my friend on the commute to work and have known her now for 10 years. We also socialized outside of the commute. She is 17 years older than me but the age difference has never been a problem. She was terminated from her job (after 20 years) at age 62. Just before this, her ex-husband (who she did not like) died suddenly.

I reached out to her during the months after her job loss. She went into a depression and became very paranoid and weird. Finally after six months she seems to be turning her life around. However she makes no effort to email or phone me. Is there any way to get the friendship back or has it run its course?




Dear Cassie,

Losing a job and a husband at once (whether or not she liked them) is tough for any woman, especially at the age of social security eligibility. If your friend feels any embarrassment about being fired, she may have a hard time facing people she knew through her employment. It was kind, and appropriate, of you to reach out to her and she may be embarrassed that she wasn't able to respond sooner.

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Or, having been through a tremendous emotional upheaval in her life, she may simply be focused on getting back on her feet---with less time available for socializing. Write her a brief note and tell her that you're thinking of her, that you would love to get together for coffee if she has the time. If she doesn't respond, you'll know that the friendship isn't viable for now.

Hope this helps~



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Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.


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