Open Letter to the Friend Who Quit

Dear Friend,

I know you won’t read this, but I wish you would.

You were quite brave to tell me that I’m too much for you. That after 15 years of friendship you just can’t handle how intense I am. That you want out.

Of course, I wish you had told me a year ago, when you stopped answering my calls and emails. Because you left me thinking for thirteen months that you were hurt, depressed, overwhelmed, or insulted. It would have been nice for you to stand up for yourself back then, so I didn’t spend all that time offering support and love, of the sort that we’ve always offered each other. That you offered me so many times that I was in desperate need. That I really owed you and would have gladly given if you’d ever picked up the phone.

And though you severed ties several months ago, made it clear that you wanted nothing to do with me, I miss you. I love you.

You’re in everything here…in the wine glasses I rarely use but still remember fondly as a “You’re Better Off without Him” present given more than a decade ago. In the food processor I’m using now to make baby food, that you sent when you found out I was making Peanut’s baby food with a small grinder. You’re in one of the four books I keep on my desk because they make me ache desperately to write. You’re in the felt pizza you sent Peanut, the blanket you sent just because, and the muslin blanket you sent Butter (once I finally got you to respond to an email and you admitted to having avoided me for more than a year). You’re in randomness of every day, large and small, most of which you’ve probably forgotten, but all of which occupy space in my life and say to me that you thought of me. Past tense. Done. Over. Regretted, I guess, and wasted. But not for me.

Damn it, you’re everywhere around here. Except where it really counts: in person, in spirit, and in friendship.

And I’m so mad and hurt and bitter.

But I’d forget it all in a minute if you’d just call or write.

Because I love you.

25 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Friend Who Quit

  1. Oh this is so shitty. Surely you two can mend this? I will sponsor a night out of drunken debauchery. I lost a friend too in a similar way though mostly for distance and perhaps changed alliances. I miss her.

  2. I’ll buy a round for you two!

    I lose friends every time I move, yannow, every other year. The fire took away my pics and stuff, but I still have the memories. Movies and songs really hit me hard.

  3. It is really hard when friends quit on us or let us down and we feel we need to quit. I am in a similar situation where I gave up on a friendship. We still talk from time to time but it is not the same, nor will it ever be. I think the both of us are okay with that. You however, sound really hurt and I’m sorry for that.

  4. I am so sorry, Nap. I had that happen to me, when I was a lot younger and less sure of myself. I don’t think it makes much of a difference when someone who has been such a big part of your life all of a sudden disappears. Sending you hugs!

  5. Oh, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. This must hurt so much. I am so far away from my very few friends, with pathetically little contact, and I miss them terribly, which is hard enough without the hurt factor. I’m so sorry, Naptime.

  6. I’m struggling with a couple of friends myself right now. I’m so sorry that your going through this. There’s nothing else to say but it sucks…

  7. You know how much I can relate to this post. I wish you lived in Stepford so we could navigate the shitty stuff in life together. Friends who quit are such a bitter pill to swallow.

    ps: she didn’t tell you that you reminded her of death, did she? ‘Cause that really blows.

  8. I had to quit a friend once — one of my oldest friends. Once we got through college, we didn’t see each other much, and our lives went in vastly different directions. The only time he ever contacted me was when he was having a crisis. I started calling myself his “crisis friend.” He would call at all hours of the night, whilst in crisis, to bemoan his fate to me. It got to the point where the whole house would be woken up at 3 a.m. because of this guy.

    Then, he started dating one of my good friends in the midwest, and their relationship took a violent turn. After I found out he was abusing my girlfriend, I stopped talking to him forever. They broke up, and I’m still friends with her, but I can’t bring myself to talk to him. Not only did I feel like he took advantage of me as his crisis friend, but he also was physically hurtful to someone else i loved. Not okay. I hope he rots.

    Your situation is clearly different. But the pain reminded me of my situation. It’s hard to let go of a friend, even in drastic circumstances. I hope you can work it out and patch things up. You are obviously hurt. (((hugs!)))

  9. Tara, I wish that would work. I’m too mad to offer. Who avoids a 15-year friend who is really close, avoids them for a year before saying what they need to say?

    jc I forget how lucky I am that my fire was long ago. I lost childhood and teenage stuff, but the grownup stuff I have, and it’s comforting. And maddening when a one-sided friend divorce is in every room in my house.

    Jen it only it were mutual. I get growing apart. But I thought we had grown closer and closer and closer. But apparently having similar kids at almost the same time made use too close for three years? Because it all fell apart after that.

