READER’S QUESTION: “I have been best friends with this girl for almost 10 years since we were 13. We have been through basically everything together. A year and a half ago she started dating a guy notably older than her who is frankly just the worst. Their relationship has been super toxic and tumultuous, and they have broken up and gotten back together multiple times. He’s been abusive as well. I have expressed my concerns, and she has known basically from the start that I don’t like him based on how he treats her.
Our friendship has suffered immensely because of it. She has shut me out for periods of time and then will come back saying how sorry she is but then doesn’t really change. We don’t live in the same place and have started to talk less and less. When we do talk, she is super distant and responds in ways that make me feel like she doesn’t actually care about my life. Her treating me like this only started when she got with this guy, and I don’t know what to do. It feels like our friendship has been slowly falling apart. I just want my best friend back, but it’s like she is a completely different person. Would love any advice on how to salvage this friendship if it’s possible."
EVIE’S ADVICE: As difficult as it may be to hear this, your friendship may not actually be salvageable (and that’s okay). It takes two people to make a friendship work, and it sounds like she’s not putting in any effort on her end. It’s worth trying to have one more totally honest conversation with her to voice all of your concerns and let her know that you will always care about her and support her. It’s important to share with her that no matter how your conversation ends, if she needs to escape her abusive boyfriend, you’ll be there to help. Don’t shut the door entirely on communication with her in case her situation worsens and she needs someone to provide a lifeline.
It takes two people to make a friendship work.
That being said, don’t expect her to have a sudden epiphany and change her ways. It sounds like she has made her decision to choose her boyfriend over your friendship, and whether that’s because she’s being manipulated, isolated, or because she’s not ready to face your concerns about him, ultimately that’s not your battle to face. You can walk away from the friendship knowing that you tried your best and seek out new, healthy relationships that aren’t draining or one-sided. She may come back around on her own and apologize, whether that’s a few weeks, months, or years down the road, realizing that you were right all along, but don’t wait around holding your breath for this.
You should be around women who truly value you as a friend and don’t make you feel insignificant. Sometimes friendships naturally dissolve because people grow apart or are in different seasons of their lives, and, even though we may miss the ways things were in our past, it’s best to cherish that time for what it was and accept that it’s time to move on. As sad as it is to come to this realization, not everyone is meant to remain a part of our lives forever. Allow yourself to grieve the friendship as it will be painful to let go no matter how much you know that it’s the right decision, and in time you’ll find that your life is filled with women who uplift you, value your opinion, and honor your friendship.
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