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How should I respond? Any ideas, please?


Abby
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I'm not entirely sure how to respond to this situation.

 

A friendship of 8 years took an unexpected turn for the worst two years ago. My friend's life situation changed when she moved to a different part of the country. She seemed happy and soon settled but I noticed there was less interest on her part in our friendship yet in the now rare communication I received from her, as well as her active family life, she'd have an active social life with new friends.

 

I still tried to maintain contact but encountered many months of silence; I was lucky to hear from her twice a year. Right from the beginning of our friendship, we'd exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts and included our children as they came along.

 

When she moved, along with the months of silence, she'd never thank me for any gifts I'd sent her way and if an event occurred in my household, she'd either ignore it completely or was late in sending a card. I suspected financial trouble and understood even though she never admitted it but what bothered me was her not saying "thank you" when I sent something. I wondered if this was her way of getting us out of this gift-swapping situation in which she may have felt uncomfortable. I wouldn't have minded had she said something to the effect of, "Do you mind if we don't do this? I can't afford it anymore and I feel uncomfortable it being one-sided."

 

Earlier this year, despite my still grieving over the friendship, I'd practically written it off. I was tired of the negativity I was feeling whenever I corresponded with her thinking that this was yet another thing she'd ignore. But since August, it's like she's "switched on" again. I was both delighted and suspicious. I couldn't help but wonder what was suddenly missing in her life to make her become attentive towards me.

 

I sent her words of condolences when I learned there was a problem in her life and she replied to words of friendship about my son going into hospital for major surgery. I had told her a year ago when I first learned he was going to have the operation and up until then, she'd said nothing at all which was another thing that made me wonder if she no longer wanted a friendship with me.

 

Since then, I've had regular contact from her. I've responded, of course, because I'm not one to ignore people.

 

I've just heard from her again yesterday asking what size my children are as she intends to get them clothing for Christmas. I honestly believed she wanted out of this gift swapping and I'm not sure how to respond to it. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to do this anymore mainly because I don't think I could take another year of her not saying "thank you," (assuming she wouldn't).

 

What do you guys think? Am I being a little paranoid? Or do you think this could be a genuine gesture?

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hello there,

 

I understand you have had some issues with a friend in the past. I also understand out of the blue she has begun contacting you more regularly.

 

I'd take this as maybe she has turned over a new leaf. During that time when you were sending her gifts and things, perhaps she was going through a hard time she did not mention. When my mother died, I didn't talk to most of my friends who lived far away until I started working again 3 months later. I'm still regaining contact with some of them. It is something to take into consideration.

 

I don't blame you for being suspicious, and if you feel too guarded to trust her completely, keep your guard up until you feel she has proven a true and genuine change in herself. You have to go by your own instinct, although I would suggest keeping an open mind.

 

Best wishes!

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Thanks for your response. I really appreciate it.

 

I know when she moved to a different area, she was leaving behind an unhappy marriage to start a new live with her new partner so I know she was happy despite getting used to four children instead of just her two and then having another baby within a year of being there.

 

She'd settled socially very well, making many new friends (something I was unable to do when I moved out of the area for a while) and it's easy to see she wanted to spend time with them and enjoyed their company. I basically felt I'd been put to the bottom of a great big pile. I didn't expect her constant attention, by any means but when I asked how she was, I expected her to reply no matter how short it was, but she didn't

 

Thanks again for your input. It has helped.

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