Dear Leather and Lace: I need some advice. Two nights ago I got a text from a friend telling me he doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore. He said that I only talk to him when I am bored, but that’s not true! I am not sure what I did to turn him off, but I feel devastated and I haven’t stopped crying since. I said I was sorry but he didn’t believe me. What do I do? I don’t want to lose him as a friend. Please help me.
Alison’s Take: Rejection hurts in all its forms, but why are you so devastated? People do “lose” friends now and then, but this friend must be very special to you. It’s odd that he’d want to break things off without a really good reason. If you do things together outside of phone conversations, there must be other reasons why he wanted to end the friendship. But if all you do is chat on the phone, why are you so upset?
I once had a friend for whom I had mild, romantic feelings, but he almost never had time to see me. But he called me all time to chat (mostly about himself). When I’d suggest getting together, he always had an excuse why he couldn’t. Years into this so-called friendship, I had some rough times and wanted to see him, and he was too busy. I realized then that he liked me because I “gave good phone” but he didn’t want any deeper involvement. Offended and hurt, I told him not to call me anymore and we never spoke again.
But back to your situation. First, friends do NOT end a relationship with a text. It’s tacky and it shows no respect or value for the relationship. Someone who can’t make the effort to tell you something important in person, or at least in a written letter or by phone, is a coward who is denying you closure.
Be honest about your feelings, then remind yourself that this person has shown himself to be a jackass. If you are lonely, find a friend (or better still, a boyfriend) who doesn’t mind if you “call just to chat.” The right man will be happy to talk to you simply because you are you, no excuse required.
Tony’s Take: Their is a certain type of personality which views the world as either being with them or being against them. If you have been their friend for a while and they suspect you of not being totally devoted to them, they cut you off completely without an explanation.
This has happened twice in my life, friends I was rather close with who suddenly stopped being my friend for no apparent reason. Obviously this hurt and confused me, and the feedback I got from people who knew us both was it was all my fault. What I have realized in retrospect was I was setup, I was tested and failed, which gave them the excuse to cut me off. In each case it was a small thing, the most memorable was a stapler that the person wanted returned late at night during a snow storm. Not because they needed it but so they could return it to their father, Now knowing the father, I called him and asked if I could return it directly to him in the morning, he said he did not understand why the rush he did not need it. I called the person back saying I had handled it to be greeted with icy silence. I never talked to this person again although I still talk to their father once a month. It was not the stapler, it was a test, even though it was late, cold, dark and snowing, I had not immediately done this for them. The same thing with another person, we were close for years and then they asked me to come to their suburb (I live in the city) on some small unimportant pretext. When I said I could not make it that Saturday, they cut me off without an explanation or look back. I have never heard from them again. Again it was a test I failed.
Your friend sounds like the same type of person. He “tested” you and you failed. His test was something like his wanting to talk to you about something mundane when you were busy or at work and you politely said you had something you needed to do and could you get back to him later. He took this as your not being totally committed to him and thus against him. He then ascribed the worst possible reason for you doing this and used that as an excuse to “fire” you as a friend.
This kind of absolutist is not a friend, friends are forgiving and friends talk things out. Let this guy go, there is no hope anyway, they will die alone but smug in the knowledge that they got rid of all of their “false” friends.