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When Friends Disappoint You – What Can You Do?

By Linda Ward November 17, 2022 Lifestyle

Friends can bring joy in life. Trust and mutual respect between people bolster everything in life. Finding a friend that you can turn to in good times and in bad is precious and valuable. Unfortunately, this sweet relationship can sour over time which is downright disappointing to both involved. Consider the following points when thinking about your friend.

Everyone Has Their Own Life Journey They Are Walking Through

Sometimes it’s much deeper than we, as their friend, have realized. This can result in friends acting out of character or saying things that they haven’t really thought through.

Ask yourself, “Did they recently have someone pass away who was dear to them? Have they been sleepless and restless about something? Is something bothering them in their profession, life choices, or with their family?”

Can you give them some slack? There may be more happening than they have chosen to share. You don’t know every detail of your best friend’s life.

Friends Are Human Beings

Can you remember a time you may have let someone down? If you are alive, you have done this at one time or another. Human beings aren’t perfect. I believe they mostly do the best they can, just as you have, but there are blunders and mistakes made along life’s journey.

Their imperfection in a relationship can disappoint, just as your unintentional imperfection has been disappointing to someone else along the way. Remembering this will help you to give your friend some slack.

Did You Make Them Powerless?

Consider Sue and Liz, whose friendship spanned over 30 years. Before Liz married her second husband, Sue was there to hear Liz’s misgivings. Liz was being ignored and generally not being treated well by her man. When the girlfriends shared coffee time together, red flags popped up about Liz’s relationship.

Sue did her best to point out the trouble these red flags would result in, but Liz went through with the marriage. When the bottom started to fall apart for her friend, Sue was there. The divorce was messy and hurtful, with Liz’s husband doing things that truly made her feel like dirt.

Sue, as a true friend, stood by her, listening, inviting her over for dinners, playing cards, going shopping, and spending hours talking through the whole divorce pain. A few months after the divorce was final, Liz began to meet her ex for coffee dates and exchanging friendly texts with him. Sue warned her that this was not a good decision, and would have an effect on Liz’s choices, just like before.

This seemed to be a tipping point, where the actions of her friend had become too much, and Sue was, once again disregarded and powerless to help. Hours of support, listening, asking questions, and being there for Liz, to watch her reconnect in this way with her ex, let Sue down in a big crash.

When Sue related to her friend that she just couldn’t hear about the continued interaction with this selfish man anymore, Liz felt let down by her friend who was always there to give support. Sue felt let down by her friend who continually brought pain upon herself.

Have You Exhausted Them? Have They Exhausted You?

Due to whatever they are going through, has your friend exhausted you? Are you exhausting your friend with needing constant support and care? Take a good look at the friendship. Is most of the time spent discussing their needs and their life imbalance, or are your needs and your life always the priority?

Friendship needs to have both, a give and take of balanced input. There will be times that you have a crisis, and your friend will listen more than share, and vice versa. If you are always front and center in the relationship or they are always front and center, the balance is off. This will lead to burn out in the friendship. Something is going to give.

This Choice Preserves Friendships

Consider going to a counselor or a life coach. They are trained and skilled in creating a safe, unbiased, and nonjudgmental environment for you to discuss life’s challenges. Have you hurt relationships by being too needy, too possessive, and requiring more than your friends can give? Stop.

Friends are precious. Sometimes true friends are few and far between. Value them and preserve them by seeking other input for persistent life changing counsel and support. If your friend has indicated in various ways that they are burned out by discussing something, then turn to someone with the skill and experience to help you.

Many times, your health insurance will cover a large part of counseling fees. You may be unsure of spending money for a coach. Weigh the possibilities then try a 30-minute free discovery session that most coaches offer. Hold on to your dear friends by spending some of your money on this choice.

Other Ways to Preserve Friends

When meeting with a friend, occasionally make it all about them. If you’ve shared some heavy life stuff, and they have been there for you through thick and thin, please take some time to acknowledge them. Buy them a coffee, and let it be known that this time the chat is not going to include your issues.

Do a few things together where you don’t talk about stuff. Try a movie, then afterward talk only about the movie. Go shopping together for something you need and keep the conversation light. Attend a play, a concert, an event that you can enjoy together and take the pressure off solving issues.

Send a card or acknowledgment that they are special to you. Appreciate them. Let them know that hours of support are there for them if they ever need it.

Remember that true friendships can be saved, rebuilt, and stronger than before! True friendships can last through the years and hard times. Nothing happens until you are willing to start over by communicating about the conflict. Don’t write off a true, lifelong friendship. Treat it like you would pure gold.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you experienced a friendship going sour? What did you do to rescue it? Was it lost forever? Consider the friendship. Have you burned out your friend by complaining and being negative every time you meet? Have you ever apologized?

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Linda S.

My sense of self worth has improved and the friends that I chose in the past are not those I might choose today. It is not their fault that they are who they are or that they grew differently than me. I accept them. I limit my time with them, recognize their good side and look to myself more.

Linda Ward

There are many times that looking within is where you find your courage and strength!


I need to follow your lead. Don’t want to lose a friend, yet am unable to deal with their daily trauma.


This has happened in the last few years, 2 friends (I thought) ended our friendship for minor reasons. Someone sent me this “A “friend” who becomes an enemy for a little misunderstanding has been an enemy all along. They were just pretending.” I don’t miss them at all.


This is an encouraging article – which shares some realities about retirement and being cautious. I just read an article and viewed charts that showed as a person ages, he/she will spend less time with colleagues, family, and friends. In fact, someone in their 80’s is the most time alone than in earlier years. So if I can preserve friendships, that’s wonderful. But if I lose some, my world will not fall apart. Many friends are for a season. I will spend time in self-care, making up for the many years I have given and given selflessly to others: friends, family, work, church, sometimes or often to exhaustion – physically, emotionally and mentally. What is self-care to me? Anything I ignored or had no time for during younger working years: Improving self-talk; catching and questioning those negative thoughts about myself; Sleeping late or staying up late whenever I want to; Spending time to in prayer and scripture reading; Spending more quiet moments observing nature in my backyard; eating well and exercising in the way I love most – walking, walking, walking . . . It is a daily mission now to treat myself more kindly. I want to be a better friend to myself, my family, and those once in a lifetime small number of precious friends.


What a beautiful person you are! I resonate with all that you have written. If I had the pleasure of meeting you, I believe you would be a treasured friend of mine.

Linda Ward

You wrote so many wise things in your response.
I agree, some friends are for a season. Knowing this helps to let them go if need be.
Many of us have done what you mentioned, selflessly given of ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We have been there, and done that!
Most importantly, your solutions for self talk, self care, sleep and more..are incredibly healthy and balanced! I hope we all follow your lead Jeanne, and focus on taking good care of ourselves. Linda

Linda Ward

You are one strong lady! Thank you for sharing how you are taking care of yourself now, after giving selflessly for many years…(as many of us have also done). We can learn from you Jeanne. 💙

Annie H.

Thank you so much for sharing this helpful article. It’s such a great reminder. Happy holidays!



Very good advice. Thank you!

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The Author

Linda Ward is a Writer and Life Coach living in Minnesota. She specializes in helping mature women find everyday happiness and a satisfying life. She zeroes in on life after divorce, retirement transitions, and finding courage no matter what the circumstances. Her inspiring new eBook is called, Crazy Simple Steps to Feeling Happier. Linda’s Professional background is Social Work and Counseling.

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