Firstly, before I elaborate on my issue, I would like to say that I really appreciate all the kindness and good work done by the therapists on this site in helping people.
My issue started when I became close friends with a guy while on an overseas exchange. We did everything together and shared many secrets and happy memories. In many ways, it was a healthy and reciprocal friendship. However, upon our return back to college, being insecure and never having much close friends, I began to be afraid that we would drift apart and thus became needy/clingy.
After awhile (1 month), he got annoyed and started to drift away. He told me I was being needy to which I realized my mistake, apologized and gave him space. But even after significantly reducing contact, he was still cold and continued to drift away which inevitably made me even more needy.
It became a vicious cycle and I have tried all ways to restore the friendship such as telling him how much the friendship means to me and always trying to help him in school work and other stuff. This has been going on for 2 years and it has taken a huge toll on me mentally. I am starting to become depressed and develop anxiety issues while my self-esteem is at rock bottom.
I just simply cannot understand that no matter how much I try to apologize and make up to him by helping him with stuff and doing nice things, he has refused to forgive me for my initial neediness. (although he does accept my help and replies with just a one word “thanks”) I don’t even expect to return to the same level of closeness but simply that he treats me like any normal friend. Instead whenever I talk to him he often replies without looking at me, tries to avoid me and his text replies are often very short.
He knows this issue has been affecting me deeply and I have told him how depressed I have become but he does not seem to make any effort to treat me better. Even though we have to work together sometimes, he expects me to act normally (which is to not constantly apologize) even though he treats me poorly, which is really hard to do. (talking to him about this issue and asking him if he could treat me better seems to make him angrier. I have tried many times.)
I have tried everything and I just cannot accept that my friend has refused to forgive me for my neediness even though I have tried to make up to him for 2 years. I blame myself everyday for screwing up the closest friendship I ever had. Please help and advise me on how to proceed as I am lost. Thank you so much for reading this long post!! I really appreciate it.
A: Thank you for writing us here at PsychCentral.
You learned that neediness sometimes drives people away to the point where they can’t return. This is a powerful, important and nearly universal reaction. The only reasonable way to move forward is to forgive your friend, honor his need to stay separated and use the lessons from this friendship in your next ones.
Mature relationships focus on reciprocity, mutual vulnerability and the ability to celebrate each other. Since these features were not present in this relationship I think it is time to turn the page on this one — and take lessons forward into the next.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2014
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Close Friend Angry with Me for 2 Years. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/20/close-friend-angry-with-me-for-2-years/