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Reality check: Snoqualmie advice columnist explores friendship on the rocks
Q: My best friend of 30 years—the one I have shared almost everything with— has changed recently, and I feel an unspoken tension between us. We belong to a larger group of friends and when we’re all together she has started dropping sarcastic comments and rolling her eyes whenever I talk. I’ve done my best to blow it off, but I feel it is very disrespectful. I do not want to lose such a close friend, but I don’t feel that I deserve this.
A: What happened? It’s obvious your friend’s behavior was sparked by something more significant than typical circle-of-friends banter. I encourage you to find out what’s eating at her. Even best friends have feelings of hurt, vulnerability and even jealousy that may be hard for them to convey properly.
Your friend is exhibiting passive-aggressive behavior in the form of sarcasm and eye-rolling, as well as what I assume to be other actions that have registered as more than a blip on your friendship radar. She needs to come out with it. You can help her.
It may sound juvenile, but try the sandwich method. First, genuinely compliment her. This shouldn’t be hard; you’ve been friends for years. I’m sure there’s a surplus of material to work with. Second, get to the meat of the problem. Tell her about your observations and how they’ve made you feel. Try not to get too emotional about it and try not to place blame. Finger-pointing provokes defensiveness. Tell her of your concern for your friendship and offer to work through the problem, whatever it may be. Thirty years of friendship is too much history to toss out over one issue. Third, state your appreciation for who she is and what she’s done for you in the past, as well as the importance of her friendship. Nothing feels better than to be admired for our good efforts and qualities.
Warning: You may not like what your friend has to say. Before you serve her your problem-solving sandwich, make sure you’re willing to take an objective look at the dirt sandwich she may serve right back to you.
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