Woe Is Me! “I Called Out My Best Friend and Now She Won’t Talk to Me. Was I Wrong to be Honest?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“My best friend and I used to be very close — we were almost always together. But one day, I told her about something that was bothering me; ever since then, she has been distant. I don’t feel the same way about her anymore, but I do feel lonely without her. At the same time, I don’t how she feels about me; so, I don’t want to approach her because I don’t want to make our relationship even sourer accidentally. What do I do?”
— Let me be frank
DR: I don’t want to accept all those Moral Science lectures we had to attend in school could’ve been in vain; so, I’m going to continue believing that honesty is truly the best policy. However, a lot of people use honesty as a shield for rude and hurtful remarks. I’ve no idea if that’s what you’ve done — consciously, at least. That’s for you to introspect. While you’re at it, maybe, also try to think about whether your friend has any insecurities that you may have triggered by being honest with her. There’s too little context here for me to conclude that she’s certainly in the wrong. But for the sake of advising you, I’m going to assume you aren’t. In that case, my friend, I don’t think not approaching her is preventing your relationship from making things sour either. If you do initiate a conversation, you will, at the very least, have the closure of finding out whether your friendship truly is over. Because, in all honesty (pun intended), it seems like that’s where your relationship is headed.
If you do want to make a last-ditch attempt at salvaging it, though, I’d say send her a text rather than confronting her in person — while also letting her know that you don’t expect an immediate reply. Doing so might give her the time to process what you said privately instead of making her feel pressured to respond immediately — thereby avoiding a knee-jerk reaction that could further damage your dynamic with her. You can, perhaps, frame your text somewhere around these lines to ensure she doesn’t feel persecuted: “My remarks the other day seem to have hurt you, and for that, I’m deeply sorry. That was never my intention; I was simply trying to have an open channel of communication in the interest of our friendship, which is something I truly cherish. I don’t know how you feel about me anymore, but I’d do anything to go back to how things were before that conversation. So, I’d be really grateful if you could tell me how I messed up and what I can do to make amends. I don’t expect you to reply immediately. Do take your time, but once you’re ready, I’d really love to talk things out with you. I miss having you around!” If that somehow bears adverse results, I think you should accept that your friendship is over.
RN: You should let her be and give her some space to reflect! Maybe that’s what this is, and she’s poor at processing/communicating. Without any context about what you told her, it’s really hard to judge how she must be feeling and whether it’s justified. Did you tell her something about her own behavior, or was it something else that had nothing to do with her? If it’s the former, give her time; if it’s the latter, it’s fair to ask her what’s going on.
If it’s really making you uncomfortable, you should talk to her anyway — then you can rest easy in your conscience that you’ve done your bit to try and save the friendship.
AS: I know the usual advice while forging new relationships with people is that one should always meet the other at the halfway point — but, maybe, at times, going the full course can also help. Especially so, if it’s a treasured bond that you nurtured over the years. However, if that doesn’t work, then it might simply be a case of you both having outgrown each other. That is completely normal and natural, and while it may hurt, it is just par for the course. After all, change is the only permanent, unchanging aspect of our lives.
Who knows, maybe through the next best friend you make, friendship will be an even more exciting and enriching experience than this one?