10 Ways to Stay Friends When Life Gets in the Way

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  • She's Dealing With the Death of a Loved One


    If your best friend's lost someone she loves, don't stay away in fear that you'll say the "wrong" thing. What's more important is "listening and just being there until the person processes the loss," explains Cali Estes, PhD, a cognitive behavioral therapist and founder of The Addictions Coach and The Addiction Academy. "Sometimes just having coffee with them in silence is what the person needs."

  • You're Moving Apart


    Going from next-door neighbors to totally different time zones? "Schedule regular Facetime or Skype calls so you can visit each other, and not just by sound, but sight," advises Thomas. "Seeing each other makes these talks more personal and satisfying."

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  • Your Careers Are Going in Opposite Directions


    When you and your pal start off on the same career trajectory, what happens when your professional life (and only yours) suddenly takes off? You've gotta have an open, direct convo with your friend about any new financial disparity, says Thomas, as well as "any fears regarding how this situation could negatively affect your friendship." Then, keep connecting regularly and doing the things you two have always enjoyed together, be it sweating through Zumba or drinking cheap beer on your porch.

  • Your Love Relationship's on the Rocks


    Sure, your BFF is a great sounding board/support system, but "don't contact your friend only to discuss relationship problems," Thomas cautions. Occasionally venting about what your partner did to piss you off is fine. "But when you're connecting with your friend, that's the time to predominantly focus on your friendship with her," says Thomas.

  • Your Friend's Wrestling With an Addiction


    Maintaining a friendship with someone who's has an addiction "can be exhausting," admits Estes. You're gonna need to make -- and keep -- some strong boundaries. "Don't give them money or lend your car or other items," says Estes. But DO keep offering help. You can even research local professionals and hand your friend a list of phone numbers. "They may be irritated with you, but stay the course," urges Estes. "If they get help, they'll thank you in the end."

  • You've Had a Blowout Argument


    When you and your closest friend have an argument that's not easily resolved, "it's important to decide if you want to 'be right' and 'win' or if you want to get a resolution that's workable," says Estes. "You generally don't get both." With that in mind, be realistic. "Sometimes you have to give up control to get the desired result," Estes notes. And that result, of course, is a friendship that continues.

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  • Your Finances Are in the Toilet


    If you and your BFF used to thrive on weekly retail therapy, financial trouble's going to force you to redefine your friendship. But "try not to let embarrassment or pride keep you out of touch," says Thomas. "Situations like this are when you could really benefit from having a friend for the emotional support."

  • Your Friend Is Depressed


    If someone close to you is struggling with severe depression, she may very well keep pushing you away. Don't give up, says Thomas. "Keep reaching out and encouraging her to get help. Continue to remind her that she is not alone, that you are there for her, and that with a psychologist's assistance, she can become healthier and happier."

  • You're on Opposite Ends of the Parenting Spectrum


    You're all about organic, whole foods, and limited screen time. Your BFF hands her kids a bag of Bugles and the TV remote. Can this friendship be saved? Yes. "It's important for you and your friend to be open-minded with each other's ideas on parenting styles," explains Thomas. Commend each other on the parts you DO respect, keeping in mind that neither of should feel pressure to change. In the end, it comes down to reserving your judgment and simply "being allies in the quest to be effective parents," Thomas says.

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