Friends not interested in keeping in touch

(22 Posts)
MmeLindt Thu 15-Apr-10 10:25:32

DH is really struggling with the fact that since we moved to Geneva, he has had to do all of the running to keep in touch with friends back home.

He has several colleagues who he thought were friends (male and female), but now rarely have time for him and never phone, email or text. They are fine if he phones, but never phone back if they see that he has phoned and not reached them.

He also has one particular friend who only phones when he wants advice (which he promptly ignores).

It is upsetting for him. Easy to say that he should dump them, but he is an incredibly loyal guy, does not make friends easily and takes a while to warm up to new folk. So when he makes friends he really would like to keep them.

Is this a common thing when you move abroad do you think, or are his friends just nobs?

OP’s posts: |
fortyplus Thu 15-Apr-10 10:30:32

His friends think he's having such an amazing time in his exciting new job that he doesn't need them! They don't want to disturb him and they're probably a bit jealous too!

It's normal - he shouldn't be fretting about it.

JustMyTwoPenceWorth Thu 15-Apr-10 10:30:46

I think that some people are mates, not friends. Out of sight, out of mind.

CMOTdibbler Thu 15-Apr-10 10:31:19

Actually, I think it's quite common when you are friends with colleagues and aren't in the office with them anymore. I was office based for 8 years, and have had the same job, but home based for the last two when we had to relocate.

Lots of people I would have described as friends in the office, and who are really friendly and glad to see me/chat when I'm there or phone, never pick up the phone or email themselves.

So, I think it may be something to do with being friends with colleagues is mostly to do with being in close contact with them on a daily basis, and when you aren't anymore, things change

MmeLindt Thu 15-Apr-10 11:18:34

Yes, I think that is a big part of it. He saw them as friends when in fact they are not really friends.

I don't think that they are jealous, 40+. There is a widening gap between us and our old friends from home though, I guess this is normal. I sometimes feel that we are outgrowing them.

OP’s posts: |
CMOTdibbler Thu 15-Apr-10 17:17:57

It's a hard thing to accept though - you don't like to think that people weren't as close as you thought they were. And its hard to sustain a friendship at any sort of distance, esp if built on daily contact.

If he wants to stay friends, how about joining Facebook ? Good for keeping in touch more

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 16-Apr-10 08:01:21

I think you have to accept that people change as time passes. We moved away from the UK 10 years ago and don't see people we considered friends any more. for the first year or so, emails were frequent then they tailed off. I tend to be pretty black or white and, people get one bite of the cherry. If they don't respond to an email or letter that's their lot.
OTOH, we are still in contact with people we met while living in Oman and Bangkok and I imagine we will be when we move to Belgium.
I think out of sight out of mind is a good way to sum it up.


MmeLindt Sat 17-Apr-10 14:27:46

He is not a FB kind of person really. I have suggested it.

Yes, Kreecher. I do think that we will find out, as time goes on, who our real friends are. And who were just passing the time, enjoying the moment acquaintances.

I went through this all many years ago when I left UK, it is the first time for DH to have to cope with it.

OP’s posts: |
said Sat 17-Apr-10 14:36:13

I think when it's you that moves away it's more important for you to feel a connection to the old place. For those left behind, the gap left by you just heals overs, as it were. Their life stays pretty much the same and their need for you isn't as strong as your need for them.

ChunkyPickle Sat 17-Apr-10 14:55:46

I move around a lot, and I confess that I'm like this - it's not that I'm not interested, just as JustMyTwoPenceWorth says it's out of sight, out of mind.

I'm fine picking up with people I know after a month, a year, after 5 years (in a couple of cases) - in fact it just means you have more to talk about.

Day to day friends need to be close - otherwise the conversation just tails off as your lives have become so different.

Earlybird Sat 17-Apr-10 16:08:05

I think it is easy to be friends when circumstance brings you together, and seeing each other regularly requires little/no effort.

It is completely different when paths don't naturally cross. It isn't that they no longer care about him, it is just that they are living their lives and he isn't popping up daily. Staying in touch require a special effort, and they are choosing to use their free time differently.

It is hard not to take it personally - I know from experience.

thumbwitch Sat 17-Apr-10 16:13:49

for your DH, MmeLindt - I am finding this as well. People will respond to emails/phonecalls when I make the first move but I have had almost no contact from friends (and these are supposedly real friends) otherwise. One friend, my best friend, drops me a line occasionally but often as not it is as part of a massive group email, not directed to me personally.

It is very disheartening to feel forgotten so quickly, tbh - I feel for him!

Mind you, I do wonder if it is because nothing much is happening in their lives to tell about and they don't want to be constantly asking "How's it going? is the weather any better yet?".

I have thought of doing a quarterly "round up" of events to send to lots of people - those who get offended by such things can bog off anyway, tbh - and see who replies. At least that way people will know I am still alive!

