Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.

Irene S Levine Ph.D.

The Friendship Doctor

What Can You Do When a Friendship Abruptly Ends?

There are no easy answers for dealing with the abrupt end to a friendship.

Posted Nov 29, 2014

QUESTION

Hi,

My best friend abruptly stopped responding to my messages one day even though when we had hung out the night before and had made plans for the next day.

She has mental issues and has phoned me when she was suicidal on an occasion; she has had a rough past. We connected on a lot of things and I had come to rely upon her. I never thought she'd leave.

After messaging her all day she finally replied and we ended up on the phone. She says it's just what she does; she has a friend for a while and then cuts them off before they can do it to her, and that things go best when she is on her own.

We've been best friends for over a year and shared so much. I care about her but she said she would never contact me again---that she needed a fresh start.

Signed, Carla

ANSWER

Hi Carla,

When a friendship abruptly ends, it can leave you reeling—wondering what happened, what you might have done to to precipitate the cut-off. You also feel a big void because you presumably spent a great deal of your spare time together.

In your case, you are lucky that your friend explained that her decision had more to do with her than it does with you. (By the way, it may or may not have anything to do with her mental illness.) You might think about whether there were any signs that you missed suggesting that your friend was pulling back. Perhaps, it wasn't as abrupt as it seems.

Friendship has to involve two people so if your friend is adamant about ending this relationship, there is little you can do to salvage it. The only suggestion I can make is that you might want to give her some time and space apart, and contact her again in several weeks to see if she has changed her mind. In the meantime, try to keep busy doing things you like to do.

My heart goes out to you.

Best, Irene

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