4 Healthy Ways To Deal With A Friend Who Keeps Ignoring You (2023)

Friendships can be fickle. One minute they're great, but the next, it can feel like someone put up a wall between you for reasons you don’t understand. So, what do you do when you suddenly realize your friend is ignoring your texts, calls, and invitations to hang out? Knowing the correct response and how to work past problems in friendships isn’t always simple, but it can help ensure you stand up for yourself and your emotions without overstepping any boundaries.

In most cases, relationships (with friends, family members, partners — you name it) occur cyclically. While you may wish friendships were always on a “high,” the reality is that there are peaks and valleys. In the same way that we accept and allow romantic relationships to ebb and flow, we should approach friendships the same way. There will be times when things are great, and other periods where issues will inevitably arise. If you feel like you're being ignored, then chances are, you're in one of these valleys.

Still, most people don’t invest the same emotional energy and effort in friendships as they do in romantic or family relationships. Psychologist and friendship expert Dr. Marisa Franco says this is likely because we tend to compartmentalize what makes a friendship successful, as opposed to other types of relationships. “Research finds that people are less likely to have that open conflict in their friendships, compared to romantic relationships,” she tells Elite Daily. “Often, when people have a problem with their friend, they don't bring it up, and instead they just choose to distance themselves or to leave the relationship altogether.”

Having open conflict in an empathic way actually creates more closeness in any relationship, including a platonic one. That being said, here’s what friendship experts have to say about what it might mean when a friend ignores you, how to identify the problem, and the ways to find a solution.

Why It Feels Like A Friend Is Ignoring You

It can be difficult to figure out why a friend is ignoring you all of a sudden and how to respond to the situation. A friend ignoring you can manifest in many different ways, according to Franco. It can be anything from not hearing back from a friend for a while, always being the only person reaching out, seeing your friend hang out with other people without inviting you, or generally just feeling like something is off, but nobody is addressing it directly.

As friendship expert and connection coach Kat Vellos explains, any time there's an imbalance or lack of reciprocity in a friendship, it can feel like one person ignoring the other, but perception is not always reality. “The act of ignoring is a willful action — it means purposely avoiding giving attention or response to another,” Vellos tells Elite Daily. “So, we need to be aware that our interpretation is not necessarily reality. Someone may not be giving [you] their attention if their mind and calendar are focused on other things, but it doesn't mean that they are willfully choosing to ignore you directly.”

There are plenty of situations when a friend doesn't reply in a long time that aren’t purposeful or malicious. People get busy and don't always realize they're blocking others out. For example, let's say your friend just got a new job in a new city. Whereas they used to live five minutes away and have a predictable schedule that left them with a lot of free time, they're now in a new city with fresh challenges and obligations.

It could simply be a byproduct of a demanding schedule that requires more of your friend’s time and energy. Or maybe they are dealing with something in their life that is taking up time or emotional space, such as caring for someone else or dealing with their own mental health. Vellos recommends resisting the urge to make up a story about why your friend isn't reaching out, because you truly don’t always know what is going on, no matter how close you are.

Still, it can be hurtful to feel as though you’re being ignored by someone you care about. After all, friendships are incredibly influential in our lives. “Friends are just really important for our sense of who we are, and for us to experience the richness and the depth and the fullness of who we are,” says Franco. Prioritizing friendships throughout life is associated with better health and well-being, according to a 2021 study from Michigan State University — and in some cases, close friendships may be even more psychologically beneficial than positive relationships with family members.

If things go south with a friend, or at least you feel like that’s the case, it can feel like a deeply personal loss. “When we suspect that our friend might be purposely ignoring us, it's painful because it might mean that we’re not important enough to them to be a priority,” Vellos says.

However, it’s essential not to assume the worst or take things too personally if you haven’t talked with your friend. “A friend’s behavior may be out of alignment with what our personal needs and desires are, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person wants to hurt us,” Vellos says. “Instead of playing psychic, invite a conversation to really learn and understand the other person.” The only way to fully understand what’s going on is to have a conversation about it.

