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How do I re-establish contact with an old friend? (1 Viewer)

ScottR

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A friend and I had a major falling out over a difference in lifestyle about 2 years ago. He told me that he never wanted to have contact with me in the future. I really miss him, and I have attempted to reach him every six months or so (two of our mutual friends died, and I wanted to let him know.) Each time he ignores me. I know that he said that he didn't want to see me again, but he never really gave me a chance to explain my side before he walked out. I still care about my friend and consider him to be as close as family. But I am afraid to call or drop by, fearing rejection. What should I do?
 

Jon Robertson

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I'd consider writing a letter, first of all letting him know the sad news about two of your friends, and then briefly mention you'd like to meet again at some point in the future for a drink and a chat and how much it would mean to you.

Letters just have a personal and everlasting quality that, IMO, is lacking from other forms of communication.
 

Ted Lee

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Each time he ignores me
i know you want to reach him, but is it worth you getting rejected again? it seems clear to me that he doesn't want to communicate with you anymore.

believe me, i know where you're coming from. my best friend for many years stopped communication with me. we were so close it was a surprise to anyone if they didn't see us together. we were literally like brothers - i even called his parents mom and dad.

he had a major life change and that changed the dynamic.

i tried several times to get a hold of him, called and left messsages with him and his family, etc. no luck. it was clear he didn't want to continue the friendship. i figured that's the way it goes and i should respect his decision.

last i heard his father had passed away. i called a mutual friend to pass on my condolensces (sp?) - that's the last i've heard of him.

anyway, if you're totally desperate to contact him, i suppose you should give it one more try. maybe you can contact his family, or mutual friends and let them know that you want to get in touch. i like the idea of a personal letter - maybe you can have the mutual contact pass it on.

good luck....
 

Bill Catherall

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I had a very similar experience to Ted's. One of my very best friends in high school just started to ignore me a couple years ago. After high school we began to grow apart because I went away to college, got married, started having kids, etc. But we always were very friendly and had fun when we did see each other. Then I moved back to the same town...we saw each other occasionally, but not really too much.

Then one day I tried contacting him and I was just completely ignored. My emails went unanswered and my voice mail messages were never returned. We never had a falling out, and the last time we saw each other it was great. I couldn't really figure out why he would do such a thing. I thought for sure something terrible had happened to him. Then I ran into a mutual friend of ours at a Walmart and I asked if he was ok. The mutual friend said he's fine and he'd let my friend no that I was trying to get in touch with him. Then a few days later I saw the mutual friend again and he said he passed on the message...but I still heard nothing.

So I just basically gave up. I figured he knows I've been trying to get in touch with him, and if he isn't interested in carrying on the friendship then I'll just let it go. I don't hold any grudge, so if he ever contacts me I'd be happy to hang out with him again. But I don't think that's going to happen. I'm still puzzled as to why.

Good luck to you Scott. I hope things work out.
 

MickeS

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I think a letter sounds like a great idea. If you don't hear from him after that, just drop it. No point in trying to be friends with someone who doesn't want to be friends with you.
Bill, I'm ashamed to say that I sound kind of like your friend... I'm terrible at keeping in touch with and contacting people I like. That's why I have so few friends, I assume. It takes a lot of work to keep up with, and I'm just too damn lazy. If I could change one thing about myself, that would probably be it, because it's given me a fairly lonely existance. Not SAD lonely, just "by myself" lonely. If your friend is anything like me, just give him the benefit of the doubt. :)
/Mike
 

Moe Maishlish

Supporting Actor
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I've been in a couple of situations like this, on a couple of occasions as the one who told an old friend that I no longer wished to continue the friendship (or any form of contact).
For me, it had a lot to do with respect in the way I was regarded, and the fact that I felt that the "friendship" was very one sided - there was no reciprocation of friendship back my way.
I'm the kind of person that does hold a grudge, and understand that my point of view is one in which I don't believe that a lot of people can change. Having said that, if any of those people were to contact me in the hopes of rekindling the friendship, the answer would most probably be a very heartfelt "NO!". It's not out of hate or spite... it has to do with the fact that I don't believe that they've learned from their mistakes. In essence, I simply don't want to put myself back into the kind of "friendship" in which I come out with the shorter end of the stick every time. I like to learn from my mistakes, and not get burned twice.
But I digress...
I'd think about the kind of personality that this person has. Given the nature of your split from each other, you might want to ask yourself the question "Is this something he can forgive?".
I'm not implying anything, but sometimes people seek to resume contact with others as a way of apologizing to themselves.
He may not necessarily be receptive to any communication, and that's probably something you should be prepared for.
Good luck!
Moe.
 