Earthstar Sat 17-Apr-10 16:19:56

I think if you move abroad it is a natural state of affairs that it is you that will be doing the running to keep old friendships going.

The friends you left behind still have the rest of their friends around them and it is less effort for them to see friends who are close by.

The way forward is either to make new friends locally, or be prepared to make most of the effort to stay in touch with your old friends without taking it personally that they make less effort. It was you who chose to move away, and this situation with friends is to be expected as part of that choice.

MmeLindt Sat 17-Apr-10 16:23:41

Sorry that you have been disappointed by your friends.

I actually have a very good group of online friends who have kept in touch, but then we have always lived far apart and kept in touch via our forum so it is different.

I did the "round robin" thing for a while but got little response, the same when I wrote a blog.

I still blog but not for my friends, for myself.

And I use FB for other friends. Although most of the FB friends are folk who I would not normally be in touch with, old school friends, cousins etc.

As to the others, they rarely get in touch.

Sometimes I think that they should just not bother if all they send me is the group email - not even a personal email but a joke or a warning about spam.

OP’s posts: |
Earthstar Sat 17-Apr-10 17:59:51

I think it is hard to stay in touch when friends move abroad because for me seeing people face to face is what friendship is about really.

christie2 Thu 22-Apr-10 11:21:29

What I found having moved between the UK and Canada over the last few years is that you always keep at least one good friend who keeps in touch from each move but most drift off. It is not personal, just the way people are. What I do find, if he ever goes back to this place, he will pick up with them like he never left. I found friends who did not contact me for a year, when I came back, it we just picked up. I did not take in personal. I do however file away who took the time to keep up with me and consider them my more dependable friends and have all the time in the world for them, the others, as someone said, are mates. Ienjoy their company but would not really count on them in a pinch.

sevenseas Fri 23-Apr-10 23:06:56

Moved away from the UK 10 years ago. Initially kept in touch through group emails, letting friends know where I was/what I was doing (travelling then living in Australia). Since left Australia for the middle east and now back in the UK and find that FB is by far the best way to keep in touch with a range of people, as well as get back in touch with people I'd lost touch with years ago.

I have friends who I know are very much 'out of sight/out of mind' but who if I make the effort to go and SEE them are just as good friends as they ever were. I just accept that. Other friends are very good at keeping in touch, some have become better friends via FB/email than they were in RL.

I think you just have to accept people for who they are and what level of friendship they want/are able to give, and get on with making new friends and enjoying your life where you are.

LillianGish Fri 23-Apr-10 23:26:39

We move every four years or so with dh's job. I think you need to have day to day friends in the place where you are living. I've got lots of friends like this - we are friends because we see each other every day, but wouldn't necessarily keep up with them if they/I moved away. I really love the friends who don't require you to keep them posted with constant emails and calls, but who when you see them again can pick up from where you left off. We recently returned to Paris after six years away and hooked up with loads of old pals - we had a lot to catch up on, but in some ways it was if we'd just seen them yesterday.

LillianGish Fri 23-Apr-10 23:32:22

I hate round robins and groups emails as it looks as if you can't be bothered. I might send near identical emails to friends, but I always send them individually. I know people who have huge blogs about their life in Zanzibar (or wherever) with hundreds of photos - it's the sort of thing a doting mum might like to read in great detail, but friends just want edited highlights with anecdotes relevant to them.

canella Sat 24-Apr-10 17:36:30

i feel sad for your dh mmelindt - and i think sometimes its harder for men to make friends! us women make friends easier when we meet other mothers etc but i find men dont make that spontaneous chat.

i think i have quite a few friends who have just never phoned since we've moved away from the UK but I still speak to my best friend of the last 20 years at least once a week.

the ones who dont phone , as sad as it makes me feel, cant have been real friends anyway! even if these people spontaneously wrote an email it would be better and i think your dh prob feels the same way. he needs to not let it upset him - doubt they are upset about it! but i know how hard it is!

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 24-Apr-10 17:46:16

I think the difficult thing about friendships is that a lot of them are based only on things that are happening now, to both of you. Once you're not sharing the same kind of life, it can expose the fact that the friendship isn't based on anything other than your current circumstances. I've often found when writing letters/e-mails that the longer you've been apart from someone, the less you seem to have to tell them. The minutiae of every day life is irrelevant to someone who isn't sharing that life, so that all that you can report is the big stuff.

That said, we're still in touch with some friends who left the UK 20 years ago - don't really know why, we just seem to have connected in a different way.

sad for him though, as it's hard to deal with. I have also been disappointed by people who I thought were friends not bothering to keep in touch when I've moved jobs. I would definitely advise him to re-think the Facebook route.

tb Sun 08-Aug-10 21:25:28

We've found the same thing. I know that it's stupid, but I've felt quite hurt to no longer receive cards at Christmas from people I've exchanged them with for 30 years since I left school.

Some people are just like that!

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