How To Handle The Situation

If you feel like you're being ignored — whether purposefully or unintentionally — it's important to take action and get to the root cause, but in an emotionally thoughtful way. Sometimes when you feel hurt, it’s easy to go on the offensive. “When we are in a state of suffering, we tend to be more egocentric,” Franco says.

That being said, here are four ways to deal with a friend who ignores you, according to the experts:

1. Talk It Out

The ultimate way to get clarity is to have a conversation with your friend, keeping in mind that you want to avoid coming off as blaming or attacking them. “Try to avoid making accusations that will cause them to feel like they did something wrong or that would put them on the defensive,” explains Vellos. “Instead, focus on observations of facts, and share your feelings and requests.”

Sending something simple such as, “Hey, I noticed I haven't heard back from you the last couple of times I tried to reach out, so I just want to check in to see what might be going on on your end” should do the trick to get things started. Approach the situation from a place of love and respect. “[The] first step is to frame the discussion by indicating to your friend that you bring up this problem because you value the relationship,” says Franco.

While smartphones and social media are great for communication, meeting face-to-face is the best way to go about resolving something like this, as facial expressions and body language make things easier for both parties to understand each other. So, if you can, try to get together in person with your friend for a conversation about the issue.

2. Take Care Of Yourself

If you begin to think that a friend is ignoring you, it might feel painful or difficult to do anything about it immediately. If that’s the case, Franco recommends taking time to take care of yourself. “Don't trivialize your feelings,” she says.

When a friend hurts you by ghosting you, even if it’s accidental or you don’t know the entirety of the situation yet, prioritizing self-care is essential, because if you don’t, it’s easy to ruminate on the issue and feel despondent. Allowing yourself to spiral might make you forget that you are ultimately trying to figure out a solution that will work for both you and your friend. “Take a beat, take a pause, and take a breath,” Franco advises.

3. Talk To Another Friend

Another part of self-care is finding a healthy outlet to express your feelings, so confiding in another friend can be incredibly cathartic in this situation. “It’s uncertainty that really feels unraveling for us, and when we confide in people, it really improves our mental health and well-being, because our feelings need to complete or be expressed,” says Franco.

If feelings of isolation and inadequacy are bubbling up as a result of someone ignoring you, spending time with another friend who cares about you can help bring you out of those depths and remind you of the importance of your platonic relationships. If your friendship is strong, you should be able to move past a rough patch with any of your good friends.

4. If Needed, Move On

At the end of the day, there are some things you can’t control. If you've exhausted all your options and made no progress, there comes a time when you just need to move on.

Perhaps you talked to your friend and found that the reason they’re not giving you as much attention as you'd like is because they actually don't feel as invested in the friendship as you do. “That might sting at first, but be grateful that you received clarity — you no longer have to wonder what's happening or why,” says Vellos. Or, alternatively, maybe you’ve tried to reach out and rekindle your friendship, but they are unwilling to do so and keep ignoring you.

In both of these cases, it’s time to accept that the friendship has ended and allow yourself to grieve, however long that timeline may be, explains Franco. Mourning a friendship will always be painful, but it’s important to remember the parts of it that were positive in your life. “Make meaning of the friendship, and think about what you did get out of this friendship,” she says. “Think: ‘This is what it revealed to me about what my deeper needs are in friendships going forward.’”

Ultimately, there is no one answer of what to do if a friend is ignoring you, but it is important to keep in mind that things are usually not as bad as they seem. Hopefully, you can have an honest conversation with your bestie about ways to repair the relationship and move your friendship forward together.

