I recently received the following email and though I’d share my response…
The year 2016 was a pretty bad one for me, socially. I seemed to lose contact with many people that I once called “friend”. There was one guy though, that really stands out. I’ll call him Matt. I’ve known Matt for well over a decade. We first met when he was shooting an indie film and I auditioned for it. We hit it off pretty well and even though he was a generation older than me, we found that we had many things in common. We ended up started a band together, we loved cooking and would have semi-professional, pretty competitive “cook offs” for friends, family and guests. I watched his kids grow up from pre-teens to post-college. We even tried our hand at starting a couple of businesses together. And when we weren’t trying to conquer the worlds of movies, music, or food we could just sit by a fire outside, drink scotch, and talk for hours. Even though we often found ourselves on opposite sides of the discussion both politically and socially, we managed to hold on to our respect for one another and never let it devolve into an angry shouting match that ended the friendship.
That’s not to say we didn’t have real arguments that sometimes DID put our relationship on pause for a time. Sometimes we wouldn’t speak for months, but eventually we’d put whatever issue had come between us aside, shake hands, and start over.
But last September, I guess that changed. For some reason, Matt stopped responding to any and all attempts at communication. Initially, I thought something had happened personally that he just needed time alone…so I left it. Like I said, months without communication wasn’t totally abnormal for us. But that time apart had always had a catalyst. There was always a REASON. But after a few more attempts, in which I expressed to him that his total silence was confusing and hurtful and receiving no response, I guess I just feel like I must have done or said something to piss him off, though I can’t think of what. The last time I actually saw him, we hugged goodbye and he asked me to let him know that I got home ok (which I did, complete with heart emoji’s and everything).
This Christmas I was really missing him so I texted him one last time. I made it pretty clear (in loud and colorful language, did I mention I might have had a bit to drink?) that I was hurt and that I thought he was being a jerk by not even explaining to me why he wasn’t talking to me anymore, after a decade of friendship. His response was simple and cryptic as hell. He said Merry Christmas to me and my family and that he was sure we’d see each other again soon.
What’s that even mean? I call you a jerk and a shitty friend and you say we’ll see each other again soon? How’s that gonna happen when you’ve spoken to me one time in 5 months and that was just to send a cryptic non-message?
Anyway, I’m not sure what I should do with this guy. Thoughts?
So I responded to him…
Sorry to hear about your “friend”. I use quotes on that word for obvious reasons. I sounds like you’ve already figured this guy out, so there’s not a lot more that I could tell you that you don’t already know. But I guess I would add this.
There are 7 billion people on this planet and we meet a small percentage of them in average life span of 60-80 years. Of THAT small percentage, we generally call a TINY percentage “friend”. Let’s say that, in your lifetime you have 10 REALLY GREAT friends. Ten people that are like family to you (in some cases they might only BE family). Ten people out of 7 BILLION!! That (grabs calculator) is .00000014286% That’s nothing! That’s less that pinching a dash of sand between your fingers at the beach. And honestly, I think 10 people of that level of friendship is assuming that you get really lucky in meeting awesome people. Bottom line: true friendship is literally a more precious commodity that gold.
So if this guy Matt can’t see that, for whatever reason, then you probably don’t need to waste that commodity on him. I’m not trying to crap on him, I’m sure in his own way he’s a completely lovable and worthy guy. I’m just looking at this logically. I mean, taking the precious metal analogy further, if you were a mining corporation and you have been getting gold from a vein in the earth for the last ten years, and suddenly there wasn’t any more gold, you wouldn’t just keep digging, just because you’ve BEEN digging. You’d pack up the operation and move on. Same principle applies here.
The only difference is that as a mining corporation, you don’t get emotionally invested in the vein of gold.
The real issue here, I think, it’s hard to look at friendships with a dispassionate eye. We invest time, energy and ourselves into friendship. That investment begins to blind us if we have to reevaluate the friendship. We can’t seem to look past what we’ve given and really see what we might be losing if we continue the friendship.
Without being flippant, fortunately for you, it seems like Matt is going to remove that blindness by simply taking himself out of the friendship. In a way, he’s saving you the need to reevaluate the friendship by simply not being your friend.
That sucks. That hurts. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry that happened to you, but try and remember that there are 7 billion other people out there that might be as good or better of a friend. Hopefully you can find one of them and try again. Good luck.