What To Do When Friends Distance Themselves From You?

Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Alexander Burgemeester

When friends distance themselves from you, it’s difficult to know what to do. It’s a sticky situation, and you don’t want to be too pushy, and neither do you want to act as if you don’t care.

However, you should do the following, speak to your friend, give your friend space, and get on with your life.

Unfortunately, friends come and go, and very few people have had the same friends since childhood. People move to different cities and countries, get married, have children, or simply grow apart.

Nevertheless, most of us get comfortable with the people we’re surrounded by, and when they leave, it’s hard.

If you’ve been asking yourself, why does a friend distance themselves from you? Keep reading. 

What To Do When Someone Distances Themselves From You

When a friend distances themselves from you, it can feel like a betrayal, and you want to know why.

However, instead of stressing over it, do the following, speak to your friend, give your friend space, and get on with your life.

What To Do When Someone Distances Themselves From You

Here are eight things to do when someone distances themselves from you. 

#1 Speak To Your Friend

The first thing you should do is have that hard conversation with your friend. It will be uncomfortable, but it will stop you from always thinking about it and speculating about why they are giving you the cold shoulder.

Explain that you’ve noticed they’ve been distant lately and you’d like to meet up for a chat. It’s important to mention that your friend might decline your invitation.

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If so, leave it alone; however, if they do decide to meet up, listen empathetically by trying to understand where they’re coming from. It hurts that your friendship has changed, but it’s not about you. It’s about your friend.

Therefore, do your best to understand where they’re coming from. 

#2 Give Your Friend Space

Texting and calling every couple of days will only worsen the situation. Your friend has distanced themselves for a reason, and only they know why.

It would be nice to get an explanation, but maybe they’re not ready to talk about it yet. Therefore, instead of chasing them, let them deal with what they’re dealing with, and they’ll come back when they’re ready. 

#3 Get On With Your Life

Losing a friend is similar to losing a romantic partner. One minute you spent all your time together, and now they’re gone. It feels as if something is missing in your life, and it is.

The person you once called when you had relationship, family, and work issues is no longer a part of your life. Although you’ve got other close friends, it’s not the same.

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As much as it hurts, don’t have a pity party about it and get on with life. If it means you’ve got to go out there and make some new friends, then do that.

Whether it was traveling, having spa dates, or clubbing, keep doing the things you did with your friend as if they’d never left. 

#4 Examine Yourself

Examining yourself isn’t about blaming yourself. It’s about being self-aware. Is there something you’re doing that’s contributed to your friend wanting to distance themselves from you? Are you competitive?

Do you always try and outshine your friend? When they’re talking, do you constantly switch the conversation so that it’s focused on you?

Examine Yourself

Maybe your friend has spoken to you about these issues before, but their words seem to have fallen on deaf ears. If that’s the case, they might be fed up with you, and they’ve decided to cut ties.  

#5 Don’t Try And Hold On

Never try and hold onto a person who doesn’t want to be kept. It will push them further away. If your friend wants to go, let them go. The worst thing you can do is force someone to be close friends with you when they don’t want to be.

It might not even be that they no longer desire the friendship, but that they need space for personal reasons. Sometimes, you think you’re closer to a person than you actually are, because telling them everything doesn’t mean they do.

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Your friend might have family problems she hasn’t discussed with you. Or they’re having problems at work. Maybe they’ve got mental health issues they’ve never spoken about.

Whatever the reason, allow your friend to do what they need to do without feeling pressured to fill you in on every last detail of their lives. 

#6 Speak To Your Mutual Friends

If you’ve tried speaking to your friend and they haven’t accepted the invitation, get some more insight by speaking to your mutual close friends. Are they being treated the same way?

Speak To Your Mutual Friends

Has your friend distanced themselves from everyone, or is it just you? If everyone has noticed the change in your friend’s behavior, then you can rest assured you’re not the reason behind them distancing themselves. 

#7 Accept That It’s Over

If your friend has decided to cut you off without giving you an explanation, you’ll just need to accept that your friendship is over and move on.

It would be nice, but your friend doesn’t need to give you an explanation for why they’ve ditched you. Some people just grow apart. You may have been drinking buddies in college and hung out together every day, but times have changed, and your friend isn’t about that life anymore.

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Your friend no longer finds joy in partying and getting drunk. Instead, they’d rather hang out at museums or art fares. If that’s not your thing, you shouldn’t be surprised that the friendship has fizzled out. 

#8 Don’t Get Offended

As painful as it is that your friend no longer wants the relationship to continue, don’t get offended. You haven’t done anything wrong, things just fall apart sometimes, and it has nothing to do with you.

Your friend has chosen a different direction in life, and that’s okay. You envisioned being close friends for life, that you’d look after each other’s children, but it hasn’t worked out that way.

Don't Get Offended

So let bygones be bygones, wish your friend the best of luck in whatever they’re doing, and get on with your life. 

