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How to heal a failing friendship
Shilpa Shet
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September 05, 2007

Ruksana Ahmed says she does not have a best friend. "From the day me and my best friend had a falling out, I stopped believing in best friends," she remarks.

This law student from Mumbai says she was very close to her school friend. Theirs was the regular friendship tale -- they did everything together and were very happy. Then they grew up and took different vocational studies. "I joined law and she joined medicine. We now had different paths professionally," recollects Ruksana.

The rift began when they realised that they couldn't spend as much time together. "I would call her up regularly to ask if she had time to meet. She always seemed busy," she recalls.

Then one day Ruksana just landed up at her friend's residence. "That's when I realised that she had a new bunch of friends," says Ruksana, "She did not have time for me because she was spending time with her new friends."

So, what did Ruksana do? "Well, I questioned her and asked her if she valued me as a friend. She said she did. However, things did not improve even then," she adds, "She still kept ignoring me."

Ruksana says she tried a few more times to get to talk to her friend. "I even pleaded with her to meet me. She met me but again was very aloof. It was then that I realised that she had drifted away from me. It was very difficult for me to accept," she recollects.

After she last dialogue with her friend, she says she lost weight and refused to take part in any festivity at home. "I would sulk all day. For me my best friend was everything. I am a very emotional person. That episode has scarred me for life. I now am very careful before making any new friends," she says with a sigh.

Patience helps
One can understand her state. A slight disagreement with your best friend can upset you greatly. "When you can't talk to your best friend, it's as if your day is incomplete," says Vaibhav Prasad, "We talk to each other everyday and try to meet up every alternate day. So far we have never had a disagreement. But I can imagine how traumatic it would be if we had fought."

Anuradha Sathe, marketing professional from Vishakhapatnam says, "If the person is close enough and wants to be with you, it will work out eventually. The most important thing is to keep communicating. It could be something as small as a one line SMS. But that will imply that you care for that person."

She says if things don't get any better, she would find time to meet with the person and discuss the matter. "Try to get the person in a good mood. People can get angry with you. Sometimes we tend to question our own motives, so it is obvious that your friends can question you too. Finally, we have to understand it is not a game. You have to keep reinforcing the sentiment that whatever the matter, that person's place in my life will always be intact."

She feels eventually the person will come around and the friendship will be re-established. "Breaks happen due to a mismatch of expectations," she adds, "It can happen to couples who are married too. But the only thing that can hold a relationship is trust. If you trust each other enough the friendship will survive any difficulty."

Here are a few easy tips to help you get over your crisis with your friend:

~ Get to the root of the problem. It could be something as simple as writing down where and how it all went wrong.

~ Cajole your friend into meeting you. Create an ambience that you know your friend loves.

~ Discuss the points that you have written down. Tell your friend that you are willing to do x-y-z things to keep the relationship going.

~ Surprise your friend by landing up at their home or work place. Take care to know their schedules. Otherwise you might end up irritating him or her more.

~ Get your friend to do something that you both enjoy doing together, such as taking a walk down your favorite road, having ice cream at your favorite parlour, clubbing, or just curling up at home with your favorite movie.

~ Don't bombard your friend with your needs. Do one activity, watch how your friend reacts to it. If the reaction is positive, go ahead try the next thing in your list. If the reaction is not too heartening, wait! Try again after a few days.

~ Talk to your friend's family or other friends to find out if there are any other problems bothering him or her. Do this discreetly since your friend might not like the inquisition.

~ Give your friend a warm smile every time you meet. It needs to be reassuring.

~ Stay calm and be patient.
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