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I have a good friend who moved away. Now she basically ignores me. What do I do?


I have a good friend who moved away. Now that she lives 20 minutes away, she basically ignores meóeven when Iím invited over to her house for family functions. Iím still good friends with her brother and am trying to be a good person, but I donít know what to do.óDanelle, 16, OR

Shayna Answers:

Dear Danelle,

Your submission of this question shows that you are both a good person and a good friend. As far as why your friend may be acting this way, there are a few possible explanations.
We all handle stress differently. A big move away from our school, friends, and church is sometimes enough to make people feel lost. Likely your friend is responding to the shift in stability in her life by changing how she interacts with you.
It’s also possible that as she’s settling into her new life and environment, she’s having diffi-culty incorporating her old life and friends into it. Hopefully she’ll realize that her old friends are as much a part of her life as the new ones are.
As for what you should do in the meantime, if you haven’t already asked your friend what the problem is,  try talking to her. After all, it’s entirely possible that something else has happened in addition to the move. If she ignores you during this conversation, still let her know that you care by saying something such as, “You don’t have to talk to me now, but I’m still going to be here for you.”
Since the two families are friends, you’ll likely still have to spend time with her family in the future. So when you’re at her house, it’s important to maintain your friendships with her siblings and parents, whether or not your friend chooses to acknowledge your presence. Remember, the only person’s behavior for which you can be held responsible is your own.
Try forming new friendships when you’re at her house. If there are other families present, get to know their kids. Or hang out with your friend’s brother when you’re over there. For whatever reason, your friend is seeking space from the situation, continually harassing her about what her problem is will only make the situation worse. Instead, give her the space she wants.
I realize that what I’m telling you to do will be extremely difficult. Just remember that Proverbs 17:17 says that “a friend loves at all times.”
None of us are perfect, and we all go through times when we say things we don’t mean and unintentionally hurt those we really care about. Being a good friend means being willing to give your friend the benefit of the doubt, even when she’s acting strange.
In the meantime Psalm 37:8 encourages you not to “fret,” because “it leads only to evil.” Finally, Matthew 11:19 reminds us that “wisdom is proved right by her actions.”
Whether or not your friend comes around, it’s important to show your unconditional love for her. Pray for your friend, too. It’s the most effective thing you can do to understand the situation. Remember, that one of the most important things Jesus asks us to do is to love our neighbors” (Matthew 22:39).

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