Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.

Irene S Levine Ph.D.

The Friendship Doctor

Struggling With a Downgraded Friendship

A new boyfriend comes along and her friendship is downgraded.

Posted Feb 13, 2016

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

The last couple of years have been a tough period in my life and I was expecting my best friend to be next to me and support me when needed. Since the day she got involved in a relationship, I'm not part of her life anymore. I completely understand her partner has priority but I never thought she would shut me off completely.

I was trying to get her attention by calling her everyday to ask if she would like to go out altogether but she was all about excuses. One of her problems with me was that my parents couldn't afford to buy me a car and every time we were going out she used to take me and bring me home since my house is right opposite hers.

All of a sudden and after a conversation she had with her boyfriend, she didn't like the fact that because of me she couldn't find the time to go to her partner's house (they are together all day long). She stopped calling me or asking me if I want to go out with the rest of our friends, and she never cared to call me if there was an available car to go and find them.

Her boyfriend is an adorable person I don't have anything against him. It’s just that she doesn't even care about me anymore. I'm the least important person compared to the others. And we have known each other since I was four years old and she was two. As a friend, I was next to her and her family when she lost her dad as I see them as my family.

After a rejection I had, I started having a depression and I'm a person that prefers to keep everything inside me and find a solution on my own because I don't want the others to feel badly about me. I don't feel the same about her anymore and when something happens in my life I don't feel like I want to share it with her. From her side everything is normal.

For me though, is this it? Is this the end of our friendship? I hope to hear from you soon. I will appreciate your advice.

Signed, Charlotte

ANSWER

Dear Charlotte,

Your friend probably had much more time and interest in your friendship before she got involved with her partner. It’s understandable, especially when a romantic relationship is new.

It also sounds like you are pretty high maintenance, depending on your friend for transportation and as major emotional support through all your ups and downs. Calling her every day may have had the unintended effect of driving more of a wedge between you.

You need to respect your friend’s need for some distance, respect the boundaries she sets, and start becoming less dependent on her. Since you have such a long history together, I don’t think this will be the end of your friendship unless you drive her away by being too needy. If you are truly depressed, I hope you have a therapist to support you in making this transition.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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