…and it feels like crap.
I’ve been unfriended by someone close to me and I have no idea why. I met this friend in grad school — during the very first class — and we got along instantly. He was funny and kind of nerdy — a male version of me! We were friends and study buddies through our grad school experience. Our friendship continued and grew after that. He came to my bachelorette party and, of course, my wedding. We hung out regularly for the better part of 10 years and I thought of him as one of my closest friends. We could talk about anything. My marriage. His relationships. Sex. Work. Friends. Food. Family. It was great and I truly valued our friendship.
He moved from DC to California just under two years ago and it was hard. I was sad and I definitely missed him. I finally was able to visit and we had a mostly great time. Two introverts together for four days isn’t always perfect, but it was fun. We saw each other a few more times after that when he was in town for work and visits.
Then suddenly, he wasn’t as reciprocal with texts. And soon, he wasn’t initiating contact at all. He responded to my texts but his responses were short and he didn’t ask me any questions or continue any conversations.
Then I lost my job in September. It was hard and happened quickly and I really wanted his advice and support. I noticed on Facebook that he was on vacation so instead of texting, I wrote him an email, explaining things about my job and asking when we could have a phone date. He didn’t respond. After about a week, I sent a text asking if he had received my message and asking when he could talk. My iPhone told me he had read my text but he never responded. So then I took a look at Facebook to see if maybe he was still traveling — because that might explain why he hadn’t texted me back. And I found that he had unfriended me!
I was baffled so I sent him a text asking if we were no longer friends and if he was ghosting me. I used a winky emoji to show that I was being light and fun — mostly because it hadn’t even occurred to me that it could be the truth — but that also went unanswered.
I did not call him. I was afraid of him picking up. I was afraid of him not picking up.
I did send one last ditch effort email telling him that I cared about him and wished him happiness but also asking him to at least please tell me what I had done to warrant this treatment — to at least offer closure. That also went unanswered.
And so it seems I’ll never know what happened. It’s been six months and I’ve come to terms with the end of our friendship. At first I spent a good bit of time feeling sad, crying, and wondering what happened. I had to move through those feelings so I could move on to being angry and annoyed. And I had to spend time wondering if we were really never that close and wondering about what I could have done that was so terrible that it would cause him to react this way. I still have those flashing moments. One so weak on Christmas day that I chose to send him a text. It shows as delivered but not read.
What I do know is that I am a good friend and I was a good friend to him. Not perfect, I know that, but I don’t think anybody is. And I do think our friendship was real. I will probably never know why it ended. Did I do something? Was he going through something? Did a joke comment I made on Facebook get misinterpreted?
I’ll also never know if a phone call would have made the difference. I have chosen to believe that whatever had happened to cause him to disconnect from me had happened prior and that if he wasn’t interested in working out whatever the issue is with me that a phone call wouldn’t be the magic fix.
I do know that friendships ebb and flow. I also know that some friendships aren’t meant to be lifelong. I didn’t think this particular friendship fell in that category. I truly thought we’d be 80+ sharing a drink and having laughs about that time we arm wrestled in the piano bar at Banana Cafe.
This experience has forced me to find peace and to do something I’m not very good at — which is moving ahead without a resolution. It’s very hard for me to fall asleep if I’m in a disagreement with my husband or to finish a conversation that leaves a decision up in the air. In this situation, I had to find resolution within myself because I’m not going to get it from my former friend. It still hurts. It still makes me sad. And, despite being angry, I still occasionally miss him. But that’s ok. I’m moving on and will devote my energy to friends who want my friendship. Like Bette Midler sings, “you’ve got to have friends to make the day last long.”
Bobbi has lived in DC for 20 years and only recently went to the top of the Washington Monument. When she’s not actively being a lazy Washingtonian, she enjoys playing tug with her dog, Camden. You can reach her here to share any of your DC spots that she may or may not visit.