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To think there’s no kind way to end a friendship?

24 replies

NotSuchFriends · 11/11/2019 20:52

Have a friend who I’ve known for around six years. Not close close as we don’t live in the same area, but we’ve met up a few times, talked quite regularly, and just had a generally comfortable friendship.

The last time we spoke about getting together to go to a specific event, having spoken quite regularly in the months leading up to that. And then suddenly nothing. I’ve sent a couple of messages just saying hi, asking how they are etc, and have had responses but they’ve generally been short and to the point, and not really encouraging conversation iyswim.

The event came and went, and I found out later that this friend had gone, and had made no mention of it to me. Last week my DP sent a message wishing them happy birthday and casually mentioning that I hadn’t mentioned us meeting up lately. They responded thank you for the message and then just said they’re never in the area any more.

It’s obvious to me now that they just don’t see us as friends any more,and that is obviously their prerogative, but I don’t know what if anything I’ve done wrong, but I do feel that in truth, there’s no kind way to actually tell someone you’d rather just not hear from them any more, and so gently withdrawing is possibly the only way this can be done.

It makes me sad, but I am not good at confronting these things, and I don’t feel it’s fair to put friend on the spot if they’re trying to be kind and not state some reason why they just don’t want contact with me.

So AIBU to just casually step back and accept that the friendship is over even though I’ll never know why?

OP posts:
pictish · 11/11/2019 21:08

Yanbu, it’s the right thing to do for you.
Never chase.

It’s hard not to but try not to take it personally...friendship do fizzle out for reasons such as moving away. You said yourself you’re not close close with this pal. Sometimes we just have let a few balls drop in order to make it through and mid-tier friendships are often one of those balls.

I have distanced myself from a few pals just recently, not because I don’t like them (I do) but because I simply don’t have the spare time to devote time out to maintain the relationships. I make time to see my few oldest and best but it’s infrequent. Even my ‘best friends’ see little of me.

Sounds like she’s moved on and you’re not close enough friends for her to go to the additional effort of keeping up with you. It won’t be because you’ve done anything wrong I’m sure. Xx

MuchBetterNow · 11/11/2019 21:15

I agree with you, there is no Kind way. You get posters on here berating op for ghosting someone but I don't see any alternative being any better.

What's to be gained by saying "hey I don't want to socialise with you any more" followed by a list of reasons including all their perceived shortcomings. In real life the person would probably be either destroyed or furious and quite rightly tear a strip off you.

Quietly disappearing and not responding to messages is the modern way. It's crap but it's unlikely the ghoster will be honest and tell you the real reason for fear of the reaction.

pictish · 11/11/2019 21:27

I agree that there is no viable alternative to ghosting.
You can’t say, “I’m just not that fussed about being friends with you any more, sorry. Have a nice life.”, as it tends to hurt and offend.

NotSuchFriends · 11/11/2019 21:32

Well this is it. People often say they want to know but would they really want to?

In my heart of hearts I would kind of like to know but equally I don’t think I want to be faced with a potential list of my shortcomings, and anything else (you know, the “it’s not you it’s me” speech) just comes across as disingenuous.

OP posts:
pictish · 11/11/2019 22:02

In this case your shortcomings may amount to two things.

  1. You’re not a close friend.
  2. You live in a different area.

Honestly. X
user467 · 11/11/2019 22:13

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1Morewineplease · 11/11/2019 22:19

Just walk away.

Aroundnabout1 · 11/11/2019 22:25

Its hard but its very often nothing personal. Its to do with what's convenient.

dayswithaY · 11/11/2019 22:30

Ghosting is actually the kinder option. Who wants to know what someone really thinks of you?

caravanette · 12/11/2019 05:37

I go with ghosting as well. It's not ideal but tbh if you're fed up with someone- however you behave you won't spare their feelings and it's perfectly natural to lose enthusiasm for friendships

billandbenflowerpotmen1 · 12/11/2019 05:53

I think ghosting is only necessary when a person doesn't take clear hints that someone else wants the friendship to finish
I currently have a friend like this. I don't want to be in contact with her anymore, I have been open and honest about the reasons why although said it as kindly as I could. She continues to attempt to maintain contact with texts. I don't want to block her as don't see why there needs to be a drama and I give grey rock responses a day or so later. She's intelligent and I've got no idea why she continues, it makes me realise I did exactly the right thing!

I've been ghosted after a disagreement with a friend. That bloody hurt and I grieved the loss of the relationship for months as we used to see each other almost daily. It left so much unsaid and I still miss her but accept her wishes

Hey1256 · 12/11/2019 06:01

I agree and I've been in the same situation where I just don't want to socialise with a person anymore. I still have upmost respect for them but our discussion/lives/perspectives change whereby I just don't enjoy their company anymore. Quite often it's also because they are the types that can be negative and I just can't stand to be around that.

Whilst I never ghosted anyone I just decided to never contact them and they also never contacted me so whenever it's happened it clearly must have been a mutual thing.

I always debated whether or not I should have been honest and explained my reasons but what gold would come of it aside from upsetting someone?

Now, if they came back to ask me why I don't talk to them then I absolutely would give them an honest answer but unless they ask, I just don't see the point.

