There may well be occasions in your life when your so-called “friends” abruptly cease to talk to you and pretend that you are no longer there. Finding out the reasons for this can be difficult but if you really want to face them, here are some suggestions for doing so.
1. Evaluate your interactions with your friend(s) and make sure that they are actually ignoring you. You might just be over-analyzing the situation and thinking that they are ignoring you, when really they are going through something else in their life that has affected all of their friendships.
- Compare how much you and your friend used to interact with how much you’ve been interacting lately. Is it a drastic change?
- Compare how much you and your friend interact with how much they interact with their other friends and your mutual friends. Are they hanging out with others but still ignoring you?
- Consider whether your friend has recently gone through a life-changing event (e.g., a family death, depression, etc.) that might negatively affect their ability to maintain friendships. If this is the case, you should give them time and space. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can point out that you understand your friend has just gone through something tragic, but you really miss them in your life and wish that you two could rekindle your friendship. Be kind, and don’t add additional stress to your friend, but do reach out to let them know that you’d like to spend more time with them.
- Think about your recent previous interactions, and see if any situations come to mind in which you could have offended or hurt your friend. Did you say something behind their back that you knew you shouldn’t? Did you make an insensitive joke or comment? If you have a history of offending this friend, you might be right that they are trying to avoid you, and you should seek amends by initiating an apologetic conversation.
2. Choose a strategy. Is it just a single friend who has started to ignore you, or is it a group of friends? Approach each situation slightly differently:
- For a single friend: you may like to approach your friend during a quiet time when your friend is not around other people. If this is not possible at school, then try to see them after school. If your friend has started spending time with a new friend, don’t try to interfere while this person is around or they will likely close ranks together. Try to get your friend alone for a talk.
- For a group of friends: select the weakest. This means to choose the friend you know is most likely to be feeling unhappy about snubbing you and get him or her to spill the beans away from the group. Corner them in the bathroom, in the library or after school. Anywhere, as long as you can be one hundred percent sure that no-one else from the group will see and prevent this friend from talking.
3. Ask them what’s wrong. Don’t cry, wring your hands and beg. Just be straightforward and tell them that you simply want to understand why they appear to no longer want your friendship. Be straightforward and use words such as “I feel”, “I am upset by” and “I am confused about” etc., so as to avoid starting a blame game. Try to give the friend space to talk instead of becoming defensive.
4. Accept that they might or might not tell you. Sometimes a friend outgrows a friend. This can be a horrible lesson to face in life and sadly, some people are not well-socialized enough to be open and honest about changes in their feelings about a friendship. For these people, ignoring you is a way of coping with their own feelings of pain, confusion and inability to be forthright. At this point in time, if they continue to ignore you, it may be time to call it quits and move on.
5. Remember that sometimes they may be ignoring you because you have upset them. This is more likely to happen with a single friend, although if you upset a key member of a group the rest of the group can react to it. If this is the case, you need to go straight for the source. Don’t mess about with the fringes of the group, go to the person you’ve annoyed and sort it out, just the two of you.
6. Try to make new friends and leave your old friends alone for a while. When you aren’t around anymore, they might realize that you are upset at them. If they try to talk to you, don’t be difficult with them. They might have been ignoring you for a good reason.
7. Never get angry with them while talking. If they get extremely aggressive or violent, then walk away and leave them be. Read their body language and their tone to try and find out how they really feel. If they seem stressed do everything you can to convince them to talk through it with you. But be honest with them. Tell them how you feel, and make sure you are clear about how they feel as well. Honesty is always the best policy, at least in the long run.
8. Listen carefully to what they are saying and write down what you think they are feeling.
9. Even if you may be feeling angry, don’t look like you are angry. This shows your friend that you are not trying with them and you don’t care just take deep breaths.