(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Dealing With The Disappearing Act
What Happens When Your Friend in Romantic Relationship Goes MIA
By Sarah Komisky
Do you know someone who got into a relationship and then went MIA? Or maybe, you yourself have been guilty of the infamous disappearing act? At the moment when your head in the clouds, it’s easy to get lost and lose your footing while your floating. But for the friend wondering where your at, it’s not the easiest thing to navigate, especially when you vanished right around the time you got into a relationship.
A common scenario.
Having been in relationships and also been single, here’s what I’ve learned – good health means not emptying everything into one person. Yeah, remember what your mama told you about putting all those eggs in one basket? Eventually, those eggs are going to get scrambled when they fall. Not good. Without good relational balance, community, and Spirit self-control, we are sent to la la land and come back to earth with a crash landing.
This is why that guy or that girl cannot be your everything. They weren’t meant to and it’s this reason why we become devastated when it doesn’t work out. However, for this article, I want to focus on the other side, how to cope when dealing with the MIA friend.
When your friend has seemed to suddenly jump ship, friend dynamics can change pretty quickly when you’re not hanging out as much, when texts gets less and less, and when your friend seems to be gone altogether. While you might be missing your friend and feel hurt in the distance, here’s what you need to know – your friend has no clue how your feeling.
This is nothing personal. For real. That girl or that guy is not thinking clearly. Remember the la la land I talked about earlier? Yeah. It unfortunately has frequent attendees. Your friend has taken a detour on the romance ride but didn’t notice how fast it’s accelerating because she or he is caught up in all the fun and feels. The problem is she or he is getting more isolated.
So how do you remedy this kind of situation?
Every good friendship is made of one essential ingredient – honesty. A true friend is honest, even when it has the potential to hurt by default. Proverbs 27:6 puts it this way, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” Deep down, I think that’s really what we’re looking for. Although confrontation is a word we want to avoid at all costs, it is also absolutely necessary if we want to maintain healthy friendships in our communication. Figuring they will one day see the light about how you feel will not work. It will only create build-up residue of tension, frustration, and hurt feelings, which is harder to work through. Instead, resolve to be loving and honest. Tell that person that you genuinely miss them and would love to connect while also validating that your happy they met ___________. It might just be the thing that gets your friendship back on track. Be proactive. Set up some hangout days or schedule friend chats or texts. The key is making time for one another.
Also, make time to get to know their new boyfriend or girlfriend. You get to bring a fresh perspective. Is this person kind or controlling? Selfish or self-less? Gracious or manipulative? You can see what your friend can’t and if they are your friend, they will listen. The plus side, the goal, is cultivating friendship. Have a time where all of you can get together and hang. Getting to know them early on is healthy and it helps so you don’t feel awkward in a time gap. Rooting each other on from the get-go is essential for unity within the friendship! Overall, your friend’s BF or GF should be your friend too.
Anyone who knows me knows I always say, “I’m never too busy for anyone.” It’s true. Although I have a lot to balance, I try to make a point to make time for others and let them know they matter. And although we don’t think about it, “I’m busy,” just doesn’t have a good vibe to it. In a culture that is increasingly “busy,” being intentional is rare, but needed. As a Christ-follower, my model is to be more like Jesus in slowing down and being relational.
While balancing life can be hard for all of us and adding a relationship can definitely have it’s challenges, especially in the beginning, when it’s so new, applying grace is necessary. However, remember that your feelings are valid and important as well. Your friend must also be sensitive to the truth that you too have plans and a life. Mutual respect is an integral factor in a healthy functioning friendship.
If your friend gets a little on the defense, give them some time and space to work through it. But, let them know that your door of communication is always open and that you always care about them. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” True friends don’t quit easily. Working through the kinks of friendship is so worth it in order to maintain good health. However, I do believe there are times when saying goodbye is necessary.
Friendships are a two-way street. When one person is giving their all and the other is not, it’s time to evaluate the friendship. When one person is willing to work on things and the other is resistant to change, it is also time to reevaluate. When you are doing all the pursuing in connection and are left drained, it’s time to reevaluate. Lastly, when one person continually has a pattern of going silent on you, it’s time to reevaluate because you are more than that.
True friends care about you. They meet you halfway and work through hard things. It’s not easy. It’s even painful, but a true friend will be willing to do it because love is at the center. Both are honest. Both are imperfect. Both say sorry. Both find solutions together. That’s why finding friends who appreciate you, respect you, and understand how to balance life is essential. In the end, you can rejoice if you gain a friend who has seen their wrongs and your friendship will be even stronger because of it. But, if you have to lose a friend, take time to grieve. But know they maybe weren’t a friend to begin with. True friends understand relationships (not just romantic ones) are also highly valuable and will ultimately withstand any conflict.