Dropped by a friend, now I need to respond and I am stuck on an emotional hamster wheel
April 21, 2012 9:44 AM Subscribe
I got lost in post-divorce crazytown when I was dropped by a friend. We are in our 40's but it feels like a teenage nightmare. Now he's checking in and I don't know how to respond!
posted by Fierce clam to Human Relations (21 answers total)
I made a really good friend at work about a year and a half ago. We communicated almost every day including nights and weekends. The tenor and type of our communication varied according to fluctuations in the relationship: at the least he’d send links to articles about stuff I am interested in or drop by my office, and at most we spent Christmas Eve together because it was my first, post-divorce, without my son. The connection we had meant a lot to me.
Then about a month ago, he was uncharacteristically rude and snippy to me. This followed a period in which he faced some dissonance between his perceived importance at our workplace and his actual importance. As his closest friend, I had to (delicately and sensitively) bring him some of this information. Therefore, I chalked his behavior up to job stress/irritation with me and let him be. But when I waved and smiled at him a few days later, he gave me this barely disguised smirk. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, decided to tread cautiously by not contacting him, and figured I’d hear from him eventually. But I didn’t. I was/am hurt angry and confused. He doesn’t have many friends at work and has a rep for being emotionally tone-deaf and a black and white thinker. ( On the other hand, I am known as being very intuitive and a people person. In some respects we were the office odd couple.) I figured he didn’t want to be friends anymore, didn’t know how to end it gracefully so he just stopped talking to me.
And then he emailed me this week saying he hadn’t seen me in a while and asked how things were and how my father is (recently metastasized cancer).
This is crazy, but I don’t know how to respond. My first impulse was to write back with a list of all the things I’ve been doing and answer the questions literally. My second was to write back saying that I am still hurt by being dropped and that I am not ready to make small talk. My third was to ignore the email altogether because I don’t want to resume communication and then get dumped again. These options correspond quite nicely with my desire to 1) maintain the friendship 2) let him know he hurt me 3) be pissed off. I am working to try and be more vulnerable as I spent many years hiding in a marriage. On the other hand, I don’t want to set myself up for more mistreatment. But also, I still like him and wish we were friends. What’s my best course of action?