Asking for a Friend: Help! My new pal dumped me; how do I get my old one back?

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  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources they can turn to
  • This week, we help a student worried about their social life at school after being ditched by their friend
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Ditching your friend, intentionally or not, could break their heart, and you’ll probably need a few tough conversations to get back to normal. Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us. If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google Form. Don’t worry – you will remain anonymous!

Dear Friend,

I am starting Form Two this year. My classmates bullied me in Primary Six, so I thought I could start over at secondary school. I made a good friend, but we drifted apart because I met someone else that I clicked with more. But then, my new friend suddenly dumped me, and my first friend won’t take me back since she already has a new friend. So now, I’m super worried about my social life at school. What should I do?

Sincerely, Friendless

I’m nervous about the new school year and making friends – how do I talk to people?

Dear Friendless,

We can sense your regret and self-doubt. Being bullied is the worst, and it sounds like you haven’t had the easiest time since you started secondary school.

It’s normal to feel lonely after drifting apart from a friend. Give yourself enough time and space to adjust. Spend more time on the things you enjoy, whether it be sports, art projects, or reading, alone and with other people.

Take care of yourself when you’re feeling extra sensitive! Photo: Shutterstock

Sometimes, people grow apart; that’s just how life goes. However, knowing what happened with you and your first friend would be helpful. How did you leave things with them? Did you intentionally begin spending less time with them when the new friend came along? Did you say something to them? It could be that they’re still feeling hurt and abandoned. If this is the case, it’s important to own up and apologise for hurting their feelings. They might also feel like they are your second choice, considering you are reaching out to them again after being dumped by your new pal. You’ll need to discuss these things with them before you can think about getting your relationship back on track.

Help! I get jealous when my friend hangs out with their other friends

Friendships are not exclusive; you can have more than one at a time, even best friends. In fact, it’s better to build up a circle of friends because one person can’t emotionally be there for you all the time. Being friends with one person does not invalidate your friendship with another.

Invite your old pal and their new friend to do something together. Maybe you could all try a new cafe or just hang out and play games at your house. You could even invite a few classmates you don’t know well and make it a big group event: this would take the pressure off you, your old friend and their pal and make things less awkward. Plus, it would allow you to meet new people.

Hope that helps, Friend of a friend

The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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