Dear Therapist: Has the pandemic changed friendships?
Our weekly Dear Therapist column responds to your day-to-day mental health challenges
A friend of mine, who I thought I was close to, seems to have changed over the past one year of the pandemic. I get the impression she doesn’t ‘need’ me anymore, like she did earlier, and I am having a problem trying to reconcile to that. I’ve tried telling her that in a roundabout way, but she seems to be deflecting it deliberately. What should I do? — Name Withheld
Dear Writer, the pandemic has changed most of us and your friend may be one among them. There are a number of explanations for her behaviour and your interpretation that she doesn’t need you anymore. Perhaps, she is struggling or trying to make sense of what’s occurring around her and that is reflecting on the relationships or life, in general. You are assuming that the rupture and distance between the two of you is stemming from you, but we do not have clear evidence for it. Hence, I think it’s time you had a sit-down with her, to express your feelings, emphasising how important the friendship is to you. Be open and explore what might be going on in her life and then work towards being more direct. The dialogue will help you understand what your next course of action should be. I would also request you to explore your needs to check if, perhaps, you have changed too and require more support than you did pre-pandemic, which is equally valid.
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