A close friend of mine has ghosted me. I try to call her but she doesn’t pick up, messages are seen but not responded to. She lives far away in a different city and I don’t want to be a pest, so hunting her down is neither doable nor something I’m interested in. We were perfectly fine and then we weren’t. I know I haven’t been the best at keeping in touch – she is the person who usually calls, messages – but there was no warning sign of this. What I want to know is – how do I get some closure? At this point it just seems like there is nothing I can do – we met a long time ago; mutual friends have fallen by the wayside.
- A reader who wishes to remain anonymous asks
Answered by Sneha John, Child & Adult Psychologist, LifeWorks Holistic Counselling Centre
I appreciate the step you would like to take in getting some closure from the estranged friendship. According to Acceptance-based Commitment theory, a healthy way to deal with this would be to allow time and space for you to process emotions linked to this friendship.
Process your emotions in a healthy way
Give yourself permission to accept the situation that you cannot control. Let your feelings and thoughts about this situation flow freely without trying to resist them. It is normal that during such situations we may blame ourselves for the consequence.
Give yourself the permission not to be good at everything. Start with processing emotions without criticising yourself heavily. Acknowledge that relationships are not perfect and require work, mistakes from both parties are common but these do not define them. Practice exercising forgiveness towards yourself for being harsh and self-critical. After having done this, you would be in a better position to take action.
Create healthy boundaries
The next step would be to get out on paper what you would like to communicate with your friend. This can help you process your emotions and get some level of closure. As a step you can even write to your friend. Offer a sincere apology if you feel you have angered or upset her. If your friendship has strong foundation, the apology should pave the path for your friend to mend the relationship. A less well-established relationship may be more difficult to repair especially if the other person is not invested in it. If your friend explicitly ends the friendship with you, give her the space and take the space you need to process it. People may come in and out of our lives for a reason. In this case, focus on moving forward rather than trying to fix the friendship.
Invest in self-care and a good support system
Lastly, make a concerted effort to engage in self-care where you take time to reflect on the day before winding down for bed. Spend time thinking about aspects of the day that worked out well for you as well as challenging situations that you were able to overcome. Appreciate yourself for being able to overcome and move forward. Also, invest into friends who encourage and support you. Allow the space to cultivate new friendships in your life based on the season you are in.
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Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of doctors are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.