6 Tips To Reach Out To A Friend Who Has Been Distant…


6 Tips To Reach Out To A Friend Who Has Been Distant



It’s challenging and heartbreaking when someone you once spoke with every day — several times, perhaps — quietly ghosts themselves out of your life. Sometimes, there’s no ill intent. Life has a way of getting in between the best-laid plans of mice and friends.

However, your friend’s silence could mean they’re dealing with something difficult and could use a comforting shoulder. You love them, so you want to help or offer support. Here are six tips for reaching out to a friend who has been distant.

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Realize it may not be about you

Before reaching out to your friend who’s gone quiet, spend some time identifying your emotions, which can help you calm down. It’s natural to feel hurt or even slightly angry if you sense your friend rejected you. However, your venting could make them feel worse if their withdrawal had nothing to do with you and everything to do with an unfortunate diagnosis, painful breakup or job loss. Your friend may already feel vulnerable and retreat even further.

Instead, recognize that isolating yourself is one of the most reliable signs of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Those dealing with these disorders might perceive that their feelings aren’t okay and make others uncomfortable, so they withdraw, making their symptoms worse in the process. They may not want to “burden” their loved ones with their emotions. That’s why realizing it’s not about you is vital when reaching out to your distant friend. If you did something to cause their coldness, they would tell you — but your phone call could be like giving a rope to someone drowning.

Try a one-on-one invitation

If your friend distanced themselves because they’re dealing with difficult situations, emotions or both, they might not RSVP to party invitations. Why not suggest a one-on-one get-together? Suggest meeting for tea at your favorite spot or taking a stroll in a local park. Such arrangements allow your friend to explain what’s going on in a safe space. Bring your best active-listening skills to the meeting. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions or offer solutions — let your friend process what’s on their mind. If they want your advice, they will ask.

Share your feelings

It’s sometimes easier for someone to share their feelings when you make them feel safe by opening up about your emotions. Plus, you owe it to yourself to be honest with your friend about how their distance affects you. However, it’s important not to slip into the blame game if you value your friendship. Instead of being accusatory — “You never pick up when I call” — use “I” statements to reflect how the behavior impacts you. For example, you could say, “I feel unsure when you don’t return my calls. It makes me question whether I’ve been a good friend.”



Keep them in your circle

Even though your friend might decline party invitations, you don’t want them to feel like they’re no longer a part of the crowd. People with depression might already struggle with overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. Leaving them off the guest list only reinforces their belief that nobody wants them around.

Therefore, keep including them in group invitations, even if they never reply. Most people don’t find such messages intrusive and will inform you if they want you to stop.

Try texting

Some people avoid the phone like the plague. If your friend is suffering from social anxiety, this might be one of their symptoms. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Reach out by text. Some folks go so far as to tell their friendship circle they prefer this communication mode, but give it a try even if your distant pal hasn’t mentioned it.

Reach out on social media

Creators of social media originally invented it to keep in touch with far-away friends and family. Go back to its intended purpose by messaging your friend on social media. You can post on their page or send a direct message. Doing so on their profile alerts other folks in their circle that they’ve gone MIA. You’re more likely to get a response, but you could also create a bit of panic — so use your judgment.

Practice self-care

You want to be a good friend, but you’re human too. Remember to practice self-care. If your friend doesn’t respond to your attempts at contact, you may have to say goodbye. Recognize you might never get closure. You could spend extra time nurturing yourself with gentle exercise, healthy meals, early bedtimes and fun activities that you enjoy solo.

Reaching out to a distant friend

You can feel rejected and hurt when a friend suddenly goes silent. However, their behavior often has nothing to do with you. Discovering the underlying cause could get them much-needed help. Follow the tips above to reach out to a friend who has been distant. Your actions could be a lifeline to someone in need.

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