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Author Topic: Saying goodbye to a friend . . .
Kwea
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Have you ever found yourself in a place where you suddenly know that it is time to say goodbye to someone in your life? It could be an old friend, a family member, an old teacher. . . Anyone you have known, and liked, for a long time.

It isnít always that you had a fight, or that you donít care, but sometimes people change so much that you might not have much in common.

Or it could be that one of you hasnít changed at all.

Every relationship, romantic or otherwise, has a specific dynamic to it. There is a give and take involving attention, knowledge, and passions. That dynamic is what allows the same old stories to be told over and over again to old friends, even though you both already know what happens. It makes the relationship work.

It is also what allows people to forget and/or forgive slights to each other, both old and new. If you spend any significant time with another person there are bound to be times where you get on each others nerves, intentionally or not. It happens, and the ďgive and takeĒ dynamic in the relationship allows the friendship/relationship to continue unharmed.

But there are times where the dynamic changes, as all things do. It could be that life has pulled you in different directions so that you have less in common that you once did. It can be because one person matures faster that the other, or differently than the other. Things that you once viewed as harmless pranks or hijacks begin to seem childish and embarrassing. Things that you use to love to do seem like a waste of time and effort.

Or it could be that you just realize it is time to move on, and you arenít really sure why. . . but you know it as much as you have ever known anything in your entire life.

Where do you draw the line when out of nowhere you suddenly realize that you no longer enjoy spending time with a person who used to be one of your very best friends? Do you keep them as a friend for old times sake? Or do you move on., leaving them to wonder why you no longer call them or hang out as you once did?


Or do you take the hardest path of all, and try to tell them goodbye, even though you can't really explain why?

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Tstorm
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Tough questions. My perspective may not apply, because my relationships and friendships are different. After high school, I didn't take any special steps toward maintaining friendships with my former classmates. They didn't take any either. I guess I know for sure what my relationship with them was really worth. For me, it put high school relationships in perspective. In relating to your example, my life pulled me in a different direction than any of my former classmates I would have referred to as friends.

I gained many friends in college, and even though I'm not able to spend much time with them, they're still friends. We still get together and hang out or go to events. I can comfortably say our friendships aren't compromised much by time or distance.

I've dropped a couple of friends because of their immaturity. Of course, I don't think I was ever friends with them on the same level as my best friends. I dropped them by just not spending time with them. It wasn't hard for me. I wasn't a major part of their lives, so I doubt my absence from their lives caused them any difficulty.

A few weeks ago, I drove over to visit some friends and spend an evening hanging out, just talking about life. The other guys spent a significant amount of time talking about cars. It's their hobby; something they have in common with a large number of people. I did honestly think some of the same questions you did. Why should I hang out and spend time with friends I have little in common with anymore? We have completely different jobs, spend our free time pursuing different hobbies and goals, and talk mainly through e-mail, forums, and the occassional event. I spend time talking with them, not because every conversation should involve me or be something I'm interested in. I spend time with my friends because I know they'll spend time with me. It's that reciprocity thing. [Smile]

I have a connection with my friends from college. Shared experience and common values go a long way toward maintaining friendships, I think. I feel that way every time I visit them. So what if I can't talk about roundy rounders or how loose the MIP truck is...they're my friends. I'm proud to know them, and I can only strive to be a good enough person to deserve their friendship in return.

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Jeni
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I have moved on from many old friends for those reasons, and have never given any of them any explanation. There's not one I don't regret, and as time goes by it becomes more and more difficult to go back and attempt to rekindle the friendships.

There must be a better way, something in between cutting off completely and sitting through day after day of the same conversations. That is what I'd recommend, though I haven't yet been successful at it myself.

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Kwea
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Keep in mind, I am 36. [Big Grin] Not that that invalidates your view at all, but it is a little different at this point in my life.

This isn't the first time this has come up in my life, though. I had a lot of friends I just let pass out of my life when I moved right after high school, and while it was probably for the best in most cases, there are some people I miss.

But at that point we had already begun drifting away from each other.

My life at this point is changing rapidly, even though it is cahnging for the better, and I think I have enough to worry about just thinking about me and my family. Not that I will be rude, or anything like that at all...they were, and are still, my friends. I just guess friendship means something different to me now.

What exactaly it means now is something I need to think about, I guess.

