Dear Dartie: How can I Rebuild my Relationship with my Estranged Best Friend?

Students ask Dartie about lost friendships, long distance relationships and becoming “more than friends.”

by Dartie | 4/28/21 2:15am

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Happy week 5! Thank you to everyone who provided submissions for this week’s column. Solicit Dartie’s advice HERE for a chance to be featured in her next column! All submissions are anonymous.

Dear Dartie,

A few months ago, I had a falling out with my best friend since middle school. I was at a really low point where I was completely overwhelmed with work, and my friend called me out for not spending enough time with them. It really hurt to hear, but I couldn't manage to find a time to talk things through with them. Instead, I just shut down and shut them out of my life. Is it possible to make it up to them? If so, how should I try to reach out? I miss them a lot, but every day that passes makes it harder to imagine things going back to normal.

Thanks,

Rebuilding 

Rebuilding,

Thanks for this question. It can be really difficult to keep up with “home friends” at college, especially when you go to school somewhere as unique and isolated as Dartmouth. Undoubtedly, it’s hard for Dartmouth students to balance outside relationships with classes, extracurriculars, jobs and social commitments here, so don’t beat yourself up about your situation. I’d recommend sending your friend a quick text to express that you’re sorry and would like to try to restart things, but then I would try to get on the phone with them as soon as possible. Over text, it’s so easy for things to get misconstrued, and in my experience, it’s more likely to make progress with someone if you can speak to them.

Once you’ve scheduled a phone call, think long hard about what you’d like to get across; even make a quick list if you need to. Explain what happened on your end, honestly, and let them know what they mean to you. While a clear message is important, you should also come ready to listen to your friend. Ask them questions about how they feel, what they see as the future of your friendship and what they’d like from you as a friend going forward. Keep things open and honest, and be realistic about your situation going forward and how they’ll fit into it. Best of luck.

Love,

Dartie

Dear Dartie,

Advice for long-distance relationships? I love my significant other, but distance has been absolutely brutal, and I'm not sure it's worth staying. We're both just so busy; it's hard to coordinate times to talk, and I just miss being physically close to them.  

Best,

Lost with Long Distance

Lost with Long Distance,

I totally see where you’re coming from. Long-distance relationships are notoriously hard to navigate, and doing so in the midst of a Dartmouth term must be an even bigger challenge. I’ll first offer the typical advice:

Try setting a time to talk a few times a week so that you can keep each other updated on your lives, and in between those longer calls, be sure to send texts or Snapchats to stay in touch. Visit one another when you can, and throughout, be sure to trust your partner. Even from afar, they care about you, they’re thinking about you and they’re likely not with anyone else.

But next, I’ll suggest what I, myself, think is an important consideration: the endgame. If you can’t identify a time in the near future when the two of you can be together, the truth is that it might be worth considering moving on. If you’re dead set on being in the same city after graduation and you think you can make it work, that’s great. Or, if you’re committed to spending your off terms together, more power to you. But if you’ll have to be apart for the foreseeable future, I’d consider rethinking the relationship, to be honest with you. Committing to years apart from your significant other could prevent you from forming something really special with someone right here in Hanover.

Take this all with a grain of salt, and do what you think is best. Good luck!

Love,

Dartie

Dear Dartie,

How do you go about turning a friend crush into a real crush? There's this girl that I'm kind of acquaintances with who I think is so cool! How do I seal the deal?

Thank you,

Crushin’

Crushin’,

I’m not entirely sure whether you’re asking about turning an acquaintance into a friend or into a romantic partner, so I will try to suggest ways to deepen a relationship more generally. To do this, I’d recommend starting small. And on this campus, when you want something small, you need not look further than the Class of 1953 Commons. “Grabbing a meal” at Foco is for everyone — classmates, couples and everything in between. If it’s not weird, you can ask your friend to go with you individually, or if you think it’d be less awkward with more people around, get a group to go. While COVID-19 restrictions are often unideal — Foco’s seating arrangements make group conversations essentially impossible — in this situation, it actually works to your benefit. Be sure to sit near your friend and keep a conversation going between you two, and you won’t have to worry about interruption from the rest of the distanced group. Find some common ground, and use that information to invite her to do something else — a date or something more casual, like studying or hiking — before your meal is over. 

Wishing you the best!

Love,

Dartie