How to Behave as an Adult When a Friend Ignores You

At its worst, being ignored is considered silent bullying.
... Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images

How you handle being ignored by a friend depends on the circumstances and your true relationship. Some fixes are obvious: if you got desperately drunk one night and insulted her, then you probably need to apologize. Other reasons for being shunned, however, aren't so easy to spot. This is especially true if the cold shoulder comes out of the blue. Before you act, look at the situation objectively. Getting ignored is a painful experience; setting your emotions aside will help you choose the most appropriate solution.

1 Take a Step Back

Put your feelings on pause for a moment and look at the facts. Are you really being ignored? If you and your friend have a strong relationship and nothing negative has transpired, it may just be a case of crossed wires. What you perceive as shunning could simply be nothing more than indication of a change of pace in your friend's life. She may have new job responsibilities, stress at home, a full schedule or unexpected chores that have made her less available than usual. A string of unreturned phone calls or text messages may simply result from normal life fluctuations.

2 Reflect

It's sometimes easy to overlook the role you may have played in the cooling off of a friendship, says Cosmopolitan. If a good friend suddenly ignores you, think back. Chances are -- if you're honest with yourself -- you'll be able to recognize anything you may have done to hurt or offend, paving the way for you to apologize or explain. While giving you the silent treatment isn't the most adult way for your hurt friend to respond, it could be that she didn't know what else to do.

3 Be Open

Don't be afraid to come right out and ask what's going on. Sometimes this is the best way to get to the heart of the matter. Choose a time when the two of you can speak privately. Approach the subject calmly and try not to let your emotions take over. Say something like, "I feel you've been avoiding me lately. Can you tell me why this is?" Or, "I feel that we're not as close as we were. Has something happened to change our friendship?"

4 Make a Decision

Hopefully, there's a fixable problem at the heart of your friend's behavior toward you -- but this isn't always the case. When every approach you take proves fruitless and your friend is still ignoring you, ask yourself whether this is a friendship worth getting bent out of shape over. Losing a relationship that involved nothing more than a superficial connection should hardly break your heart. Even if you were once close, persistent shunning is a form of punishment that can hurt as much as a physical injury. Don't be a victim. Move on.

Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."