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Ask Doctor E Your Own Question
Doctor E
Doctor E, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 51
Experience:  I am a Ph.D-level therapist and college professor with a specialty in couples counseling.
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A friend I depend on talks to me on the phone every other day. We

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A friend I depend on talks to me on the phone every other day.
We said if busy or something then not every other day. She was gone on a trip
and sent an email from her phone that she would talk tomorrow, back late. I called
her this morning and no answer, left a message to talk to her later. If I don't talk to
her today, tonight, how bad is that? Is that enough to assume the relationship
is over? Can you tell me if she would be more specific as to when she would talk?
Can you tell me if normally she would have time to call back before I call her? Is our
agreement that I call her too unusual for a close friendship, should it be both ways?
If she agreed I could depend on her should I keep asking if the call frequency is OK?
Or should that be understood? Also is it a normal friendship if they don't discuss the
other people in their life, only some of them?

Doctor E : Hi there. Thank you for your question. It sounds like this friendship means quite a lot to you, and so you are concerned with making sure you don't do anything to jeopardize it. From what you have described, I don't think your friend has given you enough information to assume the relationship is over. It can be hard when you fall into a pattern of speaking with someone, especially when they are so helpful, and then that schedule changes. I know we humans are creatures of habit. However, it sounds like your friend might have run into something that interrupted your schedule. I don't think there is anything wrong with you asking her to be more specific and get some more details about when it is and isn't ok to talk. After all, it's better to ask than make any assumptions, because you can't read her mind! She will appreciate that you're asking her for clarification and maybe she'll be relieved because sometimes things happen in our day to day life that we can't plan for, and that do interrupt our schedules. If she knows how important she is to you, that will also make her feel valued.
Doctor E : It's hard to say that a friendship has to fall under a definition if "normal" or not. Your agreement works for you, and that is ok. There is no play ok ppp
Doctor E : oops! Sorry, I meant to say there is no play book for friendships, or one size fits all approach.
Doctor E : if this was your routine, and usually she would have time to call back, I think it's ok to ask her what happened, and if the schedule needs to change. If you're the one who usually calls her, that is ok! Again, just ask her directly and make sure nothing has changed. I don't think her not calling you back has anything to do with you.
Doctor E : Remember, every friendship is different. People decide among themselves what they would like to talk about, and what they would rather keep private. Friends understand that friends don't always want to share every detail of their lives. And still, some friends are talkers, while others are listeners. Friends who listen get a lot out of being listeners and helping their friends who are talkers. They feel a sense of joy and purpose in being a good listener. Friends who are talkers appreciate being able to share what's going on in their lives with someone who cares. Everybody is different, and that's ok, too.
Doctor E : Like I said, it is very thoughtful of you to check in with her and ask her if the call frequency is ok. If she says it is, don't worry! Just understand that some times, life gets in the way and she may not be able to pick up the phone. It doesn't mean she can't be there for you.
Doctor E : I hope that is helpful :). Please take good care of yourself. It's very important that you have someone you can talk to and get support from. Let me know if you would like to talk about this further, ok? :) Dr.E

Great. And, can most people call right back, what is normal, a normal frequency for calling? She has kids who might be able to


reach her anytime. I told her they could call anytime too.

Doctor E : It's hard to say, because I don't know your friend. But if they do have children, sometimes things come up with kids that mean they can't call back right away.
Doctor E : In my opinion, every other day is a good frequency for calling
Doctor E : But it's a great idea to ask her if she agrees, just in case she needs To change the schedule.
Doctor E : But she should call right back, when she is available.

What if she did not do that?


If you had a slight disagreement, can you remain friends?

Doctor E : Of course not. You can have a disagreement and remain friends :). But you should ask her about it, just in case there was a misunderstanding that needs clarification.

Can I say, was there anything you can't deal with or something similar? What?

Doctor E : I wouldn't worry just yet if she hasn't called back. Give her more time---maybe another day, and then call her again. Let her know in your message that you are worried about her not calling back.

Does it have to be the exact in detail description of what has or may have happened?

Doctor E : You might just want to say, "I hope I didn't say anything that upset you. I really value your friendship and if I said something please let me know!"
Doctor E : No, you could just say in the message what I typed above, may e go c
Doctor E : ll

If that's it, thank you.

Doctor E : oops! So sorry! You could also say, "I am worried because you haven't called me back and I hope you are ok. Could you please call me to let me know?"
Doctor E : what do you think? Do you think you could try that?

Yes, and what if I said I will call you later and you can call back, should I not wait and call sooner?:

Doctor E : If you said "I will call you later", you could call her again tomorrow night. But if it would make you feel better, I think it is also ok for you to call her sooner.

If you can, otherwise I'll ask it as a different question, what if you expressed something or thought something derogatory,


and she found out somehow without hearing or seeing you, like through a third party, then would that end a


friendship? Sometimes people can watch for little things and make them seem bigger? Maybe.


Anyway, thanks.

Doctor E : I'm happy to answer that question right now if it helps you. I think if she is a true friend that you can rely on, she would want to talk to you about it. She may be surprised or shocked if she wasn't expecting to hear that, but because it came through a third party, I don't think she would believe it right away without asking you.

What if it is not talked about in detail, like just "was there anything?"

Doctor E : It sounds like you are worried that she might end the friendship. But she has been very supportive of you until she didn't pick up the phone tonight, right? It doesn't sound like she is someone who would try to find a reason to end the friendship or look for something small.

Great, and anything I can do to reinforce it and make it very strong so it stays?

