12 Tips For When Your Friend is Mad at You and Ignoring You

“I think I accidentally hurt my best friend by not inviting her out with a group of our mutual friends, and now she’s giving me the silent treatment. I don’t know why this upset her so much, but now my friend is mad at me and ignoring me when I call and text. What should I do?”

No one likes conflict, but sometimes the silent treatment can feel even worse than a bad argument with a friend. When your friend doesn’t respond to your texts and calls, it’s normal to feel anxious, threatened, guilty, and sad.[1]

The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive way of dealing with conflict and hurt feelings and can be very damaging to a friendship.[2] It can be difficult to know the right way to respond to a friend who deals with conflict this way, and responding the wrong way can sometimes make things worse.

In this article, you will learn 12 ways to handle a friend being upset and ignoring you without making things worse.

What to do when your friend is mad and ignoring you

1. Give them space and time to cool off

While you probably want to work things out with your friend right away, being too forceful or quick to react can actually make things worse. Things you say out of fear, guilt, or hurt feelings might make you feel better in the moment but are often a source of regret later.[3]

Pushing a friend to talk before they feel ready can often backfire, resulting in more conflict or conversations that feel forced. Sometimes, people need some time and space to cool off before they are ready to talk, so resist the urge to call them or text them repeatedly. Instead, try to take a step back, give them some space, and wait until they are ready to talk.

2. Check your assumptions

Sometimes, you might have assumed a friend is not responding because they are mad at you when they are really just busy or didn’t see your text or calls. Make sure that you reality-check your assumptions and consider other explanations for why they aren’t responding to you.

You may have incorrectly assumed they are mad at you if:

  • You can’t think of anything you said or did that may have upset or hurt them
  • They have a lot on their plate right now and don’t have the energy to socialize or respond to messages
  • You are feeling overly sensitive, anxious, or insecure
  • You’ve assumed they’ve been mad before, but you later realized you’d misread the situation

3. Put the ball in their court

It’s often best to let your friend come to you on their terms, especially if you’ve said or done something to anger, hurt, or upset them. While you might be ready (and eager) to talk things out with them, they may not be. If they aren’t responding or say they aren’t ready to talk, respect this boundary while also letting them know you are there when they are ready.

4. Self-reflect on what happened

Use the space and time away from your friend wisely by doing some self-reflection about what happened. Sometimes, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what upset them. Other times, it won’t be as clear. This is where self-reflection can help you get a clearer understanding of what happened.[3]

Here are some questions that can help you figure out what happened:

  • What happened last time you talked with your friend?
  • Was there a moment when you noticed a shift in their mood?
  • Can you identify something you said or did that may have hurt them or offended them?
  • Is conflict an isolated incident with this friend or part of a frequent pattern?

5. Put things into perspective

It can be hard to keep things in perspective when someone is mad at you, especially when it’s a close friend. Strong feelings, insecurities about the friendship, and self-critical thoughts can all skew your perspective, making it hard to know what happened or what you may have done wrong.

In order to get a clearer perspective on the situation, consider:[3]

  • Asking a close friend or family (who doesn’t know your friend) for honest feedback
  • Consider your friend’s thoughts, feelings, and experience as well as your own
  • Consider what you would think, feel, or do if the situation was reversed
  • Take a step back and consider the overall closeness and importance of the friendship; think of the times your friendship has enriched your life. This period of your friendship might not be significant compared to all the good times you’ve had together

6. Don’t engage with unproductive thoughts

When you’re feeling guilty, sad, or angry, you may get stuck ruminating on thoughts that are unhelpful or unproductive. This can make you feel worse, more exhausted, and less able to respond in a positive way to your friend. When you find yourself stuck in an unhelpful thought, try to pull your attention away by focusing on the here and now, your breath, your body, or by focusing on a task.

