I believe we can learn a lot from each other’s difficulties and accomplishments. I created the Ask Dr. Michelle column to share my advice with many people at the same time, who although they don’t know it, are often facing some of the same challenges. I hope that my comments provide you with some insight into situations that you are facing in your life. If you have a question that you want me to answer, submit it below. I wish you all the best. (I try to answer as many questions as possible, but please understand that due to the number of questions that I receive I am not able to answer every question.)
I need some advice. I have a friend who when I need someone to talk to seems as if she’s never there. While talking to her on the phone she either talks to others in the background, doesn’t respond back, or says “What did you say again?” I am very hurt by this because recently when I called her to talk, I was very upset about a dying family member and she did the same things. But meanwhile, when she’s having man problems she calls me day or night and I give her my undivided attention. What should I do?
I know that it can be difficult confronting someone, but there is only one way around this situation and that is for you to tell your “friend” how her behavior makes you feel. You don’t want to attack her or jump down her throat–just wait for a calm moment when you can peacefully, yet honestly, tell her how it makes you feel when she doesn’t give you her full attention when the two of you are talking. The example of needing her attention when you were trying to discuss your feelings about your dying family member is a perfect example to bring up. It’s okay to tell her that you value her friendship enough to pay close attention when she is talking to you and that you need her to pay attention to you when you need help as well.
Although we both know how rude she has acted, if this is the first time you have mentioned your feelings to her, you have to understand that she may not have realized how rude she’s been acting, so give her a chance to make some changes. If she does it again in the future, remind her right then and there that she is doing it again. If she doesn’t stop, then you need to find someone else to talk to and depend on. What’s the point of talking to her if she isn’t listening anyway? That is enough to make your mood go from bad to worse and it’s a sign that you need to find another friend to confide in and share your feelings with. Maybe when she notices that you, the person who always gave her your undivided attention, are now becoming friends with someone who cares about listening to your life, she might wake up and smell the coffee.