When Friends Stop Talking

SCENARIO

You and two other women have had a friendship trio for years. All of a sudden you stop hearing from friend #1. You know that she’s been talking to friend #2 and they’ve still been getting together. You tried asking Friend #1 if there’s anything wrong, however, you get no reply. As you don’t know what happened you find the situation invading your thoughts all the time and you’re getting obsessed with it. What do you do?

ANSWER

JILL:
It is never easy when friendships change and people move on. It does indeed leave us hurt and confused.

To help you stop obsessing here are a few suggestions:

1. Move on yourself. Arrange to do some new activities; classes, women’s groups, exercise programs anything to help you feel vital, active and a part of something.

2. Ask the two ladies to have coffee with you. If they do meet with you, be open & honest about how you feel. Avoid words that are accusing or may result in hurt feelings.

It is human nature that a part of you will hope that a coffee meeting will mean that things will go back to the way they were. Be prepared that may not happen; the friend that has had no contact may indeed prefer to spend time with different friends. Try not to take it personally & leave the coffee meeting on good terms.

Try to realize that all the hurt, anger and obsession (your words) gives those people too much power over you. There are other women out there with whom you can form new friendships.

VICKI:
Right now you’re obsessing over the situation because you don’t have a logical answer for it. This is a natural thing for the mind to do as it is trying to make sense of the situation. In order to stop obsessing you either need to accept the situation as it is, in this case following Jill’s suggestions in #1 or work at getting an answer, which Jill wrote about in #2.

If you feel that asking the ladies for coffee won’t work for you I suggest writing a letter to the woman who is no longer talking to you. If you choose to do this than make sure that you write in terms of how you feel and not about the other person’s actions, which will translate to blame statements. Write from the heart. Put the letter away for a few days and then re-read the letter again before sending it.

Please know that you have no blame in this friendship ending. Even if you did do something to offend this woman it is her job to let you know what is on her mind. If she doesn’t take any steps to mend her feelings and the friendship then you cannot take responsibility.

On that note do mention to the friend who tells you of her outings with the woman no longer speaking to you how hearing about the outings makes you feel. This way you are taking responsibility to make sure that you are not building anger and resentment towards her in order for that friendship to continue.


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When Being True To Yourself Means Saying No

QUESTION

My best friend and I have had a wonderful relationship for the past 18 years. We have been there for each other through thick and thin. She recently asked me for a favor that I feel is not in line with my spiritual beliefs and values. How can I be true to the both of us?

ANSWER

VICKI:
When we are true to ourselves we are always being true to the other; this is because we are all one. By giving yourself permission to say no to your friend’s request you model speaking your truth. That is an amazing gift to give someone.

If you were to go against your own principles it would be difficult for you to feel good with yourself and your friendship. There would be a good chance that resentment may come between you and your friend in time under those circumstances, possibly ruining a great and long-term friendship. Following our own inner value system is crucial to all of our relationships.

When you decline your friend’s request remember that it is not what you say and it’s how you say it. Remind your friend of your good feelings and wishes for her and then let her know that you cannot go against your own belief system. Someone who loves you would never want you to do that.

JILL:
Honesty is the best way to be true to yourself at this time and it will also mean that you maintain the integrity of your long friendship. Arrange to meet your friend in a restaurant that you both enjoy. A neutral place is the best backdrop in which to talk openly.
Once you are both there I cannot improve on Vicki’s advice “its not what you say and it’s how you say it…..”
Allow her to react, don’t be defensive, she will with time understand because as you wrote you have been through thick and thin together before.

Should Religion Be A Factor In Friendship?

QUESTION

My best friend doesn’t have a religion. I have one, the same I’ve had since I was a kid. I worry about her constantly. I’ve brought her to church with me but she just doesn’t want a religion. Is it wrong to have a friend who doesn’t have a religion?

ANSWER

VICKI:
This is one of those questions that no one can answer for you because the answer depends upon what you believe in your heart and soul. I would love to tell you that there is nothing wrong with having friends from all religious and spiritual practices, including those without a religion, however, that answer would be based on my belief system.

My suggestion is that you talk to the person or people who give the sermons at your church to learn how your particular religion sees this topic. Should the answers you receive not feel right to you please take the time to go within yourself and ask some questions to discover how you feel, because not even your religious leaders can tell you what feels right for you. If you meditate then meditate on the following questions.

Keep in mind while asking these questions that your faith is meant to help you feel good about yourself and all life around you:

1. Is there only one correct path to God or my Higher Power?
2. Does God love all his or her children equally?
3. Do I feel good with what my religion teaches about others with different spiritual beliefs or who have no particular religious practices?
4. Is it my place to judge others on their belief system?
5. What action can I take that would make my soul sing with joy?
6. What would love do now?

One last personal comment is that we must remember that when we hold the attitude that our way of doing something is the only right way this is how conflicts begin.

JILL:
I am going to come out and say, quite honestly, that at this point in my life I don’t have a religion. I am a person who is searching for answers to my religious and spiritual questions. I still consider myself a good person with ethics and integrity. What I’m trying to say to you is that even though your friend doesn’t have a religion that doesn’t necessarily make them unworthy of your friendship.

You have had your religion since you were a child and since you are practicing the same religion, I assume, that you are one of those fortunate people who have found peace & strength from it. The friendship in question, seems to bring you to a point of conflict founded in those religious beliefs. Have you been able to articulate what the foundation of this turmoil is? If you cannot find the answer I would recommend that you turn to a religious leader for guidance.

While life has given you what may feel like a dilemma; there is the possibility that the answer may change some of your world views. Consider that there may also be a middle area of compromise that will allow you both a resolution and a friendship.