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Kwea
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It isn't even the same old conversations, Jeni...I don't mind those at all, actually, and am as guilty as they are in that regard. [Big Grin]

It is hard to explain.

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signal
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More times than I care to admit. Most of the time it'll be easier like just losing touch, but there have been a few times where I proactively stopped talking to the person. The way I view friendship is that if they don't have a positive effect on me and/or vice versa, its probably not worth spending too much time with that person. In my experience it seems that even though my friends and I may be growing in different directions, we're all growing. The progress as well as knowing where we came from and how we got there is a connection we share. I find that friends that are stagnant and don't continue growing are easier to leave or say goodbye to.

Its funny, I used to think that I was the same person and that everyone else was changing around me, but now I think that, especially the older I get, I'm the one thats changing the most.

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Kwea
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I am not really looking for an answer, mostly because I think that there are as many correct answers as their are different friends... [Big Grin]

But I am interested what types of things my first post made you think of, and what your situations are like when something like this occurs.


My decision is pretty much made in this case. [Frown]

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signal
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
I just guess friendship means something different to me now.

What exactaly it means now is something I need to think about, I guess.

Someone close to you dying has a way of making you rethink and reprioritize everything in life.

edit: and by "you", I mean "me".

[ May 04, 2006, 01:12 AM: Message edited by: signal ]

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signal
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I didn't mean for that to be an answer or solution, but a generalization from my perspective.

Out of all the friends I had in highschool, the number I still keep contact with, I could probably count on one hand. It's not that I don't think about the others, but they chose to stay the same, to be comfortable, whereas I chose to go as far away as I could to experience new things. I don't regret it because if I hadn't, I don't think I would have grown as much and have been able to survive a lot of what I've been through.

With me for the most part, its easy to just erase them from memory as if I never knew them. It helps to makes things less complicated.

College was different thankfully and I have managed to retain most of my friendships.

There was one notable time when a friendship almost ended. I have this friend who I've known since late elementary or early middle school. He was a year younger than I was and when I left for college, I think he changed as much as I did, but in a completely different direction. This continued until partway through his college experience. He was just into a lot of things that I had no interest in and even some things that I felt were no longer acceptable or even right. Of course I was also into completely different things as well that I'm sure he just couldn't relate to. I didn't want to just abandon the friendship because it was important in the past, but I felt like it was going nowhere. Right when I thought it was done for sure, he did a total 180 and though we still don't have too much in common, the fact that we are now growing in a positive manner keeps that friendship alive. That as well as a few other things that we've been through I think has made the friendship much stronger. We're hundreds of miles apart, soon to be thousands, but we still keep in touch. He's one of the very few friends I have that'll email me saying "hey, are you still alive?" when I haven't been in contact for a while.

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Princesska
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Most of the people I got to know in college were more aquaintences than friends, people to chat with in class and go to parties with. When I left college, I'd fallen out of touch with all of them anyway.

High school was different. I have a couple of friends from there who I still correspond with.

I have a best friend whom I've barely kept in touch with since I moved across the country almost five months ago. She has problems with writing, so email isn't an option. And the only time we ever used to talk on the phone was to decide where to get together so we could talk in person, so now whenever I call her I get depressed and wonder "What's the point?" So I don't call often, nor her me.

But we've been separated for long periods before and it doesn't seem to affect our friendship. I go off and do my thing. Within a year she'll leave Ohio too and do hers. Distance and time apart are okay; if we are able to meet again, we will. It's not like a romantic relationship where you worry that the man's going to lose interest in you. It's more like having a blood relative, at least in one of those more functional families.

Dang. I should call her.

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Celaeno
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Of my "core" group of friends from high school, I only keep in close contact with three. And you know what? I like it better this way.

I feel like high school was a lot of posing and superficiality, although I hadn't realized it at all at the time. With these there, there is none of that. Even though we've grown into four very different people, I know we'll always be friends. And I don't mean the "let's hang out and have the occasional heart-to-heart" kind of friends. I mean the "if you need me I'll be on a plane to see you in a heartbeat" kind.

We see each other three times a year. We're all in the same state for a total of a month.

My college friends are different. They're a lot more like me. I have more people who understand me here than I did in high school, but we don't share the same "I'd do anything for you" feeling. Maybe it's because we're older, more independent, and we don't need each other as much. Or, maybe it's because I'm still here in the middle of it. Maybe a few years after I leave I'll discover the small handful to match my high school friends. Who knows.

