By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly


You thought your close friend would always be there for you. So what do you do when she suddenly stops returning calls or arranging get-togethers?

“Friendships change as individuals accept new roles and responsibilities, adopt new outlooks and world views, and are faced with new experiences,” says Kimberly Moffit, a Toronto-based psychotherapist who’s been featured on Cosmo TV’s Oh So Cosmo, City TV News Toronto, and The Steven and Chris Show.  “Some friendships are so rooted in routine and behaviour that they don’t survive this transition.”

Here’s how to hold onto a changing relationship — and how to know when to let it go.

Call Her
Is a long-distance friend becoming more distant? Before you start feeling resentful, reach out to her, says Moffit. “There’s a good chance she’s not purposely avoiding you, but rather struggling with the demands of her life at the moment,” says Moffit. “Tell your friend that you miss her, and that you’d appreciate hearing from her every once in a while.” That may prompt her to make more of an effort to call and visit. If not, send an email explaining that you can’t keep putting yourself out there if she doesn’t reciprocate. Still no response? Move on, knowing you’ve done your best.

Look at Yourself
Maybe it’s time to rethink what kind of friend you’re being, suggests Moffit. “It’s all too easy to get busy with our own lives. But being a friend works both ways; not only do your friends help and support you, but you need to be available to them when they need you,” says Moffit.

Honour Her Schedule
A spate of cancelled plans doesn’t necessarily mean your friend is mad at you; she may just be juggling too many responsibilities. “Honouring your friend’s schedule will show her that you respect her time, that you’re making a positive effort and that you are truly in this for the long haul,” says Moffit.

Celebrate What You Have in Common
Even if you’re in different life stages — you’re wrapped up in day care and soccer games while she’s still all about the margarita bar — your shared history can be enough to stick it out, says Moffit. “At the end of the day, these friends stand the best chance of surviving, because the memories, shared upbringing and personal moments together can remain so strong in their minds that they outweigh other differences,” she says.

Reconsider Her Role
Has a close friend stopped confiding her deepest secrets? Time to reconsider her role in your network. “If your friend stops sharing details of her life with you, it may mean that she doesn’t trust you, or that she doesn’t feel as though she can let you in,” says Moffit. Instead of mourning your heart-to-hearts, consider her a more casual connection who’s perfect for shopping, brunch or a good laugh.

Call it Quits
If a so-called friend does something really out of line, ask yourself the tough questions: Do I feel good around her? Would I treat someone else this way? Is this friendship worth salvaging? “If you constantly wonder why you’re in this friendship, it’s probably time to move on,” says Moffit. Beg off on her invitations and she’ll get the message. Save your time and energy for the friends who really care.

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

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