Sorry you've been in the situation though I know how it feels and it's not nice

DeathStare · 12/11/2019 06:12

I think there are lots of different types of friendship. Very few people we meet will be close friends for life. Some people will be friends for a short time only - often when they have a shared interest or are in the same place - and can be close friends for that time period but then drift to pretty much nothing afterwards. Some people may be "social friends" where they see a lot of each other/socialise a lot together but aren't particularly close emotionally.Some friendships will go through phases where they are closer and phases where they are more distant.

I think the hurt and sadness sometimes comes when the two people are on different pages in terms of what sort of friendship it is, or where the friendship moves into a different phase at a time when one person isn't ready for that/wasn't expecting that.

Screwtheclockchange · 12/11/2019 06:37

I agree that there's no kind way. I think the question of which unkind method is the best depends on the character of the person you're dealing with. I'm pretty introverted so I'd rather be left with uncertainty about whether the other person really intended to end the friendship than have to sit through a confrontation. Give me ghosting any day over having to listen to someone I care about explain why they don't like me anymore. Then there are other people who say they always want to hear the reasons, even if it hurts.

"Slow fade" might be kindest if it works, but some people just don't get the message.

Some people will claim that you ghosted them when they just weren't listening to a clear message. An ex-friend of mine had a bad habit of having screaming, four-lettered meltdowns at people (in person or on social media) over trivial things. If they never spoke to her again afterwards, she'd whine that they were horrible people who'd ghosted her without an explanation. If someone ceases contact immediately after something obviously bad that you did to them, then I don't consider it to be ghosting.

churchandstate · 12/11/2019 06:50

Ghosting is absolute cowardice and it’s cruel. This is better than that, but it’s still not brilliant. If you didn’t ever do anything wrong to her, all you can do is let it go and say her issue, not yours.

caravanette · 12/11/2019 07:09

I've found no matter how considerate and respectful you are when you try and distance yourself it doesn't spare thei free longs / they know what's happening. But that's life and sometimes it has to be done

caravanette · 12/11/2019 07:10

Should say doesn't spare their feelings

wondering7777 · 12/11/2019 07:12

I’ve had friendships where it’s slowly fizzled out as we’ve moved in different directions with our lives. The texts just became more and more infrequent until they dried up completely. That was a mutual occurrence on both sides though I guess.

Holidayaddict · 12/11/2019 07:22

There's a difference between ghosting and fading out (which is what your friend has done to you). I agree ghosting is cruel unless the person has done something awful. I'd much rather be faded out and assume we'd drifted apart rather than have someone sit me down & list why they don't want to be friends anymore, especially if I haven't actually done anything wrong. It can be tricky though when the person being faded doesn't get the message and persistently tries to stay in contact.

In short, no-one should feel forced to remain friends with someone whose company they no longer enjoy. Nor should they feel forced to offer them an explanation.

ShippingNews · 12/11/2019 07:40

There's a difference between ghosting and fading out (which is what your friend has done

I agree with PP - your friend is just letting the friendship die a natural death. You were never close to start with , so really it's no great loss. Best to move on, rather than prod her for a reason .

MrsTWH · 12/11/2019 07:55

I’m someone who always tries to see the best in people and in the past have failed to “get the nessage” about a slow fade... I assume they’re busy/stressed/I’ve caught them in the middle of something. I think it’s just easier and kinder to send a message saying you don’t wish to be in contact.

NotSuchFriends · 12/11/2019 08:05

Oh I certainly don’t intend to confront and will now just stop pushing it any more. I won’t cut them off if they get back in contact either but I do like and respect them as a person and so I just have no inclination towards causing unnecessary conflict.

I think that it’s hard because I find it hard to make friends in general. There’s no particular reason why, just life circumstances. My ex didn’t like me having friends but I did have some school mum friends until he moved us away from all of them. And by that point the DC were in the upper primary years at their new school so those cliques had already been cemented among the other parents iyswim. Then the DC went to secondary where those kinds of friendships just don’t happen, and now I have some long-term health problems which mean that getting out has been difficult.

But I have always valued the friends I do have, so when one backs off it’s naturally going to hurt because mmmy options are limited.

OP posts:
NiceLegsShameAboutTheFace · 12/11/2019 08:21

Ghosting is actually the kinder option. Who wants to know what someone really thinks of you?

No, for me it isn't. I have (had) a very treasured male friend who appears to have ghosted me. He lives a good distance away so it's mainly messaging but .... he matters greatly in my life.

I wouldn't like him to tell me that I'm a dull, cantankerous, ugly old woman: no. But if he could just find a couple of minutes to say that life's moved on and wish me well, then I'd be very happy and could look back positively at the friendship.

I'd just like to know that he's happy really. As it is, I don't know very much. I have some evidence that he's still alive but .... that's all. We don't have any friends in common so I've nobody to ask. If the world's future depended on it then I would find him but I'm not going to those lengths just to check; after all, he clearly doesn't seem to want me to.

I hope that one day he makes contact again. I think about him a fair bit and am quite sad about it at times Sad But .... it doesn't spoil my otherwise lovely life Blush

Piffle11 · 12/11/2019 08:42

This friend said to your DP that they are 'never in the area anymore' - did you ever go to them? Was the onus on them to come to where you live? I used to have a friend who lived in the area I used to live in: I still went there (about 30 mins drive) for certain things, and would often see her at the same time. Eventually I no longer needed to go there, so was just going to see her. We were no longer that close, so tbh making the effort to go and see her was getting in the way of being able to do other stuff. Most people are busy, and closer friendships, families, work etc tend to come before a not-so-close friendship.

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