Dear Thelma: My online friend met a girl, now he ignores me

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

Dear Thelma

I'm a college student and here's my story.

I once had a friend on social media, C. He's an American, a bit younger than me, a rookie writer and an amazing role player. We met in an artist's gallery. We had amazing times together. Then, he started a group on social media. The group is still a work in progress but there are a few who have joined.

Then, another friend, E, showed up in the same group. She's an American and a young person, a good listener and she and I were getting along.

Until one day when I checked E's gallery and saw that E and C are in a relationship. I was very happy for them until C started ignoring me. I reminded him that it was OK to talk with his girlfriend but not to ignore his friends when they needed him. He knew that but he still didn't pay any attention to me.

I was a bit angry about that and told him that I have had the same problem with someone else before. He said he understood and would try his best. We had another role play together and it remained unfinished. I kept chatting with C to hurry up and finish the role play but he didn't even reply. I felt abandoned.

When I checked E's gallery, I saw C and E had been chatting with each other. I felt sad, mad and heartbroken. I started arguing with C and then E got involved as well. In the end, C said he didn't want to be friends with me anymore and we became enemies. Both C and E blocked me.

I never wanted this to happen. I just wanted his attention. I care for both C and E. I want to be friends with them again. - A brokenhearted friend

Dear Brokenhearted friend

Oh dear, I see this happening often and it's very sad. But you have to put this into perspective, so you understand the dynamics and don't fall into the same trap again.

You made an online friend who shared your passion for art. I'm guessing that's fairly rare, meeting someone who is artistic, especially when this one also loved role-play games, your other passion.

It's clear you both enjoyed your friendship but I wonder if he endowed it with the same significance. Is it possible that you rated it as very close while he saw it as casual fun?

However he saw it, once your friend discovered love, his girlfriend became a focal point for his life and your friendship took a backseat.

Look, you're right that when people start a new relationship it is important to keep up with friends. However, in practical terms, some adjustments have to be made. There are only so many hours in the day.

If you want to be friends, you're going to have to work on your behaviour. You are a college student, which argues that you are an adult, but your understanding of how relationships work needs improving.

What your friend should have done was to tell you that he wanted to spend more time with his new partner, and then to either inform you he would not be finishing the role play or that he would be spending less time on it.

He didn't and that was careless. However, your angry note accusing him of neglect wasn't ideal either. If you'd stood back and saw it from his point of view, you might have come up with a more constructive approach.

As this point, your friend did everything right. He did try his best to finish the game, but instead of appreciating this, you badgered him continuously. You also tried to blame him for another time in your life when you were disappointed with someone else.

Let me be blunt. You behaved like a child, scolding and throwing temper tantrums. As a result, your friend walked away.

If you want to be friends, you're going to have to work on your behaviour. You are a college student, which argues that you are an adult, but your understanding of how relationships work needs improving.

The good thing is that you are open, honest and looking for help. That suggests you have the will to make positive changes.

I suggest you find a therapist who deals with relationship issues. Once you learn to forge emotional connections in a more constructive way, you will be much happier.

Also, after a few months, when everyone has cooled down, contact your friend (you might ask a mutual contact to send a one-time only message for you) and apologise. He sounds like a nice young man, so he'll probably forgive you.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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