wikiHow to Deal With a Jealous Friend Who Gives You the Silent Treatment

Three Parts:Stopping the Silent TreatmentDiscussing the Silent TreatmentDealing With the Jealousy

If a friend is jealous, it can lead to a difficult situation. That's especially true if that friend decides to give you the silent treatment. First, you need to deal with the immediate situation, the silent treatment, and then you need to work on the underlying jealousy.

Part 1
Stopping the Silent Treatment

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    Ask your friend about it. One way to deal with the silent treatment is to simply address it directly. Ask your friend what's going on, and see if you can get an answer. Sometimes, just bringing up the fact that there's a problem will open up the gate between you two.[1]
    • You could call him up and ask, "Hey, I've noticed you haven't been returning my emails or texts. Is there something bothering you?"
    • Of course, this tactic may not work if your friend is screening your calls. It may work better to show up in person.
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    Indicate it doesn't bother you and set a limit. Don't respond with anger or laugh at the person who is giving you the silent treatment. Getting angry or upset will give the person more power, while laughing at the person is likely to enrage the person.[2] Tell your friend directly that you would prefer she talk to you about what is bothering her.
    • For example, you can say something like, “I understand from your silence that you are upset or angry with me and I want to figure this out. Please let me know when you are ready to talk about it because I care about you and I want to make things right again. I will not bother you again by attempting to contact you when you do not want to talk, but I am ready to fix this when you are.”
    • The silent treatment is a form of control, and often, someone who uses it will feed on you looking hurt or down, or you trying to contact them repeatedly. If you don't let the silent treatment bother you, then your friend can't feed on those negative feelings.
    • You may also need to give it time before the person starts speaking to you again, and you can use this technique in the meantime.
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    Apologize. If the argument was at least in part your fault, it never hurts to apologize. However, try telling the other person you are sorry, while also explaining that you would like to talk more about what happened so that you understand her side. You want to make it clear that you will not put up with the silent treatment, but that you are willing to listen to her side and try to sort out what happened.
    • Apologizing can make the person realize they're being silly, plus it can get the conversation rolling to help fix the situation. If you can't get the person to pick up a phone call, consider sending them an email or even a regular letter to say you'll apologize if you can have a conversation.
    • Try saying something like, "I am sorry for what happened, and I would like to talk more about it so I can understand your side better. However, if you keep giving me the silent treatment, then that will not be possible. I am willing to listen whenever you are ready to talk."

Part 2
Discussing the Silent Treatment

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    Discuss it later. Hopefully, if nothing else works, your friend will start talking to you again given time. When he or she does and once things have cooled down, make sure you address the issue of the silent treatment, and how you don't appreciate being treated that way.[3]
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    State how it makes you feel. One way to help establish why it's a problem for you is to state how it makes you feel. That is, tell your friend that you don't like the silent treatment by talking about your feelings and your relationship together. If you can help the person to understand how upset it makes you, they may have a desire to stop acting that way.[4]
    • For example, you could say, "I feel really upset when you ignore my phone calls and emails, especially when we're angry at each other. I end up feeling like you don't care about me or our friendship because you're not willing to talk about our problems."
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    Let your friend talk. This conversation shouldn't be one-sided. You need to give your friend a chance to respond and discuss what he or she is feeling. If your friend has been feeling jealous, he or she may need a chance to talk about it. Your friend may also not even realize that he or she has been giving you the silent treatment.[5]
    • To give the person a chance to speak, use a question to get the person talking, such as "Now that I've had my say, I'd like to hear from you. What are you thinking and feeling?"
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    Talk about the silent treatment. If you want, you can also discuss why you think the silent treatment is a poor form of communication. In fact, many psychologists consider it tantamount to emotional abuse. It stops communication, which harms the relationship. Getting things out in the open is much better for moving the relationship forward.[6]
    • For example, you could say, "One reason I'm not a fan of the silent treatment is because we can't solve our problems together. The only way we can move forward is if we talk about it and fix what's come between us."

Part 3
Dealing With the Jealousy

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    Reassure your friend. Often, jealousy will appear when you have a new relationship, whether it be a new boyfriend or girlfriend or just a new friend. You get so involved in a new relationship, that suddenly you don't have as much time for your friend, and so your friend gets jealous.[7]
    • It's valid for your friend to feel jealous if you're totally throwing yourself into a new relationship to the exclusion of old ones.
    • Try making more time for your friend, and let him or her know that you still value him or her as a friend, even if you don't have quite as much time together.
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    Include the person. If you do have a new relationship, make sure to invite your friend along sometimes. Of course, you don't always want another person along if you're dating someone, but creating a group environment sometimes, one where you can invite your friend along, will make your friend feel included.[8]
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    Let the person know it's nothing he or she did. That is, you being in a new relationship has nothing to do with not liking the old friend, whether your new relationship is a friendship or dating situation. Tell the person you're not trying to replace your friend. Rather, you just like spending time with all different types of people.[9]
    • For example, you could say, "I know you've been upset because I've been spending time with Rob. However, I want you to know that I'm not trying to replace you. I just enjoy spending time with all types of people."
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    Point out what you like about your friend. That is, your friend may not be jealous of your relationship as much as they are jealous of your talent and accomplishments. Telling your friend what you admire about him or her can help alleviate some of that jealousy because your friend may not realize that the things he or she has accomplished have value to others.[10]
    • You don't have to sit down and have a serious talk about your friend's accomplishments.
    • Rather, just try to work it into your everyday conversations when you are talking again. For example, you could say, "You know, I've always admired your writing ability. You're truly a spectacular writer."
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    Downplay your accomplishments. If your friend is jealous of your accomplishments, not making as big a deal out of them can help. That is, you don't have to be silent about your big moments. However, you don't have to rub them in your friend's face, either, especially if the person is having a hard time, career-wise or in school. For instance, if you did really well recently at school or work, you may not want to bring it up unless the person asks.[11]
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    Talk about the person's jealousy or negativity. If the person gets upset when you share good news about what's going on in your life, that person isn't being a very good friend, and it's appropriate for you to bring it up. Focus on what you're feeling to guide the conversation, instead of blaming your friend.[12]
    • For example, you could say, "You know, I worked really hard to do well on that project, and it hurts when you're not happy for me. I'm happy for you when you accomplish something good."
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    End the relationship. A final option is ending the relationship. If the person is constantly jealous of your other relationships or of what you've accomplished, he or she is not being a very good friend. You don't have to continue having that kind of negativity in your life.[13]
    • You can break up with the person formally, much like you'd do with a boyfriend or girlfriend: "I think we need to spend less time together. I just don't think we're in the same place anymore."
    • Another option is to just spend less time with the person, so you aren't as controlled by their jealousy.

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Categories: Friendship Problems