Woe Is Me! “My Best Friend Cut Me Off When I Couldn’t Fix Her Mental Health. Should I Reconnect?”


Jul 30, 2023


Image Credit: Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966)

Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.

“My best friend is struggling with her mental health. I put in consistent efforts to stay in touch with her but she only reciprocates occasionally, and cancels on me after making me clear my schedule to see her. When I tell her I feel bad about it, she tells me she can’t help being the way she is. She wants us to be each other’s therapist all the time. It’s draining me, as I want us to be friends, but have fun, too. When I stopped reaching out to her, I barely heard from her for two months. She removed me from all her social media and unfriended me. I feel used and dejected, but considering her poor mental health, should I reconcile with her?”

— The ‘therapist’ friend

DR: No.

QG: It’s hard to stop completely caring for someone, especially if they’re a close friend. Since she’s not doing well, it might help to reach out from time to time, just so you have an update on her.

However, all your reasons for not continuing this friendship are more than valid. So, I’d suggest a distant friendship. You can be friends with someone without being their best friend; try that out. It might be most sustainable for this friendship. People are all we’ve got. It’s hard to give up on them. But not at your own cost. So, middle path?

SA: From what you’ve said, nothing indicates that she’s your best friend. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but friendship is a two-way street and you seem to be giving way more than you’re receiving in this friendship. You cannot be each other’s therapists since you’re absolutely not qualified, and may do more harm than good. You must be there for your friend while she struggles with poor mental health, but the burden of fixing the situation is not on you. And you being there for her also means that she must be there for you. I don’t see that happening so far. Wanting to have fun is such a bare minimum expectation in a friendship that you shouldn’t have to ask for it. This friendship seems to just be about her and her mental health. That’s not healthy for you. Do recommend that she sees a qualified therapist. I don’t know how old you are, but there are plenty of resources for affordable therapists, and some do offer student discounts as well. Encouraging her to seek therapy might be the best thing you can do for your friend. You can very well walk away from this friendship temporarily (or permanently). You deserve better and no one will fault you for seeking that. However, if you do choose to reconcile with her please make sure you set some ground rules and let her know that you have some expectations from this friendship. Start putting yourself first. 

DD: Hey, this sounds like a really difficult situation, and it’s understandable that you feel used. From an outsider’s perspective, this truly does not sound like an equal friendship. This is not to say that friendships should be transactional — but there should be enough space for the both of you there. Sure, sometimes your friend might need more of it during this difficult time; at the same time, it’s not an excuse to not acknowledge what she’s doing, or work towards fixing the situation. I would say: don’t; wait for her to reach out. And if she doesn’t, you have your answer.

AS: If you’re thinking of reconciling with her, you should probably set some boundaries to conserve your own energy. It’s not uncommon for many to offload on friends or partners, but it is also not fair to force someone to assume the role of a therapist. It’s bound to take a toll on you since none of us, without professional training, are equipped to handle another’s mental health issues beyond the point of offering support and care. Not that friends shouldn’t be there for each other when needed, but in your case, it seems fairly one-sided. I think you need to look out for yourself here as well.


Written By The Swaddle Team


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