Ted Lee

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ask yourself the question "Is this something he can forgive?".
that's a good point. without knowing scott's "backstory" it's hard to say whether or not he did something to piss off his friend.

but what confuses me (and it sounds like bill too) is the fact that we didn't do anything (that we're aware of) to cause the rift.

in my case, my friend came out of the closet. i was totally cool with that - i really didn't think twice about it. homosexuality doesn't bother me in the least so i know that could not have been the cause. but soon after he told me is when he started cutting off contact - i suppose he just wanted to start a new life.
 

JonZ

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Well, I can give this one perspective from the other side as well.
I had a friend of 14 years I turned my back on.My brother and I were there for him for everthing, the only ones he could count on,after the death of his sister, his marriage falling apart- we put up with SO MUCH from him and his family.But his other sisters jealousy and his destructive behavior ruined our friendship. After over a year of warnings(for his inconsideration)he went too far one time to many and I had no choice but to say "Adios!" for my own wellbeing. A physcial fight had erupted once and I wasnt gonna let myself do that again.

I dont care how close we were, he means nothing to me now. I would NEVER treat him the way he treated me and thats why I wont forgive him. We still have a mutaual friend whos told me he's made comments about calling my brother and I. But to me hes dead.I want nothing to do with him.

I dont know what happend, thats between you guys, but if hes still not speaking to you after repeated tries, I think it might be time to move on. If you want to let him know about your friend who passed away (sincere condolences) you can let him know in a letter,phone call or by giving the message to someone in his family.
 

Jeff Pryor

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Scott, you should do nothing. You've stated that you make an attempt to contact him every 6 months or so? Then apparently this friend is aware of your attempts to reconcile and still refuses to acknowledge it. You can't change his mind. Let it go and pray he comes to his senses. One day you might be surprised to find him coming back to you. All you can do is be patient and wait, which is the hardest thing to do. But there is the chance that he will NEVER want to befriend you again, and if so then you must accept it and move on. Better to have no friend than a reluctant one.
 

Moe Maishlish

Supporting Actor
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Jeff,

"Let it go and pray he comes to his senses. "
I'm not saying this with any hostility, so don't take this the wrong way...

but...

Maybe the guy already came to his senses when he realized that the friendship was no longer worth continuing!

Friendhship is an institution that, like many others, has it's breaking points. It's incredibly unrealistic to assume that all people have an infinate threshold of tolerance for others, even in the best of friendships.

Without understanding exactly what happened between the two of them (i.e. hearing both sides of the story), it's unfair to assume that the other person is at fault, and that being friendly is the "right thing" for the both of them to do.

Sometimes forgiveness isn't in the cards. There are times when you can't turn a blind eye, and certain things can not be overlooked.

And sometimes friendship is a very, very unhealthy relationship.

Moe.
 

ScottR

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Okay, here goes..... We did have our ups and downs because I am a very open person, and he doesn't feel that he needs others during tough times. I would hold everything in until the breaking point, at which time I would blow up at him. Also, I did tell him that I was gay... I wrote him a letter (because I knew he wouldn't listen to me in person) and told him that I had feelings for him. He never mentionned it, and continued to hang out with me for about four months. I eventually came to the point where I had to know what he thought about the letter, so one night I invited him over, and I asked him what he thought about it. At which time, he jumped up off the couch and said that he was leaving. He said that the letter disgusted him and that he did not believe in my lifestyle. I asked him why he kept hanging out with me, and he said he liked to "every once in a while." He walked out. A few months later when I first tried to contact him, he said that he never wanted to hear from me again. I feel terrible about all of this, and I miss the friendship more than I miss any deeper feelings that I had towards him. I guess I feel no closure because he didn't give me a chance to explain and he didn't understand my feelings.
 