How To Tell If Someone Is Distancing Themselves From You?

You will know when a friend is distancing themselves from you because their behavior will change.

They’ll stop responding to your calls and texts, keep declining invitations, and they’ll have new friendships. If you want to know whether your friend is distancing themselves from you, keep reading. 

How To Tell If Someone Is Distancing Themselves From You?

#1 They Stop Responding To Calls And Texts

You don’t call or text your friend during working hours because you know they’re busy, but you always contact them after work or on the weekends.

If they miss the call or text, they’ll get back to you immediately. But recently, you’ve been getting very slow responses, as in two days later kind of slow!

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They won’t apologize either and act as if it’s normal behavior. Or they won’t respond at all, and you’re forced to chase them. 

#2 They Keep Declining Invitations

Regardless of where you invite your friend, they’ve always got an excuse as to why they can’t make it. They’ve either got something else going on, don’t feel well, or are out of town.

They Keep Declining Invitations

A few months back, you met up once every two weeks to catch up over coffee, and you don’t even do that anymore. If your friend declined invitations once or twice, you could understand, but you haven’t seen your friend in months, and you strongly feel they’re avoiding you. 

#3 They’ve Got New Friends

Although they keep declining your invitations, they seem to have made some new friends with people you’ve never been introduced to. They’re all over social media having the time of their lives.

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Your friend doesn’t look depressed or stressed out about anything. They seem just fine, and from looking at these pictures, it’s clear there’s a reason you’ve been shut out. 

#4 They’re Not Interested In Your Life

Your friend has stopped supporting you on social media. They don’t like or comment on any of your wins. When you do speak to them, they seem uninterested in anything you’ve got to say about your life.

They're Not Interested In Your Life

Before, it was all squeals and congratulations when you spoke on the phone. They were the first to comment on how proud they were of you on Instagram, but now all you get is air! 

#5 They Don’t Open Up To You

One of the signs that your friends distance themselves from you is that you can’t get more than one-word answers from your friend. When you ask how things are going, they respond, “fine.”

And that’s all you can get out of them. Suddenly, they’ve become some sort of secret agent forbidden from divulging any information about their life.

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But you’ve heard through the grapevine that they’re more than willing to speak about their private lives with other people. So since when did you become the bad guy?

#6 They Cancel At The Last Minute

According to psychologist Dr. Tiffany Towers, a sign that a friend is distancing themselves is they cancel plans at the last minute.

They’d run out of excuses when you originally invited them to the party, so at the last minute, they’ll text and say something like, “really sorry, won’t be able to make it tonight, the dogs throwing up and I need to take him to the emergency vet. Have a good one.” 

They Cancel At The Last Minute

#7 They Start Arguing Over Minor Stuff

Towers also states that they start arguing over stuff when they’re forced to hang out with you because they’ve run out of excuses. It could be anything from playing your music too loudly in the car, walking too slowly, or being one minute late.

They are basically doing everything they can to let you know that they’re fed up with you. But the hope is that you’ll get so sick of the constant digs that you decide to end the friendship. In this way, they don’t have to do it.

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This is a common tactic people use to get out of relationships. They make it impossible for the other person to do anything right. They keep criticizing them and arguing over the smallest thing that the person eventually gets fed up and leaves. 

#8 They Act Like They Don’t Want You Around

If your friend isn’t picking a fight with you, they’re totally sour-faced when they’re around you. They sit with their arms crossed and a scowl on their face.

They Act Like They Don't Want You Around

They’re always huffing and puffing and muttering under their breath. Your friend doesn’t need to say anything. Everything about their body language makes it very clear they don’t want to be around you. 

#9 You Make All The Effort

You make all the effort in the relationship by calling and texting first and inviting them out. If you don’t reach out, you won’t hear from them, that’s the way it’s been for a while now, but it hasn’t always been like this.

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Things were equal before; you contacted each other and never felt as if you were begging to maintain the friendship. Things have drastically changed, and you’re asking yourself, why is my friend suddenly distant?

Why Would Someone Distance Themselves From You?

When someone distances themselves from you, it could be due to personal issues, relationship problems, changes in feelings, or external factors.

It’s important to communicate with the person and try to understand their perspective. If the distance is due to personal issues or external factors, offer support and understanding.

Final Thought

As mentioned, give your friend space, but in the meantime, keep it moving.

Your friend is either distancing themselves because they’ve got stuff going on they don’t want to talk about, they’ve outgrown the friendship, or you’ve done something to upset them, and they want to take a break from you.

Whatever the reason, stay away until they’re ready to return, and if not, let bygones be bygones.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

1 thought on “What To Do When Friends Distance Themselves From You?”

  1. Excellent I recently broke up with someone and he still wants to be friends but I feel he doesn’t now because I told him that we need to have respect honesty and trust if we don’t have that then we need to say goodbye . I still care about him.


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