Saturday, August 10, 2013

Deep Thoughts: A Friend's Worth

Recently, I was concerned that a friendship was threatened. I consulted another friend who has really excellent judgement. She put it into clear perspective: Is the thing threatening the friendship worth more than the friendship? How long do you expect the friendship to last? Just how much are you willing to sacrifice for this friend, and are they worth it?

Thank God, it all came to naught, and the friendship survived mostly intact.

Now, in a much different friendship, I'm finding myself asking the same types of questions. I've invested a lot of time and emotion into this friendship. The friend went through some major life events - and maybe I wasn't there like I should have been? - and now that life seems to have calmed down a bit, doesn't show any outward signs of wanting to continue the friendship at all. Messages have gone unanswered, expectations completely unfulfilled. And I'm pretty crushed about it.

Do I continue hoping that our friendship will revive at least a little? That requires an investment of hope, and hope is a bigger investment than time. Even if the friendship were a different shape, that would be welcome - the silence is killing me. Has this friendship reached its natural termination? Just how dear to me is this person still?


  1. Can I offer advice? Sometimes you need to reach out in a more personal way - a phone call rather than a text, a letter rather than an email.

    And sometimes you can ask for a third party to reality-check you. Maybe this friend is retreating from everyone. Maybe s/he doesn't realize the extent of that retreat.

    The Magic 8-Ball says: More information needed.


  2. Oh, dear. Friendship is hard; perhaps that's why I have so few long-time friends. I've had friends get upset because I forgot a birthday (never heard from her again), one because she felt that I upstaged her at an event (and I did, but it was unintentional and it would have been better to call me on it at the time). Sometimes, IMO, friendship needs a break and reassessment. Sometimes it needs a sincere apology with no expectations. And sometimes the friendship doesn't survive whatever event crippled it. When that happens, the steps you laid out are wise ones to take. Only you can decide how important the friendship is and whether to try to resurrect it. Just remember, that once you've done what you can to repair it, the ball is in the other person's court and you have no control over her response.

    Love you, honey.

  3. I recently had a friendship of several years crumble into dust because I broke my rule of not working with friends. We were involved in a joint creative project--my friend as the writer, and myself as the artist. I entered the project expecting it to earn very little money (which I still believe). At some point, my friend decided that her writing on the project was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that I was the reason that we were not selling copies of the project. She essentially fired me from the project (using her own artwork to finish the project), and ended the friendship. And I am still shaking my head over this one for various reasons, including the fact that I over looked the fact that this person would place money over a friendship. *sigh*

  4. When this has happened to me, if the friendship is one I've wanted to keep, I've reached out several times, offering my availability to talk, my willingness to listen to what harm I've done and apologize, and my on-going esteem and affection. Then I've stepped back, and placed the entire situation in God's hands. Because, as Cheryle said, I have no control over the other person.

    Sometimes, though, the silence has caused me to become aware that I have pulled back from the friendship myself. I inherently am a conservator of relationships, but over the years I have learned that some relationships are not meant to last forever.

  5. Having experienced the same thing myself a time or two, I know just how you feel. Hope the friendship mends well. {{{hugs}}}