Some examples of unhelpful thoughts to pull back from include:

  • Replaying parts of an interaction that make you feel angry, upset, or bad
  • Thinking of times you’ve been a good friend to them and of how unfair they are being
  • Being overly self-critical and beating yourself up for things you said or did
  • Rehearsing heated conversations or arguments with them in your mind
  • All or nothing thoughts of ending the friendship or taking other drastic actions

7. Resist emotional reactions

While your initial response to a friend who is ignoring you may be feelings of guilt and wanting to apologize, these feelings can quickly sour into feelings of anger, hurt, and resentment about being ignored. When this happens, you may have urges to tell your friend off, do or say something hurtful, or even to end the friendship, but these are likely to be actions you later regret. Resist acting on heated emotions and urges to prevent making things worse.[3]

8. Ask to talk in person (if possible)

After an argument or conflict with a friend, it’s often helpful to see them face-to-face instead of trying to work through things via text, messaging, or even on the phone. Miscommunications and misunderstandings are less likely to occur in person when you can read each other’s body language in real-time.[4] This way, you are more likely to get clarity on what happened with your friend and where you both stand now.

9. Don’t get defensive

It’s natural to get defensive when you feel attacked or criticized by a friend, but doing so often makes conversations less productive. When talking with a friend who is mad at you and has ignored you, try to notice when you feel defensive and avoid putting your guard up in ways that would end the conversation or make things worse between you and your friend. Instead, try to ask respectful questions that will help you understand their point of view.

Some examples of defenses to avoid when talking things out with a friend include:

  • Blaming them, accusing them, attacking them, or other statements that start with “you”
  • Interrupting them, talking over them, or not letting them speak
  • Getting loud, aggressive, or making personal attacks on their character
  • Bringing up the past or ‘snowballing’ other issues that aren’t related
  • Shutting down, closing yourself off, or acting apathetic
  • Always feeling the need to argue your point or defend your actions

10. Make an effort to make it right

When you avoid getting defensive, it gets easier to have conversations that are helpful, but many people still feel afraid of confrontation. Still, confronting an issue head-on is often necessary to find a resolution, although this doesn’t always mean you and your friend will be on the same page.

In fact, it may be necessary to agree to disagree, find a compromise, apologize for how you made them feel, or just let things go. While these might not always feel like they ‘resolve’ an issue, they can help you and your friend move forward, especially when the conflict was petty or unimportant.[3]

11. Ask for more open communication next time

Giving someone the silent treatment isn’t a healthy or emotionally mature way to respond to someone, even if they really hurt your feelings.[2] It’s OK for you to confront your friend about not responding to you and to ask them to communicate more clearly the next time they are upset.

You can ask for more open communication by saying something like:

  • “Next time, can you just send me a text letting me know what’s going on?”
  • “Please let me know next time you feel that way.”
  • “I know you were upset, but I felt really hurt when I didn’t get a response from you. Could you give me just a quick response next time, even if you aren’t ready to have a conversation about what happened?”

12. Know when to pull back

Not all arguments with friends can be resolved. Unfortunately, sometimes it will be necessary to let go and work through the grief of being ghosted by a friend. This is often a sign that your friend was not invested enough (or mature enough) to put the time and effort into making things right.[5]

When this is the case, the best thing to do is not to chase after them trying to force the friendship, but instead to take a step back and re-evaluate. It may be necessary to let the friendship go or at least pull back and set some stricter boundaries with them.

Final thoughts

Getting the silent treatment from a friend who is upset with you can feel really bad, and it can be hard to resist the urge to repeatedly call or text them, force them to talk, or even make things worse. Sometimes, it will be possible to make things right with your friend and resolve things, but other times, it will be important to pull back, take care of yourself, and even distance yourself from a friend who has become toxic.

Common questions about what to do when a friend is mad and ignoring you

What should you say to a friend that’s mad at you?

If your friend isn’t responding to you, try sending a text asking them to call you when they are ready to talk and then give them time and space to cool off. When they’re ready to talk, hear them out, apologize if needed, and try to make things right.

How to tell if your friend is mad at you over text?

Miscommunications are common over text, with many people misunderstanding a simple reply. If you’re not sure, asking a friend directly if they are mad at you is the best way to know for sure if they’re upset.

Why is my friend ignoring me all of a sudden?

Your friend may be ignoring you because they are hurt or angry, or it could be for a reason that has nothing to do with you. For example, they may be working, have no phone service, or their phone may be out of battery, so try not to jump to conclusions too quickly.

How do you apologize to a friend who won’t talk to you?