Study referenced:

Lu, P., Oh, J., Leahy, K. E., & Chopik, W. J. (2021). Friendship Importance Around the World: Links to Cultural Factors, Health, and Well-Being. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 570839. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.570839


Dr. Marisa Franco, psychologist and friendship expert

Kat Vellos, friendship expert and connection coach

This article was originally published on


4 Healthy Ways To Deal With A Friend Who Keeps Ignoring You? ›

I'm worried” This is the foremost thing to ask that person if they haven't been replying to you. Asking them about their current state of mind will let them know that you're eager to talk to them, no matter the situation. You would be surprised how much this simple question can affect people.

What to do if your friend keeps ignoring you? ›

If you think a friend is ignoring you, here are some things to consider:
  1. Don't automatically make it personal. Yes, it affects you, but when friends distance themselves, it may have nothing to do with you. ...
  2. Don't get defensive. ...
  3. Give space. ...
  4. Find alternatives to talking it out. ...
  5. Let some things go. ...
  6. Reconsider your friendship.
Nov 28, 2022

What to say to a friend who is ignoring you for no reason? ›

I'm worried” This is the foremost thing to ask that person if they haven't been replying to you. Asking them about their current state of mind will let them know that you're eager to talk to them, no matter the situation. You would be surprised how much this simple question can affect people.

How do you respond to being ignored? ›

How Do You Respond To Being Ignored?
  1. Take a step back. Your partner may simply need some space to collect their thoughts and deal with their own emotions. ...
  2. Distract yourself. ...
  3. Check if they are actually ignoring you. ...
  4. Try not to overreact. ...
  5. Communicate.
Aug 3, 2020

What to text a friend who is ignoring you? ›

Texts to be sent to someone who's ignoring you
  • 01/6Texts to be sent to someone who's ignoring you. ...
  • 02/6“Are you alright? ...
  • 03/6“I'm here for you whenever you want to talk” ...
  • 04/6“I'm sad that we aren't talking right now” ...
  • 05/6“So this happened today…” ...
  • 06/6“I'm sorry and I respect your space”
Jun 2, 2021

How do you know if your friend doesn't value you? ›

They're never around in difficult times

So, being too busy, citing excuses, or flaking out on you every time you need help or support is one of the unmistakable signs your friend doesn't truly care about you.

When should you stop reaching out to a friend? ›

You don't feel good about yourself with them

You might have different values or want different things from life, or you might find yourself comparing your life with theirs in a way that makes you unhappy. Those are good reasons to stop reaching out.

Why does it hurt to be ignored? ›

Research finds that feeling ignored can affect people's sensory perceptions, such as feeling that surroundings seem quieter. Being ignored creates feelings of self-doubt, feeling a lack of control, and feeling not worthy of attention.

When a friend just starts ignoring you? ›

When your friend decides to start ignoring you for an extended length of time, it's pretty safe to assume that something has indeed changed. A lot of the time it won't even be because you did something wrong. Rather, they just want nothing to do with you anymore for whatever weird, personal reason they have.

How do you outsmart someone who ignores you? ›

How to Ignore Someone Who Ignores You
  1. 1 Walk away and give them some space.
  2. 2 Distract yourself with new challenges.
  3. 3 Spend time around supportive people.
  4. 4 Focus on your own happiness.
  5. 5 Acknowledge your feelings.
  6. 6 Ask yourself if they're really ignoring you.
  7. 7 Figure out the cause of their behavior.

Why ignoring someone is cruel? ›

It can cause emotional trauma.

A person who is ignored feels a wide range of confusing emotions. They may feel anger, sadness, frustration, guilt, despair, and loneliness, all at once. Naturally, such emotional confusion can have a damaging effect on your psyche.

Is it OK to ignore someone who ignores you? ›

It's a dangerous path to go down, and it's the wrong thing to do if you want to ignore someone who ignores you on purpose. Try to spend less time around your phone and minimize how much time you spend on social media. Ignoring this person will become much easier.

Should I talk to my friend who is ignoring me? ›

Talk It Out

The ultimate way to get clarity is to have a conversation with your friend, keeping in mind that you want to avoid coming off as blaming or attacking them. “Try to avoid making accusations that will cause them to feel like they did something wrong or that would put them on the defensive,” explains Vellos.

