A goodbye note from a friend

A had a friend.  We met when we were 18.  We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives since 1983….that’s a long time.

We looked alike, went to college, shared clothes, cars, friends, horses, drinks, laughs, hard times, fun times.  Now she’s gone.

Not dead, she’s decided not to interact anymore.  She’s pulled herself away, and refused to interact with me, except for an occasional “like” on Facebook.  I asked her why. 

She emailed a response.

“I have searched for an answer. What comes to me is that I am paralyzingly unsettled by intimacy. I believe that is why I have no friends. The moment I meet someone with whom I might connect, everything inside of me pulls away until I am so uncomfortable around her that it’s easy to not be.

For me, you epitomize intimacy. Everything about you calls to me, invites me to open up, expose who I am. I want you to know me…and that wanting terrifies me. And because, in my darkness, knowing me makes you less. So, I have the shallow relationship with you that social media allows. I get to be connected to you without ever having to truly connect.

None of this factors in your feelings or needs. By not doing so I perpetuate my self fulfilling prophesy that I am fundamentally characterless.

I’m sorry and appreciate that you forgive me…because that’s the kind of person You are.”

That’s one of the most grandiose ways I’ve seen to say” F’off. I’m broken and only want to watch you on Facebook, and the last 33 years…just kidding.”

I sure can pick friends.  I might have to reevaluate my selection process.

22 thoughts on “A goodbye note from a friend

  1. This came into my email box on a day I’m feeling very isolated and alone. My self-pity side wonders what’s wrong with me that I am always the friend that initiates the conversation and takes steps to move closer. Thank you for sharing this. In my thoughts to comfort you for your loss, I find myself thinking “I know this hurts, but it’s not you. You’re a wonderful friend. You care about all the right things. I’m sorry you’re hurting.” And maybe you’re giving me the words I need to tell myself on these lonely days. “I know this hurts, but it’s not me. I’m a wonderful friend. I care about all the right things. I’m sorry I’m hurting.” Much easier to tell you than to actually believe myself. Hope you can believe it. Otherwise I will make us bathroom mirror post-it notes!

  2. Has something changed in her life to make her feel this way? It’s difficult to understand how a friendship of such long duration could essentially end like this.

    • She adopted a 10 year old boy last year, and since then, she’s steadily retreated. I’ve repeatedly reached out, but to no avail. My last attempt to reach her was last week when I called. She didn’t pick up, so I just asked why she had withdrawn on her voicemail.
      This is what I got as a response almost a week later. It’s the first thing she has communicated to me since last November.

  3. I think I tend to be more callous (Hmmm…this might be a problem, now that I think about it), but I have absolutely no patience for this kind of thing. When someone tells me they don’t want me, my primary instinct is to let them go and fast. But, life has taught me that the kind of person who sends these “I don’t want you messages” are the kind of person that is a master of manipulation…and the usually come back with a massive guilt trip. That’s the one thing that certain people can hit hard by using it.

    I don’t think I said anything worthwhile there…lol…but I guess I can understand the hurt this might have caused you.

      • The words were cold…almost like…hmmm…it’s your issue she’s effed in the head. Almost as if she needs you to take ownership over her behavior.

  4. This was a very strange email. “The moment I meet someone with whom I might connect…” Wait! She has known you for 33 years. Her thoughts make no sense. My first impression was “this is a person who is really hurting and depressed and it has nothing to do with Wendy. Perhaps she is overwhelmed by the adoption of an older child and doesn’t know how to ask for help.” My second thought was that if I am wrong and she really means what she says, then she doesn’t deserve having you as a friend. If tarnishedsoul is right and she is being manipulative, then that is just plain evil. I know you didn’t need this right now (and as a good friend she should have known it too). I am sorry she has betrayed you and your friendship in this hurtful way. I will be praying for peace and healing for you. I’m not quite sure how to pray for her. I do hope you have a good weekend.

    • I could give you a really big hug. Thanks for the support. I appreciate your prayers.
      I was just struck by the self absorbed, ingrown focus, and the cold tone. I’m praying for her peace. She’s been seeing a therapist for the last few years, and I’m praying she gets a new one, or someone gives her a “wake up” kick in the pants.

      • You are welcome and here’s a virtual hug😊. Your comment about her situation gives more insight. Therapists, psychologists, etc. can be a boon or a real disaster. I would say her current one hasn’t done her any favors. It reminds me of an old movie. Crocodile Dundee says they don’t have shrinks in the outback…why do you need a shrink when you have “mates” to talk to? I agree that the tone of the email was “self absorbed” which for me means too much therapist prompted attention on herself, too much over analyzing her situation. I will pray for her too. Seems she needs a change of direction–just not one that moves her away from her friend of 33 years.

  5. I think your friend has had some relationship issues for much longer than she’s admitting to in her note. Sometimes, as much as we think we know people, we don’t know them at all. This is not about you, it’s about her and what she hid from you for so long. She needs to speak to someone who can help her through this. Maybe she already has.
    Great quote, by the way.

    • I hope she will get a different therapist. The one she has now obviously hasn’t caught her deep self loathing.
      I’m tempted to reach out to her husband, to make sure he knows how deep she has withdrawn. It’s just a tricky situation.

  6. Wendy, I am so sorry that you are experiencing this loss. It does sound as if your friend is very troubled and I hope she is able to get help soon. It is so hard when someone you were once closed to grows distant. That happened to me with my best friend from high school. We were close until our 40s – we are even godmother to each other’s child – and then suddenly we just began to drift. I admire your courage in asking her what has happened. I haven’t been able to do that with my friend. I find confrontation to be very hard. Sending you love. ❤ Grace

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