Ask Audrey: 'My friends are ghosting me'

Audrey Griffen
Contributor

Audrey is a mother to a 15-year-old with another on the way. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey Griffen gives advice to one woman who's friends have started to ghost her. Photo: Supplied

Hi Audrey,

I think our couples friends have started ghosting us and I'm not really sure what to do.

My husband and I have been friends with some of these people since school - or even earlier than that, so a good 30 decades, and we used to get together as a group quite regularly. Of course as the years go by people's situations change, people move away, add responsibilities, mortgages, babies, and everyone is very busy. But it's gotten to a stage where I'm feeling that many of them are very happy to get together - just without us.

Some examples - maybe we suggest a BBQ at our house one weekend, and get many a 'i'm busy' response, only to see on the Sunday afternoon that they indeed had some time to catch up with other people. Or it's a friend's birthday - a friend who we've celebrated with for many years - yet this year not a word about anything - until there is a photo of a nice get together at their place posted to social media.

I understand people grow apart, especially when it comes to couples. But we've had so many great times it's hard to just let the friendship go. Of course, maybe they are actually just busy, but when you're the one constantly making contact, constantly being the one to try and organise something, with not a single word from the other end if you don't, it gets exhausting.

When do we just give up?

The woman can't understand why her friends aren't inviting her out with them. Photo: Getty Images

Dear Mrs M.I.A Friends,

It’s a very common but still hurtful situation you and your husband find yourselves in, the slow retreat of lifelong friends, and I really feel for you both. Being ghosted by a lover or a friend is never fun, and it creates internal turmoil which is difficult to find a resolution to, especially when you’ve got the ability to see how the other party is continuing on with their lives, albeit without you in it.

You’ve spoken about being the one who reaches out with invitations to get together, and that your friends are regularly are too busy to make it. You’ve noted that invitations to you and your husband to hang out have become less and less frequent compared to years passed, and yet social media is revealing that your friendship group is still getting together, just without you.

This would suck! If it were me, I would find it difficult to not become obsessed with finding out why, or wishfully thinking that perhaps I’ve just got bad timing, all the while resenting that I was excluded from what used to be my core group of friends. Regardless of age, from kindergarten to the retirement home, this would be a perfectly normal, understandable response.

To answer your question of when is the time to give up, to stop inviting them around for barbecues or birthday dinners, the writing is on the wall, and I think you know even as you ask the question, that that time is now. There comes a point when the rejection becomes too much to bear, and while these people have been friends of yours for such a long time, there’s no guarantee that they would be forever.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, your time to venture out and find other friends, has come. It’s important to start doing what you need to do to protect your husband and yourself from further disappointment.

Concentrate your efforts on friends who show mutual interest in keeping you in their lives, invite people around who you like but haven’t put as much time in to getting to know. Open up some space in your heart and in your lives for new relationships to grow. Friendships are meant to be mutually rewarding and fulfilling, but it doesn’t sound like your old friends are there for you anymore.

I don’t think there is much value in trying to find out the reason why these friends have started moving on without you, you may find it hurts more than it’s worth to hear. Also, the group have not had the courtesy to discuss any issues they may have had with you or your husband, despite your history together.

Her friends are catching up without her and it's hurting her feelings. Photo: Getty Images

If it were something that you could address or have changed to make their behaviour different towards you, then surely they would have brought it up before things got to this point. Your friends seem to have been growing apart from you for some time now, and if it’s as simple as differences in personality, perhaps they just don’t know how to put that into a reasonable explanation. Still unfair, and still hurtful, but could be the reason behind their behaviour.

Either way, both you and your husband deserve to feel valued and respected by the friends you keep. Friends aren’t meant to cause you angst or confusion such as what you’ve been feeling, and you’re able to effect the change needed to reduce that in your life.

So try nurturing friendships elsewhere; unfollow (not unfriend) the old gang on Facebook and social media; and take some power and respect back for you and your husband.

Resist the temptation to invite your old friends to the weekend barbecue, or to check up on what they’re doing without you on Facebook. We know where that road leads, and there are so many other, more rewarding roads, for you and your hubby to explore.

Good luck to you both.

Audrey x

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