What it means when someone ignores you? ›

They could be dealing with personal issues that they are not comfortable opening up to you about. Maybe they have not been feeling well or maybe they are dealing with pressures from work or school, project timelines can be quite daunting and can cause a lot of stress.

What does it mean when someone reads your message but doesn t reply? ›

By not answering or worse, by leaving you on read, this person may be sending you a message. They may not just be busy or forgetful, they may want you to get the picture without having to say anything. Yes, it is a coward's move, but it still happens.

What are the signs of losing a friend? ›

Read on to learn some signs that you and a friend have drifted apart and it's time to let the friendship go.
  • You Don't Understand Each Other Anymore. ...
  • You Don't Talk. ...
  • Your Friendship Isn't a Priority. ...
  • You Have Nothing in Common. ...
  • You Don't Call Them First. ...
  • You Aren't Comfortable Around Them. ...
  • You Miss the Old Days Most.

What does a negative friendship look like? ›

Malicious Behavior

If your friend speaks to you or calls you names with the intent to hurt your feelings, you are experiencing a bad friendship. Malicious (hurtful) behavior can appear in the form of rudeness, the cold shoulder, or overt meanness.

How do you tell if your friends don't like you anymore? ›

If someone doesn't want to be your friend anymore, they'll tell you with one or more of these 8 signs.
  1. #1 You Put in Most of the Effort. ...
  2. #2 They Actively Avoid Connecting Deeply with You. ...
  3. #3 They don't ask about you. ...
  4. #4 They Stop Reaching Out or Making Plans. ...
  5. #5 They Regularly Cancel Plans. ...
  6. #6 They Make Excuses.

What are 3 signs of a toxic friendship? ›

Toxic friendship signs
  • They disrespect your boundaries. ...
  • They always need something from you. ...
  • They don't take accountability. ...
  • They may weaponize their struggles. ...
  • They make you feel guilty for spending time with other people. ...
  • They dismiss your values. ...
  • They ignore your efforts to be a good friend to them.
Oct 12, 2022

When should you let an old friend go? ›

One 2021 study notes that some signs a friendship has grown toxic include: you feel anxiety prior to meeting up with your friend. your friend encourages unwanted or unhealthy habits. your friend acts in ways that hurt your self-esteem, like mocking you.

How do you cut off a friend nicely? ›

Expert tips on how to end a friendship
  1. Journal. Take time to reflect on your relationship and why you allowed this person to stay in your life for so long. ...
  2. Confront your friend. Be clear with them about how you've been feeling and why you think it's time for the relationship to end. ...
  3. Talk in “I” statements.
Sep 27, 2022

How do you break a silence in a friendship? ›

I shared these five tips with her:
  1. Tip #1: Don't Blurt Out Everything at Once. ...
  2. Tip #2: Ask for Stories, Not Answers. ...
  3. Tip #3: Read the Situation. ...
  4. Tip #4: Remember the Other Person May Also Be Uncomfortable. ...
  5. Tip #5: Welcome Opportunities to Practice Your Conversational Skills.

How do you respond to the silent treatment? ›

How to Respond to the Silent Treatment
  1. Set Healthy Boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries in relationships is important to determine when silence and space go too far. ...
  2. Create a Structured Conversation. ...
  3. Practice Self-Care. ...
  4. Don't Take It Personally. ...
  5. Stay Calm.
Sep 30, 2022

What type of people give you the silent treatment? ›

The silent treatment might be employed by passive personality types to avoid conflict and confrontation, while strong personality types use it to punish or control. Some people may not even consciously choose it at all.

What hurts most with being ignored? ›

Worse still, studies have shown that the pain of being ignored is worse than being bullied. You are experiencing social pain, which you feel when you're being ignored, overlooked or rejected. The problem being social pain is very real because it shares common neural pathways to physical pain.

