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What to do when a friend won't forgive you

(22 Posts)
pinkandblueandredandgreen Mon 15-Aug-16 16:56:54

In 2014 / 15 i had some mental health problems, was very difficult to be around and managed to destroy one of my closest friendships by being needy and demanding and generally hell to be around. Since the end of last year, i've been on the mend. I have great clarity about how awful i was and why it happened. I've tried to restore the friendship by apologising and suggesting we meet up, but friend still seems to be judging me as the person i was a couple of years ago.

I know i should just let the friendship go but we had years of good times and have so much in common that it seems really sad that we can't work this out. Any suggestions about either how i can move on or how i could possibly try and persuade her to start again with the friendship?

ButtercreamIcing Mon 15-Aug-16 16:58:41

It's hard to advise without knowing the things you did, but as you've said needy/demanding/hell to be around it's probably fairer if you let her go.

The friend is probably worried you'll resort to previous behaviours.

I'm sure now you're on the mend and have insight, you'll be able to build some new friendships for a fresh start flowers

davos Mon 15-Aug-16 16:59:50

I would write a letter explaining (not excusing) and apologising. Making it clear I didn't expect anything back, but I felt it was only right to do this.

Then leave it there. You can't be friends with someone who refuses your friendship. It's hard but you have to accept they can't move past it.

PurpleDaisies Mon 15-Aug-16 16:59:55

Unfortunately I don't think you can, and further efforts to fix it might make things worse. I'd write a letter saying how sorry you are and if they can ever forgive you you'd love for them to get in touch. Then I think you really do just have to leave it.

coughingbean Mon 15-Aug-16 17:03:15

My best friend and I didn't speak after her 18th birthday.
It was all my fault,i too had some mental health issues and we were both too immature to reach out.
We are now back in contact and I can happily say she is my best friend again.
However it was 12 years ago!

You have already apologised and reached out to her. Maybe she just needs a little more time to get her head straight.

SandyY2K Mon 15-Aug-16 17:03:18

It's probably best to just leave it TBH.
Your ex friend is probably in a different place now as well and doesn't want to resurrect those times.

Did you apologise verbally?
Did she know you had a MH condition?

coughingbean Mon 15-Aug-16 17:04:11

To clarify 12 years passed when we were not in contact!

Optimist1 Mon 15-Aug-16 17:13:42

I can understand why you want to make this last-ditch attempt to repair your friendship. How long is it since you made contact with her? Personally, I'd let six months elapse before writing to her as PPs have suggested. You might be disappointed again but at least you will have done all possible to patch things up. If you don't get a positive reaction from her you need to let it go. I hope it goes well.

pinkandblueandredandgreen Mon 15-Aug-16 17:20:07

sandy i've apologised in person and yes she did know i was having mental health issues.

optimist I apologised at Christmas. I've had contact with her in the past few weeks as I suggested meeting up, and she said ok but then wouldn't commit to any plans so i get the feeling she was giving me the brush off (she said she was incredibly busy yet i know that she has met up with several mutual friends since i made the suggestion).

MatildaTheCat Mon 15-Aug-16 17:23:47

This is very difficult but something you don't mention is what effect your behaviour had on her life. Perhaps it made her extremely anxious and worried and she simply feels she cannot take the risk of this happening again.

Perhaps wait a little while and then write a nicely chosen card saying you have really considered how hard you made life for her due to your illness and although you realise she would find it hard to trust you again you would love to meet her. IF she agrees to meet do NOT make it all about you. Ask about her life, maybe she has problems of her own. Start to give and to listen.

If she doesn't reply at least you know she has seen your apology and best wishes for the future and the value to place on the friendship you had together.

TheCrumpettyTree Mon 15-Aug-16 18:14:01

You could write a letter but I wouldn't do more than that. I've had a friend with mental health problems and in the end it just wore me down as my whole life revolved around her, treading on eggshells, waiting to be sworn at and wondering if she was talking to me that day. Constantly picking up the pieces with nothing in return. It's really hard and maybe she feels that she just can't deal with it anymore.

It's probably too soon. But you have to accept the possibility that she may have made the decision not to have you in her life anymore.

SandyY2K Mon 15-Aug-16 18:14:10

Well I'd say you've done what you can. Leave her be and continue healing.

Ineversaid16 Mon 15-Aug-16 21:04:49

You could write a letter apologising but not asking for anything in return and leave it at that. Then it is up to them if they want to act on it.

Waltermittythesequel Mon 15-Aug-16 21:07:48

but friend still seems to be judging me as the person i was a couple of years ago.

Or she's moved on and engaged in some self-preservation.

Your apology should come from you being genuinely sorry for whatever you did and to get closure and move on, not so that you can restart your friendship.

It's sad but she's under no obligation to be your friend.

Try to move on. Then if it starts up again it's a bonus of sorts.

BlueFolly Mon 15-Aug-16 23:06:38

If you've apologised once at Christmas, and then suggested meeting up again a few weeks ago, then I would say that trying again would be 'needy and demanding'.

gamerchick Mon 15-Aug-16 23:10:41

Let it go and move on. You may need a pretty big chunk of time between them and now for her to let go. At the minute you still seem to be seeing things from your point of view and that she should fall in line now you think your better.

Fwiw it's around 4 years before I dip my toe in with a past friendship and then if it happens naturally out of the blue.

Leave it.

gamerchick Mon 15-Aug-16 23:11:57


ComedyWing Mon 15-Aug-16 23:13:15

What walter and Blue said.

ITCouldBeWorse Tue 16-Aug-16 16:29:51

I am glad you are on the mend, and that you continue to do so.

I have an old friend who suffers from MH issues and to be honest it is hard to spend much time with her.

She is very vocal how not all illnesses are visible, how she hates the impact her illness has on other people, how brave she is just to get up in the morning and if you don't have these illnesses, you could not possibly imagine how hard it is. She does insist on special treatment consistently.

I have never heard her ask how anyone else is, consider that anyone else may have a hidden illness or suffer the ups and downs that everyday life brings.

Because of this, I keep my distance. I don't want to cut her off completely, but I simply cannot spend much time with her.

I am not saying you are the same, but I do think mental health problems can mean a person becomes very inward looking. Is this about apologising for how you treated her, or are you seeking forgiveness to make you feel better and to have her as a future source of support?

HandbagCrazy Tue 16-Aug-16 16:43:22

I agree with idea of writing a letter.

Start with a mention of your MH issues and that they have addressed them and that you're doing a lot better THEN apologise. Don't say 'I'm sorry but I was ill.'

As hard as it is (I have been in your friends shoes with a grandparent) - the apology matters but doesn't necessarily make your actions hurt any less.

Give friend time and see what happens, but don't pushflowers

OurBlanche Tue 16-Aug-16 21:49:54

As others have said... don't ask to meet again. For her it will feel like a return to your needy, demanding behaviour, you will only reinforce whatever it is she fears from you... and she does fear something, from what you have said!

You know how much you have changed, she does not. You cannot, and should not even try, to persuade her. That would be selfish of you.

All you can do is live well, walk the walk, and, if she wants to she can initiate contact!

maggiethemagpie Tue 16-Aug-16 22:04:00

My therapist says it is very difficult for people to see us as we are now (ie after change) as opposed to as we were then. I have a number of 'friends' (ie not very good friends) from before therapy who I just had to let go, as I'd changed a lot but they still saw me as the person I used to be and it was like a shoe that just didn't fit anymore.

I made new friends, who treat me totally differently now, so I don't mourn the loss of my old 'friends' in fact I don't like being around them any more as I feel uncomfortable with them seeing me as the old me, if that makes any sense.

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