The Friendship Doctor

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

A Teen Asks: How Can I Get My Friendship Back?

Friendships and allegiances often shift often during adolescence

QUESTION

Hi Irene

I'm 14 years old and had an argument with my best friend this afternoon and I can't help but cry! Because it's so hurtful.

We had been best friends forever until one day she switched to an International school. We remained best friends still. And a few months later, I switched to that school as well and I found out that she's really close with one of our friends. They will walk together every day and leave me behind.

I tried to talk to my best friend about it but she ignored me and told me it's no big deal.I still go to her house for sleepovers and stuffs. But not so often. That other friend is getting closer and closer to her.

The day before yesterday was my birthday. I had been waiting for her to send me a birthday wish but she didn't. I told myself she's busy. Yesterday, she invited that friend over to play and sent me a belated birthday wish.

Actually I was mad that she didn't invite me over because we were planning that I should go over the day before my birthday and sleep over but she ended up telling me that her mom will be busy for a few weeks. But why is she able to invite other people over on the day before my birthday? And obviously she forgot my birthday. She made up an excuse that in other countries it is still 25th of July when she wished me. We used to text each other a lot. But now, she always ignores my messages.

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Today, she is mad that I wrote on my blog that she didn't wish me happy birthday and I explained to her that I meant on the actual date. But she was mad and said, "She doesn't care anymore." I told her that we have to solve our friendship problems but she texted back "I don't care anymore". Which means that we're over.

I felt so bad. Is there any ways to give me my friendship back? I didn't do anything wrong!! :( We had great memories. 

Signed,

Suzy

 

ANSWER

Hi Suzy,

It always hurts to be dumped by a friend, especially right before your birthday. But when young people your age switch schools or neighborhoods, it's common that they often switch friends, too. Perhaps, your friend has changed and feels more comfortable with different kids than she did in the past. Maybe she wants to hang out with friends who she thinks are more popular or cool than she is, or something else like that. 

Understanding this doesn't excuse her rudeness. She shouldn't have made up lame excuses and excluded you from her new friendships. You could try calling or texting her to see if she wants to get together in-person to talk about why she's grown distant. My guess is that this probably would be difficult, if not impossible, for her to do. 

Focus your energies on making some new friends. Because you and your once-BFF are school chums and have some of the same friends, don't make your breakup obvious when you're in public; act politely in mixed company. 

This breakup is probably more about her than it is about you and you deserve a better friendship than this one! But don't be surprised: Friendships and allegiances so often shift during the teen years that she may reach out to you some time in the future. 

I know you will feel better soon. It might be helpful to talk to your mom about this. I'm sure she's had experiences like this, too.

My best,

Irene

 

Other posts on The Friendship Blog about teen friendships:

 

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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