Ask Ala: Maintaining Friendships
By Ala Paruch
Volume 1 Issue 7
April 22, 2021
Image provided by Tiny Buddha
Q. Hey Ala,
My friend and I are growing apart. It feels like I’m the only one trying to stay friends. As much as they’re a great person, I’m tired of putting in effort and getting nothing back. We’ve been friends forever, so I can’t just drop them. What can I do?
A. Hello and thank you for asking this question.
I must admit, this is definitely something not simple or straightforward. All friendships are intricate and work with their own rules and because of that they can stop working due to specific reasons.
First of all, you should probably look back at the history of your friendship. How did everything start? Was it always a little bit one-sided? How did you really get to know each other? Has social distancing been a factor of what is happening? And most importantly, as you know yourself best, you have to analyze your own actions. Maybe you distanced yourself and now are trying to get back to the way things used to be? The other person might not want to talk to you as much because of some of your behaviors. During this time, you should also ask yourself what you want out of this friendship. Does the other person want the same? Just because you are used to something, doesn’t mean it should stay.
Afterwards, consider having a serious conversation with them. You should be straightforward and get right to the point. Express to them the problems you are experiencing and some ways you would expect them to fix it. They have to want to keep this friendship as well as you and they need to show that with their effort. To feel more prepared, it can be helpful to write out a list of examples you want to mention, and you can write out some solutions yourself. Don’t forget to include the things you need to do better as well. You should come to some sort of consensus by the end of the conversation, but be aware that life is unpredictable, so be ready to adjust your plans along the way.
If during your reflection, you come to the conclusion that this friendship it’s not exactly what you want anymore, you can try to just let the friendship go. Don’t abruptly end all contact, don’t burn any bridges, be calm and let it fall apart on its own. As hard as it may seem, not everything in life works out, and that is completely fine! You had good times together, you shared laughs and sorrows but sometimes it’s just the time to let it go. People change, times change, life changes, and you cannot keep hurting yourself or trying to force others to do something that is not going to bring you joy.
Hold on tight, everything will be alright. There are always new friends to be made.