I feel that everytime I make a friend that i can see myself being friends with for a long time, that they always leave, stop talking to me, or become distant from me. The only time he/she talks to me is when the other friend isnt around. This happened before many times. I want to know why i always feel like i have no one to be close with or call my best friend. I think I have attachment issues.

A: I’m so glad that you’re reaching out for help to figure out this relationship pattern in your life. How long has this friendship pattern been going on? Shifting of friendships throughout adolescence is fairly normal as teens try to figure out who they are and where they belong socially, and this can be an extremely painful process. I’m curious how you handle it when your friends become “distant.” Learning coping skills to manage the feelings that come will friendship changes are really important. Are you able to approach your friend and ask what’s going on when you feel them pulling away? Do you stop talking to them to protect yourself? Do you feel extremely anxious and call and text them a lot?

Because this seems to be an ongoing pattern for you, I suggest that you talk with a parent, school counselor, or therapist about your concerns and seek some professional counseling. Also, joining a therapy group for teens may be a helpful resource. Groups are “relationship laboratories” where you can have a safe place to explore your patterns, get feedback about how you’re relating to others that might be unknowingly pushing them away.  Another suggestion I have for you is to read some books on this topic. Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend may be a good book to start with.

Friendships throughout the teen years can be very painful, and sometimes friends can be just plain mean as they try to navigate their social lives. Hang in there. Things do get better!

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW