Sometimes, I don’t even want to see my friends.

Dear Katie,
I’m not sure what to do. I have a great group of girlfriends, but when we go out to dinner and they ask about my daughter, sometimes I just don’t even have the energy to talk about it. Many times, they also give me advice, but they haven’t experienced this pain. I end up bursting into tears, filled with all kinds of anxiety. I want to hear about their lives so I can escape from my own. I don’t want to offend them, and I know I am blessed to have them in my life, but I find myself making excuses to not go, just so I don’t have to “hear it.” How do I approach this? —Barb

Dear Susan,
You are right; you are so very blessed to have a group of friends who love you so much. The reason they ask is because they do care about you and your daughter. Many times, people give advice because they think they need to; they want to FIX the problem, often suggesting things that you have either already tried or that don’t apply to addiction. If it is painful to talk about at times, I would be honest with them. Try an approach of “Friends, I am so grateful that you ask about my daughter. There are times when I’m feeling really strong and good and can respond in a healthy way. There are other times when I’m not; it’s too painful to discuss—and today is one of those moments. Today, I just want to hear about you. Your life, your career, your funny moments with your kids. Something, ANYTHING, so I don’t have to think about addiction. I need to laugh and just be here with you, my girlfriends whom I love so much. Please keep asking, though, because it makes me feel cared for. If I do share, what would help me most is to have you just listen, hold my hand, and surround me with love.”

Warm wishes,

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Katie Donovan is a family, life, and relationship coach; keynote speaker; and writer with a passion for empowering women. She has been interviewed on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports and featured in cover stories in Time and Money magazines. Katie’s award-winning blog,, reached over a million views and was seen in 146 countries within thirty days of its inception and has been syndicated in over thirty publications, including USA Today and Disney’s blog Babble.

Are you struggling to get your inner sparkle back? Have the relationships with your partner, family, or friends been affected? Ask me anything! You can send a confidential email to with Shift Happens in the subject line.

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  1. Hi Katie, I do not want to see any of my long term friends anymore. It bothers me when they say how r u doing? My daughter has been out there for 30 yrs. yes I still love her, but such an enormous emotional burden to carry with no husband ever to help. Ready to run away and not let anyone know where I went. Thanks jan❤️

    • I will come with you! 🙂

      Warm hugs,

  2. This really hit home. I as well am always waiting for the question of…. how’s your Son. It stresses me out and ruins the very much needed time out. I feel if I wanted to talk about it, I would bring it up. It’s too painful to bear at times.
    I’ve even thought about saying something back like… oh, how’s your Lupus today ? Feeling pretty crappy huh? Or hey how’s that cancer going ?
    I know that’s wrong but I feel somewhat that friends should be a little more cognizant about painful subject

    • So true Glenna. I understand and want to honor your feelings right now.

      Warm hugs,

  3. At least your friends ask about your daughter. My sons been out of the house and addicted for 10 years. He just had his 24th birthday., came and went! No family or friends except my 2 sisters called me! Sad!

    • It’s so hard, we don’t want them to be forgotten. I have found that sometimes they are not brought up, as some may feel it IS too painful for us to hear. My heart is with you Cheryl.

      Warm hugs,

  4. I feel that way a ton. I usually only hang out with my bf (of 17/18 yrs) or my mom. Usually just family.
    Sometimes I just want to be by my lonesome thoughts

  5. This is so powerful, sometimes people are surprised to find out I have a son, because I keep him out of most of my casual conversations. I always feel guilty that I leave him out of conversations so much, but it’s too painful. It’s always hard when family asks how he’s doing. I’ve found that I usually respond with “He’s figuring out his own path.” That has been the best response for me, anything more detailed just feels like I’m complaining about him. I have so much joy to share with the other two, I feel guilty when I have nothing to celebrate when it comes to my son. It’s so hard to know what to say.

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