MickeS

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Well, Scott, I think you can kiss that friendship goodbye. If it had been a girl and you would have been straight, it might even have happened the same way.

It's pretty obvious why he doesn't want to be friends with you: he is sure that you only want to be friends with him because you have romantic feelings for him, and he isn't comfortable with that. I think that no matter what you explain, that's how he'll see it, and I can't say I blame him for thinking that.

/Mike
 

ScottR

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MickeS, First of all, thanks for your input. It is much appreciated. If the reason my friend doesn't want to be friends with me is because I have romantic feelings for him, then I feel like the bigger person. I feel this way for two reasons: 1. Honesty 2. Love will always conquer fear/or ignorance (even if that means that I will not be friends with him again.) To have the ability to love, regardless of gender, is a very great thing and I do not regret having had those feelings for him. I think I will have the easier time in future relationships and friendships, because I now surround myself with intelligent, loving people. Oh, and he would have acted the same way if I had been a girl.... he runs from those.
 

Philip_G

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it sucks that he feels that way scott, that's a stupid reason to end a perfectly good friendship (over what sounds like his own insecurities) but, if that's the way he feels that's his decision. I would be afraid that if you pursue re-establishing contact too hard, you would just be reinforcing whatever reason he isn't comfortable with, or doesn't want to remain friends. The way I would handle it personally, make sure he knows you'd like to remain friends, he knows where and how to get a hold of you, then the ball is in his court, if he wishes to be friends, cool! I'd wait until he's ready and makes contact. if not, his loss. Your situation sounds a little more complicated, maybe there are some people on the board that have been there and can offer better advice than us that haven't. Hope it works out for you!
 

Ted Lee

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ahh...
that clears up a lot of things.
as the other guys already mentioned...your friend probably thinks you're still trying to hookup with him. unfortunately, it sounds like he doesn't approve of your lifestyle either. that's two pretty big strikes.
kinda bizarre....our scenarios are flip-flopped. my friend turned out to be gay and i'm the one who tried to keep the friendship going.
since this is an issue for you, i suggest you give it one more try but then let it be. it sounds like you've got your poop together on this issue anyway...
 

Bill Catherall

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Wow...this is so weird. For the past couple of years, since the friend I described began to ignored me, I've often wondered if it was because he has "come out." The thing is though, it wouldn't matter to me one bit. But since he knows I've got a strong Christian background I think that's keeping him from confronting me with it. He might be afraid of rejection, so he's avoiding it. But like I said, I don't care. It wouldn't change things at all for me. And he should know this. We were very close through high school. And during the summers we worked together at a summer camp where we were around each other 24 hours a day for 6 weeks at a time. So he should know me pretty well, and know that I'm not a judgemental person.
We were around each other so much that we knew each other like brothers. But, like MickeS said, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was just too busy at the time and returning my emails and phone calls kept skipping his mind. And now that I've moved away again...
I think I'll email him and see what's up. :)
 

Bill Catherall

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Thanks for that info Buzz. After rereading my post I think I should clarify one point. I don't know if he has come out. I just think he might have. I don't think I made that clear. But if I find out that he has then I'll be sure to follow your advice. :)
But like you said, it could also be that he's just got a bunch of new friends and interests that don't involve me. I also know how hard it can be for single friends to identify with married friends. Their lives can be so different. You can't really go back to the way things were.
 

Ted Lee

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but the whole point of friendship is that you accept the person for who they are or what situation they're in. married or gay or whatever...if you're friends then you'll cope with it.

i don't know how many stupid things my friends did that i put up with. things i know i would never let my sister or an acquantince (sp?) do.

my now-missing buddy once borrowed my car and took it to tijuana...where it promptly got stolen. i simply borrowed another car and went to pick him up - we're talking about a three-hour trip each way.

that is how i interpret friendship...accepting someone for who they are and enjoying their company.

which makes it all weirder why my buddy cut off communication with me - he knew how i felt about friendship. oh well...
 

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