Many of us have a close circle of friends and family that we are used to having frequent communication with - texts, talks, and get togethers that build the relationship over time. If suddenly that nearly day to day contact goes away, it can feel like a friend or family member is avoiding you.
Before you over react and start thinking of what you may have said or done wrong to hurt the relationship, consider that there may be life circumstances getting in the way. Here is a list of reasons that a friend or family member could be avoiding you - and none of them have anything to do with you.
Work is Hectic
We all go through periods where work is a hectic and becomes more than a 40 hour per week job. We all have bills to pay and sometimes the lure of overtime seems like a way out of a financial hole. Other times, work roles require that we put in the extra time to accomplish a task until it's finished. I know some weeks for me are especially hectic and a 9-5 job seems like a fantasy. Eventually, the work load lightens up and I can catch up with friends and family again before the whole cycle starts over.
Saving Money for a Major Goal
When I was younger, it was easy to say yes whenever a friend called wanting to go to a movie, concert, or dinner. As we get older and come home from a long day at work, and have bills to pay - going out every night just isn't as appealing. I am not avoiding going out, I just have prioritized my spending and have decided to spend it on more important things.
I rarely go to the movies anymore unless it's something I really want to see. Netflix and Redbox get movies so quickly that most of the time I just say I'll wait a few months and save money. One goal I have is to save up the down payment for a house. For others it might be saving up for a new car or other big purchase. A friend who seems to be avoiding you might just be avoiding spending cash.
It has always seemed to me that things happen when they should, but when they should happen is different for everyone. Things like marriage, a baby, and becoming an "adult" means that your priorities will change in time. Your college buddies may be calling every weekend to go out drinking, but you're fine staying in and reading a book. Some of my girlfriends felt left in the cold when our circle of friends were all getting married and only one or two of us were single and now had nothing to do.
Don't be a downer and complain about your friends shifting priorities. Instead, take the time to reflect on your own life and goals you want to accomplish.
Going Through Life Changes
We can't predict when death or illness will occur, but when it does some of us turn inwards. It's not that we want to avoid loved ones, we just need time to process the changes that have occurred in our lives. When my mom died, I didn't really have any desire to do many of the things I used to. It was as if I needed time away from everyone and everything just to be able to cope. Eventually, I came out of my shell and was ready to face the world again.
For people I have known who have battled cancer, the chemo treatments and around the clock doctor visits take all of your time. When they were not in a hospital, they just didn't have the energy to do much of anything. For some, a sick family member, new job, big move, or other life change could be their number one priority at the moment. Many of my clients who decide to prioritize their health and start a workout routine comment that friends tell them they are distant.
Stay in touch to show support, but understand that someone who seems distant may just have bigger things taking place.
The most likely reason that I will go AWOL from things is just needing a little personal space. All of us know people who seem to demand so much of our time and that means that you don't get the time for yourself to focus and recharge. That's why every now and then I just say no to friends when they want to go out. I need my alone time to do my own thing.
Personal space is part of creating boundaries in your relationships. Deciding how much time you can devote to one person and still have time for yourself and others, as well as the other things in life. This is't meant as a way of making someone in particular less important, but is a way of making sure that all the important people and things in your life get quality time.
If a close friend or family member seems distant, reach out to them. Send a text and let them know you are thinking about them and ask if everything is ok. If they say that it is, then don't worry they will come back around in time when things in their life have worked themselves out. We we should never just assume the worst when a friend takes time to themselves.
Brooke Bailey is a personal trainer, masseuse, and student in health and wellness.
She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow her on Facebook.