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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
8 Apr 2023


NextImg:Dear Dr. Chloe, My Friend Makes Constant Rude Remarks, and Ignores Me in Our Group Chat. I Feel Lonely. What Should I Do?

Dear Dr. Chloe,

I’ve known my three dearest pals for eight years—we met in college and became friends almost instantly. Since we all got married, we don’t talk or hang out as much, but we do see each other occasionally.

One of them is constantly making rude remarks about me, including how I look and how I handle my money. She even ignores me in a group chat and I feel that she doesn’t want me to join anymore. I treasure our friendship but this is hurting me.

It feels even more intense because making new friends seems to get harder as I get older—it was easier to make friends back in college—but at this point, it just feels awkward opening up and really letting my hair down with people the way I can with old friends who knew and loved me through my immature, pre-success college years.

So I guess my question is twofold: How can I deal with this situation with my current friend, and how would I go about finding new friends?

Thanks,

Mikka

Dear Mikka,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt note. I’m happy to respond to both of your questions. Social support is a key component of mental health.

First of all, it’s totally normal to find that certain friendships don’t stand the test of time—we’re supposed to grow and change throughout our lives, and sometimes that means we need a different type of friendship than we did in our youth. While you say you “treasure her friendship,” you’re also saying she ignores you, insults you, and makes you feel unwanted. It might be helpful to ponder that paradox and see if perhaps you’re using an outdated label on this “treasure” of a friend.

She may have changed significantly since your friendship’s heyday, or you may have raised your standards for the better. However, since you don’t seem ready to say goodbye, perhaps this is a good opportunity to try setting some boundaries—for example, you might text her to say you had a few things on your heart and wanted to find a time to talk voice-to-voice.

When you connect, you might explain that you value her friendship enough to be truly authentic with her, and so you need to share that you’re finding her remarks to be hurtful and you’re wondering if she might tone them down. You could also explain that you’re aware you could be wrong, but that you sometimes get the feeling she doesn’t want you to join (have a couple of examples ready); and that you would love her reassurance that you’re wrong about this.

Hopefully, she’ll affirm that she does want you around, and she’ll ease up on you. The worst that could happen is she would end the friendship, and honestly, it sounds like she might actually be doing you a favor if that happened—if it does, she would essentially be communicating that she’s unable or unwilling to treat you with the respect and care that you’re requesting, in which case the closure might be healthy.

If she says she’ll change but doesn’t follow through, you might at least feel better about pulling back because you’ll know you made every effort to express what you needed for the friendship to work.

Regarding your second question: I applaud your awareness that broadening your social circle seems like a wise move. You’re correct that it can be harder as we age–but it’s absolutely not impossible. Find ways to connect with the same people on a regular basis, ideally where you’re doing a shared activity. This is partly why people have an easier time making friends in college—they see each other regularly while doing overlapping activities, so they make friends in a gradual, low-pressure manner.

Look for volunteer opportunities, dinner clubs, wine-tasting classes, church groups, Parent Teacher Association boards (if you have kids), or other opportunities where you can interact regularly with the same group of people who have a shared purpose.

Consider hosting a dinner party or happy hour, perhaps even telling each guest to feel free to bring a friend so everyone can meet someone new—with spring here, it’s the perfect time to start something fresh.

As a psychologist, I can’t stress enough how important social support is. The fact that you’re craving it is actually very healthy—it means the part of you that seeks connection is strong and vibrant. Don’t stifle or ignore that part of yourself, make sure to nurture it even if it takes some time and effort.

Wishing you all the best!

Fondly,

Dr. Chloe

Dr. Chloe Carmichael is a clinical psychologist and USA Today bestselling author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety and Dr. Chloe’s Ten Commandments of Dating. Send any questions where you’d like a psychologist’s perspective to ask@drchloe.com. Responses are not guaranteed and do not constitute medical advice.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.