How to Lose a Dear Friend Without Even Trying.
A 5 Step Process.
Step 1. First, before you lose your friend, you must have a meaningful friendship.
Everyone in the whole wide world deserves to have at least one. This universe is huge. Friends carve out a small space in the universe for you.
If you have never had a friend you’ve been able to open up to, please know that someone is out there for you. (Straight men: you can find a great guy friend, too. There are men out there who can be open and vulnerable, and who will give you hugs without “the man handshake” wedged between your bodies.)
Go places with this friend. Take a hike together. Swim a river side by side. Laugh a lot. Tell stupid jokes. Stupid jokes like, “A polar bear walked into a bar. The bartender asked him, ‘What would you like to drink?’ The polar bear crossed his arms and said, ‘Hmmmm.’ The bartender asked, ‘Why the big pause (paws)?'” Needlessly explain the joke and laugh very hard over it.
Visit with your friend regularly. Maybe you will even fly to a foreign country when they are there for awhile, or you will break your childhood piggybank in order to take a road trip and visit them. Maybe you will drive one hour each way across the mountains to have lunch with them, every Wednesday, on your day off.
Most importantly, talk to your friend. Laugh together. Discuss questions you have, like, “Why do I feel so disappointed when my ex-girlfriend doesn’t call me back?” or, “Why do police on university campuses carry guns?” and, “What can I do to feel safe in a world that I don’t feel I belong in?”
Ask questions of your friend, too, like: “Why do you look so sad?” “How can I help make you feel better?” Then answer each other’s questions. Be unafraid of this.
Step 2. Find a reason to put physical distance between yourselves.
This is the hardest step, I promise. Everything from here on out will be crumbs compared to this. In Step 2, you might cry, clutch each other, and swear to call each other everyday.
Or, maybe you will vanish into the night without a word, afraid to say “goodbye” because you hate the way it feels.
Here are some ideas for creating physical distance: Go to school in a far away town. Move to a new state for a job. Fly overseas to teach English.
It will be hard to leave your dear friend behind. But this is a key step in losing a dear friend, and the hardest. After your friend is out of sight, it is easier to put them out of mind.
Step 3. Experience major life changes.
The easiest change? Meet the love of your life. This will make it easier to stop calling your dear friend, because romantic relationships take time. If you move in with the love of your life, congratulations! Now, spend every waking moment possible with your love. Do not feel the need to call your old friend back. They are far away, and you have found love.
Remember: If you are to lose a dear friend, it is easiest when you are in a good mood and thinking, “I have all I need.” In rich times, it is easy to forget about the people who’ve helped you through the tough.
- You can also experience a more difficult life change. Most of these options are sad, and may make you realize you need your friends more than ever.
So the best way to lose your friend this is the positive life change. Get a new job! Fall in love! Have a baby! Meet lots of new friends that you might feel a special connection with!
Step 3 con’t. The bottom line: Don’t call them, write them letters, or return any emails.
If they beg you to call them back in multiple voice mails or emails, do not call them back. If they send you a wedding invitation, do not RSVP your lack of attendance.
Fall off the face of the earth for a long time.
Step 4. Stay Away in a Time of Need.
Eventually, your dear friend will experience a Time of Need. Your friend may fall gravely ill, lose a loved one, experience a painful breakup, or get laid off.
If you are absent in this Time of Need, you will drift apart more quickly. After calling you repeatedly, your friend will realize you are unreliable, or “too busy for them.” They will look for other people to support them, people who aren’t you, out of sheer necessity.
If you re-emerge after the Time of Need, chances are your friend will have dramatically changed. Let enough time pass. Now you will no longer recognize your friend: their coping strategies are different; they have a life perspective you don’t remember. Maybe they’ve found a new spirituality, or changed their political views, or have stronger personality traits.
Perhaps your friend will harbor sadness or distrust towards you for staying away from them in their Time of Need. This may very well be the case, and understandably so. Do nothing to earn back their trust. Pretend everything is fine.
Do not acknowledge the fact you went MIA; do not offer any explanation nor apologize.
Eventually, the two of you will drift apart and you won’t need to say anything at all.
Step 5. Someday, maybe someday, look back and say:
“Hey, I remember _________. We used to be really good friends. In fact, I even flew across the ocean/drove 400 miles/visited them every week for a year/_____________ because we were such great friends. Yeah, they meant a lot to me during some real important times in my life….
I wonder what they’re doing now?”
And after you think that, shrug your shoulders. Do nothing. Try to forget about it. Blame situations out of your control. Make excuses to yourself like, “I never felt they really GOT me.” Say trivializing things like, “It was just easier not to call” or “I got busy.”
Don’t think too hard about friends who carry pieces of you that you cannot know until you are with them. Don’t think about any feelings you might have hurt. Don’t think about how your life might have — would have — been different — if you’d cared for your friendship better.
Yeah. Try to forget all that. Shrug your shoulders and move on.
– OR –
Pick up the phone. Say, “I’m sorry I was out of touch. I would like to reconnect with you. I hope it’s not too late.”
Cross your fingers. Listen to what they have to say. Don’t put the attention back on yourself with self-pitying comments or excuses; just listen.
Remember that friendship is constant and changing. Open yourself to the changes. Commit yourself to the constant. It may not be the same, but a dear friendship will feed you, if you feed it. A dear friendship is a place you can kick up your feet and put them on the table. A dear friendship can be a signpost, a field, or simply that place you go.
You know, that place you go when you get tired of traveling?
That place you go when you want to go home.
Photo Credit: DeviantArt.