Monday, October 02, 2006

Strangers In Passing


How can dear friends become strangers?




Most times I write to offer opinions and suggestions on how to we can be better imitators of Christ in a violently broken world. Today, however, I am seeking suggestions on to engage the problem of when great friends turn into complete strangers. This is an problem that has consumed my heart and mind for over a month now. Briefly summarized, almost two months ago now I took the opportunity to be vulnerably honest with a dear friend. I was not rude, offensive, nor demeaning. Just completely genuine. I expected my honesty to evoke a number of responses, yet at this moment silence has been the only consequence.

I've tried repeatedly to get in contact with this friend since my moment of truth, but again without success. I'm trying to contact this person to let them know that I am not avoiding them. My question is simply this, does there come a point when one stops contacting a friend who is avoiding you and accept that you've become strangers? Or does one continue to make an occasional attempt to reach your friend in the of hope resurrecting the friendship?

I wish I knew the reason for my friend's silence since it seems really out of their character. The reason I don't know is because this person wont respond. With each passing day I lose a memory of our friendship. What happens when all the memories are gone? Lost will be the friend I once laughed with. Forgotten will be the friend that taught me so much. All there will be left to remember is that the next time we meet it could be as strangers in passing.




CJE

2 comments:

Griswold 9:28 PM  

I think friendships need to be two sided. Whenever you reach the point that it is clearly one sided and that is hurting you more than you can take, you need to move on. I would always stay open to that person should they decide to try to be friends again (holding grudges are too much work) but would not activley work at it.

emily,  12:25 PM  

Being real is a scary thing, both to the person reaching out and especially to the person on the receiving end. After all, the person making the real statement has presumably had time to prepare and to think about what it means to be revealing and true and to take the big breath and plunge in. The person on the receiving end may be like someone thrown into the cold ocean, unable to catch his/her breath and trying desperately to tread water -- and at the same time letting no one know that anything is going on.

Time can be the healer in cases like this. It takes time for the receiver to process and, sometimes, they adjust to the water temperature and life goes on. Sometimes it takes even more time, as other life experiences and comments from OTHER people offer new perspectives on what seemed to be too real to take in.

The previous poster is right -- you can't force someone to be your friend, particularly not in the deep way that you mean. But you can be patient and open, maybe even create opportunities to reconnect at a surface level so that, one day, all the old, deeper roots can reconnect as well.

The sad truth is that people become separated through circumstances, even death, that we can do nothing about. So it seems a waste when we are separated by choices that we CAN control. Maybe this is a tiny part of what God feels when we voluntarily separate ourselves from him, turning away from the "real" things he wants to say to us.

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