Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5)
You and your group of friends are as close as ever when all of a sudden they stop answering your phone calls, keep coming up with excuses why they can’t hang out and then altogether turn silent on you. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you’ve been through that years ago and still feel pangs of jealousy seeing them share their hangout sessions on social media, or perhaps you’re right in the middle of this and are wondering “What’s going on?”
There are times in life when you may drift away from certain friends because of a new life phase or you’re now going to different schools, but what I want to talk about today is the heartbreaking experience of being rejected and abandoned by close friends. How do you cope when your support system vanishes into thin air?
Here are four things to consider so that you can deal with this transition in a healthy and God-centered way.
1. Try to talk it out. If you’ve been asking your friends to spend time with you and they’ve come up with every reason under sun as to why they can’t, it might help to get to the bottom of things if you confront the situation head-on. Let them know you have something important you’d like to talk about and see if they’re willing to chat on the phone or meet for coffee. By their response, you can usually tell if your friendship is still valuable to them or if the season for this friendship is over. You may find that there was a misunderstanding among you all that needed to be straightened out or, unfortunately, you may come to the realization that you’re the only one still treasuring your group of friends. If that’s the case, pray for God to help mend your heart and help you to move forward and build a new community of friends. It never hurts to pray for them as well so that God can help them with whatever it is that caused these circumstances.
2. Do some self-examination. It’s hard enough that you feel abandoned, so you may not want to admit that it was because of something you might have done. I remember some of my friends telling me that they didn’t like the way I joked at their expense, or that it seemed like I wasn’t compassionate about difficult things they were going through. If I hadn’t taken it seriously when they brought it up, it could have resulted in the demise of our relationship. Ask God to help you see if there were times you didn’t want to hear your friends out or love them in a healthier way. You may be able to turn things around by being repentant and allowing God to work out some negative character traits in your life.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
3. Ask God to reveal to you if this was answered prayer. Have you ever been stressed out by the drama that’s been coming up within your relationships with these close friends? Were their habits and interests leading you away from God? Lately, do you feel like you have nothing in common with them other than that you go to the same school or work at the same job? Remember your prayer times with The Lord. He could be answering your prayer to lead you away from people who gossip, to help you focus more on your walk with God or to help you feel more included and understood by your peers.
4. Unplug from their “social feed.” I’m sure I’m not the only one who has looked through old friends’ social profiles to see how they’re doing, only to end up digging into a wound I thought was mended by now. If you’re still feeling hurt just seeing what they’re up to, it’s best to unfriend, unfollow and unsubscribe until you’re completely healed from this experience. You may find after time that you no longer have the urge to check in and you’ve been able to move on.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
This process doesn’t feel good for anyone because community is something that God calls us to have. Once we’ve opened our arms and our hearts to people we care for, it’s not an easy thing to detach ourselves from those feelings. I promise you, this too shall pass. Stay prayerful about who you allow into your life, and God will lead you to friends you can treasure throughout your future.
If you found this helpful, you may also want to read “A Guide to Letting Go and Holding on to Friendships.”
Do you have any additional advice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!