Friend Drifting Apart
October 1, 2010 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I am a shy person and don't have many friends. I have one friend who is closest to me. We used to spend lots of time together and also would spend sometime with his friends. Lately, he doesn't seem to want to spend time alone with me. He just wants to meet when there are other friends with us. We kind of seem like strangers when there are other people. Many times he ignores me when there's more people. Now we also seem like strangers when we are alone coz we almost don't speak. I'll give an example: The other day I invite him to come to my place and he just wanted to use the internet to speak with other friends and watch TV but me who was right there he almost didn't speak. I don't know what to do anymore. I value this friendship very much but it seems we can't find much to talk about. I wonder what goes on his mind coz I can't understand why he's treating me this way. I've just been crying lately coz I don't know if I should tell him I feel sad with this situation or should I just back off and see what happens. What should I do?
I think you should tell him how you feel. Your poor heart is broken. Before you open up, ask him if he's willing to have a talk with you. If he says yes, then tell him how sad you've been. Tell him that it feels as though your friendship is drifting away. Give him some of the examples that you shared with me: he doesn't want to spend time alone with you; you both seem like strangers with nothing to talk about; when he's with you he speaks with other friends of watches TV).
Ask him if he's noticed the shift and, if so, why does he think this is happening.
You might also ask him if he's angry with you. Whenever a person tells me that there's a cold wind blowing in his/her relationship, I always suspect buried anger. Behaving in a distant way, withholding attention and affectionAffection is defined as fond attachment, devotion or love. Couples are most compatible when they are equally matched in terms of their needs for displays or expressions of affection. all feels like a cold wind to me.
If he admits to feeling angry, ask for details on what you said or did that landed wrong, listen, understand, and thank him for being honest.
If he says that he's not aware of being angry, then again I'd want to know what's changed.
I have two other possible reasons for why he might be acting cold. The first idea I had was that he might sense that you are interested in him romantically. He may be pulling back because he doesn't want to go there.
Another thought was that he's become complacent with you, like an old married partner who takes the other for granted.
Please let me know how your talk goes. I so very much want you to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve it so that you can once again enjoy your friendship.
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