    Maria, thankfully I am sure enough about myself not to think it was my fault. I am who I am and I was the best friend I could be. Trying really hard to remember that she’s not the one who deserved better, because that’s where I seem to lean.

    Macondo, the distance thing hurts a lot. In fact, she was close then far for a long time. And after our children were born we were far until I moved close. That must have been when the too much happened, because she went MIA nine months later.

    Heather, sorry you’re getting this, too. Blech.

    Kitch, same situation, but it took all these months for me to be willing to write about it. Clings to my days like a bad smell. Not the smell of death, though. Dirty diapers, maybe?

    Fie, that just sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. This is small potatoes compared with abusive and manipulative non-friends. This hurts in a shocking and regrettable way, but has none of the nausea of being used or abused. Sorry for your friend. But not the other one. What a f*cker.

  10. Just popping in to tell you that I love you, that I’ve been wanting to call you for a few days, but you know I have “phone issues.” But my mind hasn’t been far from your side.

    I was literally sick for a month after the “you remind me of death” incident, but those first 72 hours? I have never, not ever, cried over a man like I cried for her.

    Because best friends? They are the ones who know all of your dark corners, your horrible truths, and profess to love you anyway. Until they don’t.

    I know it sounds trite and stupid, but she is the loser in this bargain. You are so good and honest and true. Maybe her small heart just couldn’t handle that.

  11. Kitchy, I love you.
    Spouse agrees with you. He has said she isn’t in high school anymore and that hiding from someone for a year when you want to break up is just lame and juvenile. So when I want to feel spiteful about this, he has gobs of fodder.

  12. Tell lemon curd to send some lemon curd to your “quit” and kitch’s “death” pronto. Lemon margaritas for everyone.

  13. My very best friend quit talking to me one day. It took me a couple weeks to get that I was frozen out because I’m not generally on the defensive. It went on a year, during which she said maybe twelve words to me (all hurtful), and then we talked again. We get together from time to time now but it can never be the same. However, I do now know that it had everything to do with her and not with me. In fact, she doesn’t even remember the hurtful things she told me at the time. Something made her doubt and loathe herself (it was another person) and she could not continue to love me, or anyone. She was not capable.

    Still hurt like hell, though.

  14. *hugs* At least you got an answer to what was going on. Even though it completely SUCKS. My friends just slowly disappear, leaving a hole. Of course, that comment didn’t help. Just know, I understand. Completely. *hugs*

  15. That friend? Idiotic. How could anyone deprive themselves of the pleasure of your company (h/t Hurston for that lovely phraseology)? I’m so sorry that you are going through this — love love love hugs hugs hugs your way.

  16. I’ve been agonizing for months, hurt, confused and sad, because my friend of 14 years has suddenly, and without explanation, stopped writing. Every week I send her chatty, upbeat e-mails and photos, as though I’ve not noticed that she’s not responding. She hasn’t even acknowledged whether she received the Christmas present I sent her two weeks ago. I want desperately to know what’s going on but words fail me every time I start to write. Your Open Letter to the Friend who Quit mirrors exactly how I feel and what I’d like to say. May I use it (leaving out the references to Peanut and Butter, since they don’t apply to us) to let her know how I feel and that I will always be her friend, even if she’s decided that she no longer wants to be mine? Thank you so much.

    • Linda, I’m so sorry you’re going through a similar abandonment. Hope you can get her to at least answer you (sure you can base a letter on this one; modify it, though, since if she ever finds out you just copied another she doubt your sentiment).

  17. Thank you so much for understanding. I’ll modify the letter and let you know whether she replies. It’s been 7 months – I’ve searched obit notices, real estate sites, genealogy sites (an interest we share); and have read through the local newspapers in her town. Not an easy task since she lives in Australia. Her e-mails aren’t bouncing back to me so I assume her e-address is still active. I’ll be sending this letter by snail mail–registered, if possible there. This is so unlike her. I’m afraid something’s happened and no one’s thought to let me know. Perhaps I’m fooling myself but I can’t bring myself to give up on her.

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  20. Ah..this has happened to me. Not because I am too intense…probably because I’m not intense enough. Not enough partying on my end? Too much focus on my own problems and family?
    Sorry. . .

    • Seems to happen to most women…and the friendship breakups are so much harder. When a lover dumps us, we can always say it’s for someone else or that it just wasn’t a fit. But that’s presupposing monogamy. There is no friendship monogamy, so if a friend dumps us, it’s not for someone else and it’s not because there isn’t fit. It’s because they genuinely find us loathsome.

      We’re not, of course. But it feels that way.

      Sorry about your loss.

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