Question: What do I need to understand about this situation (with my teenage friend)?


My interpretation: Pursuing this friendship (at least in the way I'm doing now) is like a struggle. I didn't need the I Ching to tell me this – it's exactly how it feels.

But I don't know how to turn this around as is recommended. Should I give up pursuing this relationship to focus on new friendships? Or Should I try to approach my relationship with my friend in a new way? Perhaps but do things differently than the way I have done?

I feel like the first path might be the best, but I'm confused about the whole turnaround thing. Hilary mentions Katie Byron's work and I'm not sure whether to use that to try to see my friend's actions in a new light.


I had a best friend in high school from whom I drifted apart. Although we have seldom spent time together in the last 15-20 years or so, we have managed to stay in touch via WhatsApp.

In the last 3 years, I attempted to rekindle this friendship as I was feeling very lonely living in a rural, remote place. Over this time, we communicated via WhatsApp once every couple of months.

Knowing I was unhappy where I lived, she encouraged my husband and I to move to her town, which we did, about two months ago. (We work online so we can move around. We love it here!)

But we have not gotten together since. Invitations for her to come visit and plans to get together have all fallen through – because she's sick, or her kid is sick, or her husband is sick.

She really is ill, and surgery on her two knees is keeping her home most days. But her husband does have a car and she says they drive places over the weekend. And the last time she flaked wasn't even because she was sick – she agreed to celebrate Easter with us, then said that it would be better to go celebrate at her friend's, since said friend had kids and we don't. When we agreed, she said that actually it might not happen because the friend's kids and her kid had the flu, and her husband had a fever. The next day she canceled.

I'm bored of her excuses and don't really feel much affection from her. That said, I admit I am impatient, possibly pushy, and have not been super nice (I get annoyed at the struggle of this pursuit, if that makes sense).

I want to make sure I'm not being a bad person. I wasn't nice the last time she messaged me (right after Easter, to sell me something), and we haven't spoken since then. I don't know whether to leave it or keep trying (but less aggressively). She has been sick for a while and was going to get a definite diagnosis last week – I'm not sure if I should write to her and ask about that.

Any advice?