A distant friend leaves a space in your heart, waiting to be filled with fun, love and laughter.
In my article, Why Friends Drift Apart and Friendships End, several readers asked me what to do when a friend is distant and how to rekindle the friendship. These are good questions, but they’re not easy to answer. It often depends on the particular dynamics of the friendship and what is going on personally with each individual.
Here are some suggestions to help you discover what is happening and what to do next.
Why is the Friend Distant?
Explore all the possible reasons your friend has distanced from you. This will give you information to help you decide how to approach your friend.
Is your friend avoiding you? Does it appear that your friend has become busy, shut down and possibly depressed, or is she simply avoiding you in particular? If their personality appears to have changed, it may be nothing to do with you personally. She may be going through a difficult time, but doesn’t know how to express this to others.
What happened between you? Did you have a disagreement? Did you do or say anything that might have hurt or offended your friend. Or perhaps your friend did something inappropriate and feels guilty about it?
What does your friend say? Have you asked why he is distant? Does his answer make sense or ring true for you? If this person has a high level of self-awareness and trusts you and the friendship, you will most likely get an honest answer. But if not, he may not know what is going on within, or may not feel safe to discuss it with you.
What does your intuition say? You can analyze a situation until your brain hurts and still come up empty. But deep within you have all the answers you need – trust your intuition. Get out of your head and bring awareness into your body. What does your gut instinct tell you about the friendship? Now ask your heart – put a hand over your heart and ask what it feels about your friend. Is it time to mend the friendship or let it go? Finally, center within your higher self and look at the bigger picture. Perhaps you just need to give it time and trust that things will work out.
Have you grown apart? Do you still have similar values and interests in common or have you gone down different pathways? It’s not uncommon for friends to distance as they grow and change. If the context (school, work, hobbies etc.) has changed or ended, the friendship might too.
What did you discover from answering these questions? Is the friendship over and it’s best to move on? Or is there still a connection? If you want to pursue the friendship, keep reading.
How to Rekindle a Friendship
I’ve brainstormed a list of ways to reconnect with your friend and re-establish the relationship.
Allow time and space. Give your friend some time to release resentment, work out issues, and have an opportunity to miss you. Focus on your own life for a while and let your friend contact you.
Ask for forgiveness. If you feel you have done something to hurt your friend, write an apology letter and then follow it up with a phone call. But respect their need for time and space if they ask for it.
Forgive your friend. If you are angry or resentful for their distant behavior, find it in your heart to forgive your friend. This will create a safe space for him to come back into your life.
Send a fun or touching note. Mail or email a funny joke, touching poem, or heartwarming message about friends. This might soften their heart.
Suggest a new activity. Doing something new together might create a fresh spark of adventure in the friendship. Initiate something fun or creative to do together.
Be a wonderful friend. If you are a positive, supportive influence in your friend’s life, she will want to be around you. Explore ways to be a good friend.
Continue brainstorming as many ideas you can come up with. Then choose ones that feel appropriate. If you’re not able to mend the friendship, fill this space with your own fun, love and laughter.
Do you have any questions or insights on what to do when a friend is distant or how to rekindle the friendship? Please share in the comment section.