Dear Bothered By Best Friend;
There is nothing wrong with having your mind in the gutter to find humour. It works for me. But you can’t be rooting around in your own garbage expecting to find gold. You threw that stuff away for a reason.
I understand how you feel. I’ve had friends who have slipped away as time goes by. It’s simply how life is. Your question all comes down to wanting to know how you can go back to the way things use to be? Mostly likely you can’t. People change and you can’t unchange them. You can only adapt and change yourself.
No one knows why your friend has changed in the ways he has. Even he doesn’t fully understand it. The things which influence our decisions aren’t always fully accessible to our awareness. Your friend has gone through a significant number of life changes. Moving, medical school, religious transformation, marriage and who knows what else. Some place in all those changes your friend transformed into someone else.
Like it or not the person you once knew is gone.
Now I’ll ask the magic question. What are you contributing to the problem? And the answer is . . . you have expectations for another person’s behaviour.
Expectations are an appointment with disappointment.
Write that down. Memorize it. Next time you get drunk have that tattooed on your arm instead of some “Chinese characters” which you think mean “good fortune” but really mean “round eye idiot soon parted with money”. For you girls this phrase makes an excellent tramp stamp.
I’d really like to provide some process that would bring this friendship back together but I can’t think of a way. This friendship has deteriorated beyond what can be fixed by talking about your feelings. He’s in another state and thus you can’t even communicate with him in person and attempt a meaningful conversation. You could try having a meaningful conversation via email, Facebook, skype or what-not but I have really low confidence of any success with that. Attempting to sort out a rift of this magnitude between people really needs to be conducted in person.
This is not a case where failure is an option. This is a case where failure is certain. Your expectations to the contrary are setting you up for disappointment. Stop it. You said it yourself. Friendship is a two way street. You former friend (let’s call things what they are) has parked his car and isn’t driving in your direction at all.
To get back to what you are contributing to this problem – and by extension the only part of this problem you can solve – I’m gonna ask you a harsh question.
Why do you care?
I’m serious. I know this person use to be your friend and all that jazz. However survey says . . . he isn’t the same person any more. You can’t control who he was or is or will be or wants to be. You can only control your attachment to this past friendship. And controlling your attachment is what you’re gonna have to do. What exactly is it that keeps you hanging on?
More importantly – can you let it go.
Yet another thing I endlessly preach is the importance of letting go of people in your life who shouldn’t be in your life any longer. Sometimes you remove people because they are psychic vampires. Sometimes you remove people because you have lost common ground with them or have adapted differing philosophies. It sounds like this is what has happened in your case.
And remember – this letting go process should not be done from a place of anger, hurt, rejection, revenge or any such emotions. It must happen from a place a calm acceptance. Neither of you is “to blame” or “at fault” or “broken”.
Rollo Tomassi was talking about girls when he wrote Iron Rule of Tomassi #7 but it really does apply in the case of friends and family as well.
Iron Rule of Tomassi #7
It is always time and effort better spent developing new, fresh, prospective women than it will ever be in attempting to reconstruct a failed relationship. Never root through the trash once the garbage has been dragged to the curb. You get messy, your neighbors see you do it, and what you thought was worth digging for is never as valuable as you thought it was.
Instead of trying to save a dead and decaying friendship it’s better to invest your time and effort in finding new friends. Finding a way to spend quality time with your former friend to talk about all the emotional resentments that have accumulated and the changes in his life is going to be exhausting. And not worth it. This friendship is broken and that’s why it ended up in the trash.
Finally we know nothing about what’s happening in your friend’s mind. From your perspective his behaviour is confusing, bewildering and inexplicable. Maybe even hateful and rude. From his perspective everything he has said and done is consistent and rational. It could be that he is no longer interested in your friendship for reasons known only to him. We can guess all day long and still be wrong as hell.
You can look for a reason for the schism between you with the idea that you can repair things but truth is the reason doesn’t matter and you can’t. Your friendship with this person is part of your past effective about two years ago. You are going to have to move on. There is no getting back on the same page. Invest your time and effort in opening a new book.
Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? Leave a comment below and add your thoughts.