Doctor E : I think it is a great idea, and it would make you feel better, to ask her "did I say anything or did you hear thati said something that made you upset? Can we talk about it?"
Doctor E : The best way to make it stick is to tell her you care about her very much and you are grateful for her friendship. So because she matters to you, you also want to be sure that you don't say anything to upset her. So, could she please let you know if you did say anything, so that you can talk about it.
Doctor E : I thin she will really appreciate you asking about her feelings :)

If that's it, thank you very much!

Doctor E : You're very welcome! Good luck! :)

One more thing, what to say about the problems, how to talk about them, how would you talk about them?


Is it, I did not mean to say that, or how to do it?

Doctor E : I would say, "I may have said something derogatory or insulting, but I'm not sure. Could you let me know if I did? I would hate to hurt your feelings?"

What if I did?

Doctor E : Then you say, "I think I said something that might have been derogatory or insulting. I have been thinking about it and I'm sorry for what I said, especially if it upset you. Would you tell me if it hurt your feelings?"

And then what if it did?

Doctor E : Then it is ok for her to tell you her feelings were hurt, and it would mean a lot to her if you apologized to her. It doesn't mean the friendship has to end, sometimes a friendship is stronger because one person apologizes and lets the other person know it won't happen again.

Sounds good, anything else?

Doctor E : I don't think so...why don't you try what I suggested, and let me know how it goes!

Thank you then.

Doctor E : You're welcome! Take care and good night :)
Doctor E and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This friend of mine, her husband was interested in me and I usually

tell the man nothing will actually happen, well this went on for a long

time, he told her about it and told her to tell me. Well I should have

said lets remain all friends but instead I said nothing. After awhile she

decided to work on their relationship and this is what happened, she

decided to take action like serving lots of food when we were over at

her house, and saying things and doing things about someone being

cheap, like he told her "I can dress you up but I can't take you out",

which was letting her know how he was interested in relating to her,

now that they were concentrating on improving their relationship,

he meant the other person getting in the way of this was or any

other person who might get in the way was cheap but I'm afraid it

referred to me. He was not serious, just letting her know there was

a problem with the relationship with me I think. Well she started

dressing up and losing weight and to look like a model, and

using that as a theme for the new relationship. I suspect she said

something to someone at Macy's because all around town people

started to wear dark lipstick, or too much or looks like too much,a cheap person would do that. This

was many years ago already, also she started a trend in wearing

large jewelry in the local area, which implies someone does not

know how to wear jewelry. She also did a few things about things

I told her, like I didn't like the width of a belt in a store and it was

silver, so she wore one she had at home which was thinner but

not necessarily matching her outfit. Then she, our neighbors

do a gift exchange, and she got cards one year with a red door on

the card, that was the whole card, which looks like my neighbor's

door. She had spent more time with me so that was like rejection.

Whether it is a coincidence or not, red became a popular color,

and narrow belts and big jewelry, everyone wore them and still

does. She also gave a lot of extra food in the Christmas gifts,

and huge portions of food showed up in the local grocery store

and it could have been her saying something and if not it is a

reminder. Everyone started dressing up around town and losing

weight, books about thin Audrey Hepburn became popular. Then

last Christmas she gave a gift which had a card which matched

the wrapping but in the wrong way, both were dark like navy blue,

with lots of shiny details on them but they did not match properly

but they did match. Then even in the local paper the photog-

raphers started taking pictures which were unusual except they

matched, like a bad angle but two things in the pictures matched.

The gift contained a smaller amount of food than normal and

a large size of two hot chocolates, and it was hinting that

something was wrong, it seemed not friendly to me. It was friendly

to the other neighbors. The people are trend setters, she used

to live in Malibu and went to church with showbiz people and

knew other people involved in showbiz, as they lived (wealthy)

there. It's hard for me to see the flyers from Macys and everywhere

with all the red and small belts and lots of food and pictures that don't

match, whether she started the trends or not it is not a good feeling,

it kind of has affected my life experience and no one else's. By the

time it is a trend, popular for people to do, like everyone wears too

dark lipstick and no one told me to do that, it's hard to know how to

ask her about it. It seems too far gone. The other neighbors are

closer to celebrity status, than me, but are not, but they have a horse ranch and one of them advertises locally and one is a state senator,

there are a couple of successful doctors. There were only five of

us involved. I depend on her in case something happens to me, she

had offered support, of many kinds, and I do not have that from

anyone else, even after all this activity. So I don't know how aware

she is of how all this happened, and don't know what to say. I asked

her already if there was anything preventing us from being friends and

she said no; but, today I got two pictures from her of their garden

which showed lots and lots of buds but few flowers and the other

one was taken at an angle where you could see the stems of

everything more than normal but it matched, similar technique to

the newspaper photos. I have made phone calls and it gets around

town in about five minutes, I can tell, so it's possible she did these

trends, just what to say, I would normally say the pictures were

beautiful, but now don't know what to say about the matching

because it's like the Christmas present which matched oddly too,

which I didn't get why except she had no reason to pick that for

the neighbors but it goes along with her theme that I am cheap.

Do I say lots of buds? Someone else not affected by this like me

would know the right thing to say about it. I can't really say it's just do I handle this? And look how long this story is but

I really feel bad about it, also, do local people know or think she

doesn't like me? What to do and how to handle this? She has said

nothing is wrong and we phone every other day and email, but how

can I give gifts and relate to her when all the trends support others

but not me because of her husband, people can do that in a town too

if they notice her and she is very active. Please note, this does not

necessarily refer to the earlier question, I inadvertently asked this on

the reply screen for the expert. Will wait for an answer.