Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

A Best Friend Drifts Away ... And a Debt Is Left Unpaid

DEAR NATALIE: My female best friend and I ended our friendship about a month ago. I was frustrated at her not making time to go out with me, but she always had time to go out with a few other friends. I felt it took way too much effort for her to go out. ... When [we] did, she always brought along someone else. I didn't have an issue with it, but there were times I felt just she and I needed to hang out and connect or talk about things going on. In the fall, I had lent her money after she lost her job (not expecting to get it back although she promised to repay). So now I'm over it. Do I still ask for the money back and can I take her off my Netflix account? -- Feeling Slighted

DEAR SLIGHTED: Sorry to hear about the demise of your friendship. Sounds like you were close friends, so I'm curious as to what happened. Was it just that she didn't make enough time for you or was there something deeper brewing? It almost sounds as though she was avoiding spending alone time with you for a reason. Perhaps she was concerned you were becoming too close and she wanted to put up some boundaries? 

In any case, it is never easy when a friendship goes through a rough patch. If I were you, I would follow up via email (always good to have things in writing) telling her that she had promised to pay you back. Even though you are no longer friends, she should honor the commitment that she made to you in her time of need and respect your past relationship enough to reimburse you. I wouldn't hold my breath, however, but at least you can say that you tried. If nothing comes from it, just let it go. 

I also would take her off the Netflix account, but let her know that you are doing it. 

Even though the friendship has iced over, things can remain civil (which can open the door to perhaps mending the friendship). Sometimes we just need a break from people, and perhaps you will both circle around again. Good luck!

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Feeling anxious about going to an event alone? Offer to help at the event. (Nine times out of 10, organizations can always use an extra hand!) This can reduce your nerves along with giving you a reason to be at the event talking to people (i.e. you check them into the event or volunteer to help with auction items). It's a great way to make conversation while giving back at the same time. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)