Why do I get ignored so easily? ›

Why am I always feeling ignored? In some cases, people feel ignored all the time because of a personality disorder. Personality disorders mean you simply don't think, feel, and communicate like most people. It is also possible you are spending time with those who don't treat you well.

Is ignored worse than being rejected? ›

Being ignored has the same effect in our brain as being rejected, according to science. However, its cause is something that you should worry about. Oscar Wilde said: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Why does it hurt so much when a friend ignores you? ›

Key points. Research finds that feeling ignored can affect people's sensory perceptions, such as feeling that surroundings seem quieter. Being ignored creates feelings of self-doubt, feeling a lack of control, and feeling not worthy of attention.

Why my friend is not talking to me? ›

If someone has stopped talking to you, it could mean many things: they might be busy, overwhelmed, depressed, angry at you, or disinterested in continuing a relationship for another reason. When we don't get an explanation, it's up to us to try to figure out what happened.

Why do friends suddenly stop talking to you? ›

When a friend stops communicating, it may not even be about you. Your friend could be going through a bout of depression, anxiety, sadness, or some other hardship. It would be nice if everyone was forthcoming about their mental state. But not everyone feels comfortable asking for help or feeling vulnerable.

How do you confront someone who is ignoring me? ›

Confronting Your Friends
  1. Arrange to meet with your friends. It's important to plan your confrontation ahead of time. ...
  2. Ask questions and listen. ...
  3. Explain the situation from your point of view. ...
  4. Apologize if you're in the wrong. ...
  5. Work on a solution. ...
  6. Continue with the friendship or move on.

Is ignoring a friend abusive? ›

Ignoring someone is not an act of love. In fact, silent treatment qualifies as abuse. Just because you are not using your hands doesn't mean you can't irreparably hurt someone else. Ignoring someone is also not a strategy; it's a flat-out disregard for someone else's feelings.

How powerful is ignoring someone? ›

Ignoring someone can hurt if the person being ignored cares for or wants something from the one who ignores them. I have found that the true power of ignoring someone who hurts or bothers you is that it sets you free from them, enabling you to pursue your own happiness. Freedom comes when you learn to let go.

Is ignoring someone aggressive? ›

Tactical ignoring

Silence and non-responsiveness are not only passive aggressive forms of manipulation and attention seeking; they can also be used as tools to promote changes in behavior.

Can someone still like you if they ignore you? ›

Yes, it absolutely can. But it usually depends on how much he is ignoring you. What is this? There's a chance that he doesn't want to be too obvious about how he feels, but has misjudged it and now it just looks like he's ignoring you.

What if your best friend leaves you? ›

Acknowledge what happened and allow yourself time to grieve.

But, you expect to share the future with your close friends. And when that expectation disappears, it can be disorienting and disappointing. “Take the time to reflect on what this shift means to you and sit with the discomfort of sadness,” says Moye.

What is one sided friendship mean? ›

In a one-sided friendship, the communication, time, and effort needed to sustain the connection typically falls to one person. When they need something, they seek you out right away. But when you're in need, you just can't seem to reach them. One-sided friendships can leave you confused and hurt.

Why would a friend just ignore you? ›

A friend may be ignoring you because: They are going through something in their life that they aren't yet ready to share with you. They are guilty about something that they find difficult to share with you. Worst, they have found a friend with whom they share a stronger bond than what they were sharing with you.

Is it rude to ignore your friend? ›

Is it okay to ignore someone? It's always okay to have a personal boundary but know that you cannot control whether or not someone gets hurt. It's okay to feel bad that you're ignoring someone, as well. Choosing to ignore someone is not an easy decision, but it sometimes needs to be done.

Why does my friend never reply to my texts? ›

But more often than not, it means they have a busy schedule, they don't prioritize their phone, and/or they don't view texting as the best way to communicate. So ask yourself a few questions. Is your friend someone who's always down to FaceTime?


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