Send a text or message saying, “I’m really sorry for what I said. Can we talk?” Alternatively, call them, leave a voicemail apology and ask them to call you back.

Show references +

Hailey Shafir is a licensed mental health counselor, licensed addiction specialist, and clinical supervisor working out of Raleigh, NC. She has a Masters in Counseling from NC State University, and has extensive professional experience in counseling, program development, and clinical supervision. Read more.

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  1. So my friend is mad at me and she’s like my best friend I didn’t know why at first but I was talking about her In a really bad way I’m trying to give her space and I’m thinking of buying her favorite snacks and candy with a card that says I take full responsibility for what I have done. My other friends are saying if I say sorry then they won’t talk to me anymore and I don’t know what to do. I just sent her a text and I’m giving her space for as long as she needs it.

    Reply
  2. I planned a Niagara getaway for my friend’s birthday, he told me the day before that he doesn’t feel like going. I really don’t want to ever talk to him. I moved land and sea to plan this and I feel so bad

    Reply
  3. So basically, I and my friends were chatting about going to a carnival and one of my friends said that they’re not going, I said something that meant “it’s not what I hoped for but I’m not surprised” I didn’t think it was offensive nor mean or anything like that, I meant literally what it means and I was upset because they weren’t going. He then left the group and said I pissed him off for saying that to him. I apologized and they’re giving me the silent treatment, I’m currently giving them some time alone and I try to be understanding, I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable or awkward after that but I really want to talk things out, I don’t know what to do ☹️

    Reply
  4. the article is good but one point that is wrong is that if your friend is not communicating that doesn’t mean that he/she has become a toxic person its simply that they are going through a lot so let’s give them their space and please don’t call them toxic they are also trying to control their emotion but they are not able to that’s it.

    Reply
  5. my BFF thinks I’m siding with someone but I’m not and she is ignoring me. I tried everything and it didn’t work so what do I do?

    Reply
  6. hey can you please help mt cousin is ignoring me because i called her a hoe on accident because i have been saying it alot and it just slipped in apoligized and i have done everything i can but she still wont talk to me can you please help me

    Reply
  7. Thanks for the article, the information seems very helpful. I’m in the exact situation that you described at the beginning so I was wondering if you could help me out with how long I should wait before trying to talk.

    The party was Thursday Nov. 25th (I’m not in America and don’t know any other Americans right now so it had nothing to do with Thanksgiving) so I found out that she was mad at me on the 26th. I talked to her on the 28th and told her that I didn’t realize that the whole group was going to be there and she said that she might forgive me at some point but she won’t right now. I sent a friendly text today (the 30th) and the response seemed forced, which is what caused me to come looking for advice. I should note that the friend is also one of my roommates so it’s not really possible to completely keep our distance and we still both eat in the common area and just don’t talk to each other if we’re both there.

    Could you please give me any advice on how to know when she’s willing to talk again?

    Also I graduated from NC State in 2018 so that’s pretty cool, go Pack

    Reply
    • Hi i have a best friend and she is ignoring me and ive tried calling texting voice mailing and nothing works so please give a bit more advice for my bff cause without her i would feel realy tight in my cheast
      and guilty – Katie

      Reply
  8. In my opinion in the story from the beginning, the one who ignored the friend was right to do be mad. Her friend left her out and didn’t even understand why she was mad. I can tell from personal experience that this is very upsetting.

    Reply
  9. Well, I left this comment cause if anyone can help me please answer me by email. Here is my story.
    I moved to Fla from Ny in July to be with my daughter and grandchildren n my best friend of 40yrs helped me pack. n was so happy for me when I was on my
    The day I left she told me we will always be sisters n will always talk
    Well, I have not heard from her but only once when she called me she told me I was being punished by God. N she told me not to move away, (she never said that).
    I want to go back to New York but my husband likes it here. It is going to be hard to go back.n it hard not having her my like, I ???? cry almost every day n I am lonely. How should I handle this

    My email is
    [email protected]
    Thank you

    Reply
    • All you need to do hon is call her up, have a chat, catch up after a while. Underneath her hate is just that she really misses you. You don’t have to move back – just talk to her

      Reply

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