Most of the relationships and friendships in your life won’t last. I don’t mean to sound so negative but it’s just one of the truths of life. Be that as it may, we shouldn’t just give up on friendships without putting up a fight. So, in this article, I want to share some of my experiences on what to do when your friend won’t respond.
What you don’t want to do is blow up at them. Don’t overreact and certainly don’t beg them to respond to you. A friendship operates primarily on respect and so you need to behave with some self-respect.
More often than not, a friend won’t respond to you if they’re upset about something you said or did.
In this case, the best thing to do is bring up the issue and offer an apology for hurting their feelings. The goal is to be sincere and non-confrontational.
If the reason why they won’t respond has nothing to do with you, the only thing you can really do is express your desire to talk to them and then give them some space.
They’ll reach out when they are ready to talk.
Now that you have a rough idea of what we will be discussing in this article, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what to do when your friend won’t respond to you.
1. Approach them in a non-confrontational manner
When I had an issue with a long-time friend, out of frustration and confusion, I decided to approach them in a straightforward and direct manner to squash the beef and make amends.
Instead of clarity, I was met with defensiveness and a cold shoulder. This was disheartening and led to a verbal exchange that created more problems.
My intention was to fix the problem between us but the opposite took place.
I realized at that moment that with some people if you approach them head on, they will take it in a confrontational manner.
Irrespective of what your intentions are, they’ll take it as an excuse to have a bigger fight or to shun you.
With that in mind, approach your friend in a casual and soft manner. Try to maintain a smile, ask them if they’re free to chat for a bit and choose a location that is appropriate for this conversation.
If you’re doing it over text, try to avoid being too formal.
Here’s an example of how to approach your friend the right way – “Hey X, can we chat? I haven’t heard back from you in a while and I’m worried that you’re upset with me. If so, I’d really like to know so I can make things right or explain my side of the story.”
It’s simple, it addresses that there’s a problem and it’s non-confrontational.
Related post: How to know if your friend is mad at you
2. Apologize for your mistake
If your friend opens up to you or makes it known that you upset them, the next logical and expected step is to apologize.
If up until now, you’ve only been defensive without acknowledging their feelings, it could be the reason why your friend won’t respond to you.
Try to be objective and ask yourself if it’s your fault for what went wrong between the two of you.
If their reason for being upset with you is legit or you can pinpoint something you said or did to upset them, then apologizing for your mistake or actions is the right thing to do.
Some friends will wait for an apology before returning to the friendship.
Others, however, will not, even if you apologize.
I remember last year, I tried apologizing to my friend for taking a bit too long to reply to their texts.
I was met with resistance and rudeness. I tried to set this aside but it didn’t make a difference.
I realized that the ‘punishment’ didn’t match the crime. I was being treated like crap for something that didn’t deserve that level of rudeness.
At that point, it dawned on me that my apology didn’t mean much because this particular friend didn’t respect me.
So, I stopped apologizing. It may be your duty to apologize for a mistake but it isn’t your duty to endure blatant disrespect in return.
3. Speak to a mutual friend
When your friend won’t respond to you even if you’ve apologized or tried to ascertain why they’re so upset with you, it could be helpful to speak to a mutual friend.
In most cases, your friend would go to rant or share their feelings about the situation with that friend.
Perhaps your mutual friend could shed some light on the situation which will help you to fix things.
A few years ago, two of my good friends had a fall out. To be more specific, one of them was upset with the other who was completely in the dark as to why.
Expectedly, that friend came to me to explain why they were upset. I was able to intervene and mediate to find a resolution.
And it worked.
Sometimes, friends do this because they want a mutual friend to explain the problem to the other.
It won’t hurt to ask.
4. Don’t get angry or overreact
Recalling that issue I had with my friend, I can tell that I made the mistake of getting angry when he didn’t react in the manner that I expected.
This taught me a valuable lesson.
Expectations can often lead to disappointment or emotional turmoil.
You can’t control how someone feels or how they will react to an apology.
Just because you apologized doesn’t mean that they’re willing to forgive or forget.
They may be polite or they may react poorly.
If you are expecting them to be kind and they aren’t, then that’s going to rattle you.
For this reason, I encourage you to simply apologize sincerely and let the cards fall where they may.
If your friend responds kindly, you’d feel great. If they respond negatively, you’ll be in control of your emotions. If they don’t respond at all, you’ll walk away without causing more issues or hurting yourself.
Related post: How to know when a friendship is over
5. Don’t beg or chase your friend
There’s only so much you can do with a friend who won’t respond to you.
Whether you deserve to be ignored or not, it isn’t healthy for you to chase after someone who simply refuses to forgive you.
This is especially true if the problem that exists between the two of you isn’t that bad or just a misunderstanding.
The more you chase after this friend who won’t respond, the more desperate you look.
It’s going to make you feel pathetic, especially if you keep getting ignored.
You have to take care of yourself.
The way I look at it is like this – should you be rewarding someone for treating you poorly by chasing after them?
Not all the friendships in your life will last forever.
A lot of them will eventually end. What matters is that you surround yourself with those who actually want to be in your life.
6. Give them space
When your friend won’t respond to you despite countless attempts of contacting them or making amends, it might be time for you to just give them space.
Some people need a lot of time to cool down.
They may acknowledge and appreciate your apology but it’s possibly too soon for them to forgive you.
In such an event, you should just respect their wishes and wait for them to reach out to you.
Alternatively, you can reach out to them in the future and gauge their reaction.
By giving them space, you also create enough distance that helps your friend to miss you.
As human beings, we are not designed to stay angry all our lives. On the contrary, we prefer reconciliation over enmity.
So, in time, your friend may get over the situation and be willing to work on the friendship again.
If they don’t, well then at least you can walk away with your dignity and self respect intact.
What we also need to consider is that your friend just needs some space away from everyone.
It may not be personal at all. They may have absolutely no problem with you. But, they’re dealing with something challenging and they need time away from everyone.
The best thing you can do is to let your friend know that you care about them and you’re waiting to hear back from them soon.
When they’re ready to talk, I’m sure they will.
Related post: How to know if a friendship is worth saving
Knowing what to do when your friend won’t respond can be quite intimidating if you have no idea what’s going on.
I just hope that the advice in this article has given you some practical steps to take to save your friendship and to avoid more unnecessary drama.
Trust me when I tell you that I completely understand how stressful it can be to deal with something like this.
But, you have to be patient.
It will serve you well.
With that being said, I truly hope you found this article on what to do when your friend won’t respond to be insightful and thought-provoking. Be sure to leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.