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Ben
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Lindsay and I went back to my highschool town to plan some wedding stuff. We crashed with an old running mate of mine. The whole entire time I was there I wanted to leave. Not a single word uttered in conversation between us was meaningful to me. All I could think of was how uncomfortable I was to be there. To be around him. This is a man who has spent his entire life in one town. Which in itself is not bad, but he loathed the place for as long as I've known him. Then, toward the end of high school (about 8 years ago) he lost all motivation and drive. Now he is an umbrella man for a local business owner. He is this guys bitch. His boss will call him at random times and have him run across town to pick up his dog from the vet, or flowers for bosses girlfriend. And he is just satisfied that his life has little responsibility and drive. It is depressing as hell to be around this man for any amount of time. Crazy talented artist. Well, he was. He becomes absolutely spellbound when a woman spends any time with him. He begins worshipping the girls who will go out with him, and thinking them perfect. Then he wonders why it doesn't last, but he just thinks all women who spend time with him must be perfect little creatures.

Pathetic is the only way i can describe him. Except for our wedding in a month, I think that last visit is the last time I will choose to see him. And I don't think I will explain my decision to him. It depresses the hell out of me to think about. This sucks. Thanks alot Kwea!

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Jim-Me
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For my part, I've just let some friends drift away...and they've apparently been content to go. No confrontations and less pain, I guess...

Kinda sad at times, for sure. I think this
quote:
I think that there are as many correct answers as their are different friends...
probably sums it up, though.
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Kwea
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Sorry man, but thinking about this stuff really makes me realize more than a few things about myself. It is easy to lose sight of how far jenni and I have come on a day to day basis, but when I think about it at this point I am amazed.

Not that I necessarily think I am better than some of my old frinds, just that I have changed so much, both in how I think about things now and what my cuurent activities are these day. When I hear from a friends who is doing the same things we used to do 10 (or 15) years ago I can see the differences a lot clearer.

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Ben
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yep, same here.
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Kwea
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Some friends I have are timeless though, and I am glad.

It doesn't matter what we are doing, we intermittently contact each other just to catch up. I don't know if it would be different if we lived near each other, but it seems to work.


I moved down here to FL near some friends of mine for years ago, and we still hang out (or we did until recently) and have fun. They moved in different directions that I have, but we have all moved, which I think is the key. They aren't stagnent, and while I don't want to hang out in bars with them most of the time (they own one), we still have fun hanging out sometimes.

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Elizabeth
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I remember clearly ewhat my mom said when I was 17, dn could not be without a friend for a second: "If you get to be my age, and you can say you have one true friend other than your husband, you will be lucky."

I have more friends than that now, for sure, but she was basically right. She was never a social person, and I am extremely social.

Still, the friends that were going to be lifers are not all here!

Most faded away due to time and distance. I find that time and distance is the test. Some friendships are based on proximity, on doing things together, and you don;t even realize that until those common activities are absent.

I have never felt the need to "break up with" a friend. I do not feel that is any more or less honest than just drifting apart.

Really, it is about that fairly corny saying:

Friend for a season.
Friend for a reason.
Friend for a lifetime.

Not a saying, really, but one of those forwards that go around which I actually read and felt the truth of.

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Kwea
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[Smile]
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Dr. Evil
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Had it happen last year with a friend I have known for over 20 years. My old college roommate in fact. We were tight for a long time, played golf together and talked all the time. He became very different in the past 5 years (so did I for that matter). Bottom line was that I grew sick of his dealings and I basically just phased him out. I did try to talk to him about it the previous year too and he seemed to try to make a change for a month. I miss the times we had but I don't miss the baggage that started lately.
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BannaOj
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Another old straw, is that you've got to set those you love free, and if they come back to you, you know it was real. (I'm butchering the quote) So if things drift away they drift. I don't know that it's worth beating yourself up about it. I don't believe that a constantly uneven relationship (where one friend is expending all the effort and the other isn't at all) is healthy. If there's mutual give and take, over time that's fine, but I don't believe assessing a friendship with a cost-benefit analysis on occassion, destroys one's love or affection for that person. It's just a reality check. (keeping an obbessive tally is an entirely different problem and just as unhealthy)

AJ

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