As much as we would love to believe they do, friendships do not last forever, and you will more than likely go through a few different friendships in your life.
You might think that your friendships are going perfectly fine, but then notice that your friend begins to act differently, and they begin to distance themselves from you. This might be gradual or it could be something that happens quite suddenly and out of the blue, but however it happens, it can be so difficult when friends distance themselves from you.
To work out if your friend is really distancing themselves from you, look at the below signs that this might be happening, and discover what you can do.
Signs Your Friends Are Distancing Themselves
Sometimes, the signs that your friends are distancing themselves from you can be subtle, but there are things to look for that show that this is a pattern and there is something to be concerned about.
These are some of the most common signs that friends are distancing themselves:
They Stop Replying To You
Most of us communicate mainly by text, and this might be the first place you notice that your friend is becoming more distant.
It does take effort from both parties to keep a friendship going, and if you notice that you are the one who is always texting first or you are continuously digging for ways to keep the conversation going, your friend is not wanting to put in the same effort and dedication to the friendship as you.
They Cancel Plans
Have you noticed that every time you try and make plans with your friends (even if they first agree to the plans) they then cancel on you later on and last minute? It is understandable that unavoidable circumstances pop up now and then and we have all had to cancel plans, but if your friend is becoming distant, they might be canceling plans all the time.
They could ask to reschedule and just never try to find a new time, or they could even stand you up. This is so unfair for you, and you deserve a friend who cares about your time.
You Make The Effort
When a friend becomes distant, you would notice that you are the only one putting in any effort. It will become really tiresome carrying the friendship on your shoulders, but they leave you no choice because if you don’t send the first text or make the first plan, you will never talk or see each other.
This is a clear sign that they are not interested in the relationship anymore.
They Are Short With You
If you miss those days when you and your friend would stay up talking for hours and hours on end, and there never seemed to be any awkward silences or moments of quiet, but now that’s all that there is, chances are they are distancing themselves from you.
When someone becomes distant, they will become short with you. They will not want to engage or keep the conversation going, so their replies to you will be short and non-inviting.
When the two of you are talking in person, they would also be short and they would look distracted and uninterested when you are talking.
They Spend Time Elsewhere
It is natural to make new friends throughout life, and both you and your friends will form new friendships independently of each other.
However, if your friend, who used to spend so much time with you, now ditches plans with you to spend time with someone else, chances are they aren’t putting your friendship first.
You do need to evaluate this situation and not jump to conclusions, as they do deserve the chance to make new friends, but if they are continuously brushing you off for this new friendship, they are trying to distance themselves from you.
They Don’t Support You
A friend who is distancing themselves from you will not offer you much support, and this could be a huge blow for you if you depended on the support of your friend.
They won’t be interested in your successes and achievements much anymore, and they won’t ask you how things are going. As they are distancing themselves, they no longer have much of an interest in your life.
What To Do When A Friend Distances Themselves
If you have picked up on the signs that your friend is distancing themselves from you, and can just feel that something has changed, here are some things that you can do.
Have The Hard Conversation
Instead of hurting yourself and assuming anything, it is best to sit down with your friend and talk to them about why things have changed.
There might be something going on in their life that you have no idea about, such as problems at home, at school, or at work, and this could be causing them to act differently, and really has nothing to do with your friendship failing.
At least talking to them gives you the chance to find this out and to support them going forward.
Sitting down to talk might also just show that your friend isn’t into the friendship anymore, and it gives you the closure you need to move on and stop pouring yourself into a relationship that is one-sided.
This is painful, but it is better to know sooner rather than later.
Hopefully your friend will be open and raw, but don’t be surprised if they make excuses. It can be hard sometimes to have a ‘friendship breakup’ and they might say things like they’ve ‘just been busy.’
Don’t jump to conclusions but obviously use your intuition.
Mourn The Loss
Mourning a loss isn’t reserved solely for when someone passes away.
When a friend distances themselves and you feel as though the friendship is done, or will never be the same again, it is perfectly acceptable to mourn the loss, and it is quite healthy to do so.
Go through all the different emotions you are feeling and let them happen. Do not try to push your sadness and hurt away. Speak to someone about how you are feeling if it becomes too much, and find some coping methods to make it through.
A good idea to move on from this is to write a goodbye letter to your friend. Put everything you are feeling in the letter and write whatever comes up.
You won’t be sending them this letter, but it is a very therapeutic exercise that will help you process your thoughts and find closure.
Take A Look Within
Take this as a chance to look within and see if you have been a good friend.
You might not have noticed that you have pushed your friend away, by being busy with work or a new relationship, and this could be partly why they have become distant.
Obviously, your friend might have become distant all on their own for their own reasons, but sometimes we can push people away without even noticing it.
Revaluate how you have been treating your friend and take note if you have changed or if you have changed how much effort you have been putting into the relationship.
It can be very difficult identifying our own toxic traits, but we all have some. If you can identify the qualities in yourself that are less than ideal, this is a great time to work on them.
You might not be able to save this friendship, but it helps you become a better friend going forward.
Accept The Friendship Has Changed
A distant friend does not always mean a lost friend. Your friendship might just become more muted and not as full-on as it once was.
You have to just accept that the friendship has changed and adapt how you act to suit this.
Instead of pushing the fact that you want the friendship to go back to how it was, take a look at the bigger picture and decide if it is worth losing your friend altogether.
Your relationship has likely evolved as you have both matured and grown, and this changes things quite significantly.
Having a friend become distant can be hurtful, and while you might want to lock yourself up in your room and stay there, this isn’t a good idea.
Allow yourself to feel all the different emotions, but make sure to keep yourself busy.
If you do not have other friends that you can go and hang out with, look to join local clubs such as a hobby club or sports team. Not only will this keep you busy and distracted through this tough time, but you might even end up making new friends along the way!
By becoming busier doing the things you love, and finding new interests and hobbies, you will be able to move on a little easier, and you won’t spend all your time dwelling on your distanced relationship.
You are also likely to make new friends who share the same interests as you!
When Your Friends Become Distant
It is difficult to accept when your friends have become distant, but oftentimes there is nothing you can do to prevent this.
Follow the above tips on what to do when a friend becomes distant and remember the signs to look for that the friendship might be changing. Remember that not all friendships are forever, and you will have to learn to deal with friendships changing.
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