Monday 8 November 2004

Say something once, why say it again?

On 11th December 2002, I received the following email from Justin (let's call him that, because that is his name), a friend I have known since 1981:

"Okay, here's the thing. Now I was going to send this months ago but I guess I was avoiding it, thinking I wouldn’t have to and now I do.

I just don’t see the point in us being friends anymore. And far from being a weird and immature decision, I think it’s a very adult one. The last year or so that we’ve all met up things have been very strained between us. No one seems that happy to see each other. No one really asks or seems to care how the others really are. Bitterness and envy - I don’t know why - seem to hang in the air, coming from all three of us. The atmosphere is very odd. And there’s bickering and bad looks and bad moods. And I feel all three of us are guilty of this. Just the whole experience isn’t great. It’s not all the time - meeting up with you both, there’s doubtless some good moments over the weekend/whatever but there’s also lots of other things going on and I don’t know why. It’s almost as though none of us really wants to hang out together but we feel we have to. We’re clinging to years of history together. And it doesn’t have to be like that.

I guess another problem is that I never feel this way with any other friends of mine. I always feel they want to see me and that we have a laugh. And that when I leave them I want to see them again and there aren’t any problems. But it’s not like that when I’ve seen you guys. I always feel one of you or me is pissed off. They’re pained experiences. And so I’ve just been wondering why we still do it, why we still meet up. I don’t really think you two are bothered. I’ve got one email from each of you since Glasto. No phone calls. Jon’s was a line asking out of the blue if he could come over. Yours Tim was a massive one this week. That’s it. All other emails have been group jokes/group get-togethers. Nothing personal at all - no how are yous, where are you, what’s wrong. Nothing. I don’t really think any of us want to hang around each other anymore.

BUT I don’t think the blames lays at any one person’s door. I’m not finger pointing and I don’t want any bitter slanging matches. I think for whatever reason we’ve just all grown apart and we’re different people now and we should move on. We’ve had some good laughs and let’s just leave it at that."
As you might imagine, I found this a little upsetting. In fact, nearly 2 years later it still upsets me when I read it.

This was a total bolt out of the blue, and was the last time I ever heard from him directly. At first I was just plain confused - I just had no inkling that this was on the cards. Sure, I hadn't really had a good chat with Justin for a while, but that in itself isn't all that unusual (I have several friends I hardly see, but we just seem to be able to pick up where we left off...) I had left him a message on his answering machine, had sent him a long chatty email a couple of weeks before, and when he hadn't responded to that, had wondered what was up and emailed his girlfriend through her website - it was the day after that I got this. I checked up with a mutual friend in London to make sure he was okay and hadn't gone mental or anything, and was told that he was fine and seemed really happy. I still don't know what brought this on.

I still see a lot of some of the friends we had in common from school - people who are in theory still his friends, but because they are also my friends and John's friends, in practical terms they haven't seen him either. Mik is getting married in a couple of weeks, and Justin won't be there. Des is getting married in January, and I don't know if Justin will be there either....

I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now. It is a bit like being dumped, I think - he's made up his mind and I have no say in the decision. Surely friends just drift apart and eventually lose touch? Why do they need to be dropped? Why do you need this closure?

I'm not 100% sure why I'm posting this up here... it still hurts to read that, and because we have so much history together, I always find myself thinking about him and the things we used to get up to. Stupid things remind me of him, like when Spider-Man came out (Justin is a huge fan), whenever I hear Belle & Sebastian (I used to take the piss out of him for liking them, now I love them), the fact that I live in Nottingham and he is (or at least was) a huge Nottingham Forest fan....

I'm not saying I want him back as a friend (that would be weird - I saw him at Glastonbury in 2003 and he blanked me completely), but I still feel, I don't know, bereaved of our friendship.

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