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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Once a friend, now a stranger

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: How do you cope with a friendship where the person stays connected just enough to continually remind you of how unimportant you are?

I have a friend with whom I was once quite close. We exercised and ran errands together, and when she was seriously ill, I spent countless hours visiting, reading to her and just being there. I donated to her charities, sang in her choir, and we always had fun together.

But after I was diagnosed with the same illness (now recovered), she visited me only twice and now seems too busy to get together. That would be bad enough. But the real problem is that she texts me often to say how much she misses me or to ask for a favor, but apparently never wants to see me. It’s a sad reminder of how little she is willing to do to maintain the friendship.

We live in a small town and I can’t cut her off without repercussions. Is my only option to simply live with the disappointment? – Friend in Need

Dear Friend: You have another option: Talk to her about it. Not everyone is good about friendship maintenance. Some people become so busy that they neglect people who are otherwise important to them, and don’t recognize that this behavior is hurtful. For them, texting becomes a convenient substitute for face-to-face interactions that require scheduling and organization.

You won’t know whether this is the case unless you ask your friend directly. We hope she will be completely honest about the reasons for her dismissive attitude. At the very least, you will be able to determine how much she cares by how sincerely apologetic she is and whether she does anything to remedy the situation. After all, what do you have to lose?

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