Building and maintaining stable relationships with people we admire and want to be close to is no easy task. It can get especially confusing when you think things are going well but all of a sudden you get the cold shoulder from your friends or family members.
Whether this happened suddenly or after you spent some time with each other there can be various reasons as to why someone decides to start ignoring you. Sometimes it is a reflection of the behaviour subjected towards them and sometimes it could be your personality traits that upset them.
Either way, even though there are multiple reasons and justifications for their actions, it never feels good to be ignored and to be left in the dark.
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What Does It Mean and What To Do When Someone Ignores You?
Here are a few possible reasons to help you understand why some people tend to behave the way they do and why you are being ignored.
1. You did something to tick them off
Did the two of you recently spend some time together? Did the day start out fun but somewhere along the way you got into an argument? Did you not see eye-to-eye on a particular topic of conversation or get into a heated discussion about something? Even though the discussion might have seemed insignificant to you, it is possible that your friend probably did not think that way and got triggered by your behaviour or by the way you responded to the particular situation.
They may have decided that they needed some space from you and hence have started to avoid you. Now you are probably wondering why they did not bring it up if they had a problem with your behaviour, right? Well not everyone likes to be vocal about how they feel.
They may also want to take some time to understand why they got irritated or annoyed with you before they talk to you about it, if that is the case then they probably care about your feelings and do not want you to get hurt by what they say.
The best way to tackle such a situation is to reflect on your own actions and try to pin-point exactly what it was that may have triggered this behaviour from their end. Once you are sure about the ‘why’, you can try to talk to them about it if they are willing.
2. They are safeguarding their mental peace
Jealousy is a dangerous emotion, it can stem from both internal and external shortcomings and can manifest in various ways. To see someone winning awards, acing tests and competitions, being popular among friends, getting gifts and being pampered by their family or just generally being happy in life can make the watcher feel small or make them feel like they are lacking or do not have everything they deserve.
They might want to feel happy for you if they are your friend but being around you might serve as a constant reminder of the things they do not have. Hence for their own mental peace they have decided to take a few steps away from you to be able to come to terms with their own situation and who they are.
This distance can be healthy for them, all you need to do is remind them that you care for them and will be there for them when they are ready to be around you again.
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3. They are hiding something from you
People tend to want to avoid you when they are being dishonest or are embarrassed to talk to you. Maybe they went behind your back and did something wrong and are now feeling guilty and want to hide it from you hoping it blows over with time and you do not notice it.
Or maybe they know something about you or heard a strange rumour but do not know how to broach the subject and talk to you about it.
Hence they might think that the best way to deal with the awkwardness that has suddenly infiltrated the air around you two is to avoid talking to you all together which is why they are not meeting your gaze in public, avoiding your calls or being curt and blunt on text.
4. You are not being supportive enough
When friends and family talk to each other about their day and the situations that came up that were difficult to handle they are not looking for solutions or your opinions on the matter, they merely want you to listen to them and be supportive.
When they do not receive this support it might frustrate them to the point that they may stop opening up to you. Maybe they feel uncomfortable about telling you their feelings because you may have put them down a few times or they might feel belittled by your responses to their grievances and hence have decided that they do not want to talk to you anymore.
If this is the case then we would suggest that next time you have a conversation with them you are mindful about what you say and think twice before you say something so that your close friend or loved one does not get hurt or feel undervalued.
5. Are you sure you are being ignored
The nature of the problem is quite confusing in itself. Are you sure you are being ignored? Maybe your close friend or family is just very caught up within their own lives. They could be dealing with personal issues that they are not comfortable opening up to you about.
Maybe they have not been feeling well or maybe they are dealing with pressures from work or school, project timelines can be quite daunting and can cause a lot of stress. To be able to focus on their own personal growth and to ensure they meet their deadlines it is possible that your friend has decided to take a break from social media and being social in general.
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If so, it is definitely not you, it’s them. Give them the time and space they need, they are not ignoring you, they are just focusing on themselves. It is important to know that there is nothing wrong with this and a good friend or family member should be understanding of such a situation and not add on to the stress that their loved ones are already dealing with.
6. Take it at face value
When someone shows you who they really are, watch carefully and do not make excuses for them. If you notice your close friend or loved one ignoring you without reason (considering you have reflected on your behaviour and are certain that you did not do anything wrong or worthy of such treatment) it is quite possible that they are tired of hanging out with you and are not interested in your company anymore.
Sounds harsh but it could be the truth. Maybe the time you spend together is getting dull or repetitive or maybe they have found new hobbies or people they prefer to hang out with.
It is natural to make new friends and spend more time with them as opposed to older ones but if you feel like you are being ignored especially when you try to reach out.
If they are not showing any enthusiasm when they are around you then it is possible they are not interested in being friends with you anymore. If so, it is time to re-evaluate your friendship and where the two of you stand. If need be move on.
Being ignored is confusing and frustrating. Since there is no forewarning that comes with being ignored, for the recipient it is not only difficult to understand the fact that you are being shut out of a close friend or family member’s life let alone come to terms with it.
Because of the lack of closure, you may want to reach out to your friend over and over again to understand what went wrong and how you can fix it – but this gives more power to those who are ignoring you and will only end up hurting you especially if they do not respond.
The best way to deal with a situation where you are being ignored is to reflect on your own behaviour and try to suggest having an honest conversation but also give your friend the space and time they need to be ready for this conversation.
You do not need to address the issue right then and there, just let them know that you have noticed a change in their behaviour and that you would like to talk to them about it if they are comfortable in doing so. You also need to be ready to apologise.
More often than not, when you suggest having an honest conversation your friend will take you up on the offer and open up to you about what is bothering them. This conversation will be difficult as they may address aspects of your behaviour that might have triggered them into ignoring you or have been bothering them for a while and hence, they started to avoid talking to you
Instead of getting defensive in such a situation it is best you acknowledge their emotions and apologise where necessary and assure them that they are in a safe space and can let out their feelings. Having an honest conversation is the best way to get rid of misunderstandings and is the only way to assess where you both stand in your relationship with each other.