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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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It took me a lifetime to realize that there needs to be a balance in friendship. For far too many years, I was the one who was always there for friends in so many ways without realizing that the scale was tipped in the other direction. It took various life events for me to see this clearly and to gradually move on, leaving these types of friends behind. Now I’m beginning to find real friendships. What a difference!


48 years l had this friend.l listened and supported her through lives ups and downs, divorce,her life full of dramas.
My husband and l decided to move away and retire early.A wonderful decision.
She never asked if we sold the house, where we were going or spoke to me ever again.
It hurt but thinking about it she was a selfish taker ,never a giver it was all one way traffic her way.
She did me a massive favour and l do not miss her dramas and crisis ridden life.
Sometimes its best to let go and move on for peace of mind.

Linda Ward

Thank you for sharing your story. Some people are “selfish takers,” who only concentrate on their own lives. You found this out in an unusual way, but nevertheless, it showed itself. I like the last line you wrote, “Sometimes its best to let go and move on for peace of mind.”


I have not had one friend who hasn’t betrayed or disappointed me. I gradually distanced myself fom allbut 2 of them. They have disappointed me also when I asked for help a few years ago. They both have had something going on in there lives that they had to deal with at the time. The others were very controlling and always were telling what to do. I just got sick of it. Since they have been out of my life I am much happier a d less stressed. It was time to move on.

Linda Ward

There are times that moving on is the only way to relieve your own stress over a friend’s life drama.


I lost my husband recently and also moved….it was and is, a terrible time for me. Instead of being there for me, My “Best” Friend of over 50 years blocked my calls and sent me a scathing note to ask a therapist what to do! I did not burden her, call her incessantly, cry to her, I only expected her to BE THERE…as I have been for her! She did this 30 years ago when I was the one in need, then, too! I forgave her and she told me she was so sad without me…she would never to do that letters, friendship cards, notes..all the time! Now again, when needed..disappearance. Devastating! My therapist said never speak to her again…but it really hurts!😢

Linda Ward

Hi Susan,
I’m relieved to read that you work with a therapist. It takes guts to seek help other than with friends, and it takes letting go of some $$. Friends are not equipped to help with some things, and seeking help from a professional is the way to go.
That being said, I am so sorry that a dear friend of 50 years has blocked you. That’s incredibly painful! I’m also sorry about the loss of your husband. Two big losses, and a move. I wish you the best as you continue to work through these issues, and encourage you to take care to find everyday happiness in the small things of life.

Mary T. Lynch

This is a very well written article. Sometimes we can talk too much about our own problems to our friends and that can be quite exhausting to them.

Linda Ward

You’re right Mary.
It does help to talk things out, but friends may not be the best place to do this. Therapists or life coaches are a way to get unbiased encouragement in finding everyday happiness through the pain.

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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