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Not A Word In 13 Years . . . May 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Magick & Mystery, People.

IMGP1221In 2000, “L” and her family of 6 (plus her mother) visited us one week after we moved into a new home on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

I thought we had a fantastic time.

She seemed as friendly when she left as when she arrived.

I never heard from her again.

Not a word in 13 years.

Phone calls, e-mails, letters, holiday missives, and birthday cards all went unanswered.  To this day, I have NO IDEA what happened . . . despite having asked in every way I could think of.

Before we parted ways, L and I had been close friends for 24 years ~ from freshman year in college through moves, marriages, children (hers, not mine), changing philosophies, etc.

She served as a bridesmaid in my wedding.  I sang in her wedding.  She and her husband stayed with us in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Maryland.  We visited her family in Minnesota and at her mother’s house in New Jersey.

We held sleep overs for her kids and attended Batman-themed birthday parties. We visited playgrounds and parks.  We played penny poker.

IMGP1216bAll that stopped in June 2000.

Her four sons, now college-aged and older, friended me on Facebook.

They remember all the good times we had together when they were growing up.

But their mom is still mum.  She hasn’t spoken a word to me in 13 years.

Nada.  Nothing.  Zilch.

And I haven’t a clue as to why she drifted away.
It’s a mystery.

Related post:  Blood On My Tongue (Andra Watkins)

Have you ever had a close friend drift away and disappear “for no reason” you could discern?

Did the two of you ever reunite and re-ignite the friendship?


1. SuziCate - May 30, 2013

That is really strange. I’m sorry this happened to you. It hurts to lose a friend and not know why.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

By the time I realized she really was “gone” (and not just busy with 4 young boys), enough water had passed over the dam that I didn’t feel much of a sting.

But it is still perplexing. Even after 13 years.

2. wisejourney - May 30, 2013

you have asked and now it is within her power to tell if she chooses.
It is of course odd. people move on and I guess sometimes in extreme ways.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

I find it peculiar and perplexing, but not particularly troubling. Now that I’ve managed without her for 13 years, I’m resigned to her absence. But, on occasion, I still wonder why she vanished without a word.

3. aregularcupofjo - May 30, 2013

That is very odd to read about. I have had many friends that I went on family vacations with that never talk to me for no reason. It just stopped out of the blue. It is very odd and I will never understand why. We can’t question ourself and just need to realize the only thing we can do is move on. Thanks for sharing and best of luck with everything 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Thanks. I agree. We can’t dwell on what is outside our control. I did my best to find out why she left. She chose not to share her reasons. But it’s a mystery since it was so “out of character” for her . . . makes me wonder if I ever knew her at all.

aregularcupofjo - May 30, 2013

I agree, it is tough and we may never find out why? If you ever want to read some funny and inspirational stories, you are more than welcome to come by my blog and have a Cup of Joe 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Thanks, Joe! I may take you up on that offer. 😀

4. William D'Andrea - May 30, 2013

If her sons have friended you on facebook, you should ask them why she hasn’t contacted you.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Oh, I would never do that . . . I wouldn’t want to put them in the middle of it. I assume she had her reasons and she has chosen NOT to share them with me. Life goes on.

5. shreejacob - May 30, 2013

I have drifted off…not a word…but that was a very heavy friendship and it *was* draining not only me but I think my friend too. It really is mysterious as to why your friend stopped talking to you though.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Over the years, other friends have drifted away. But it was always a gradual parting of ways . . . this felt more like a door being slammed in my face.

I still wonder if someday she’ll get around to sharing the “why.”

shreejacob - May 30, 2013

I hope she does or you at least find out why, even if it’s not directly from her. Sometimes having closure is important 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

I’m not counting on proffered explanations at this point.

I see closure as an “inside job” . . . like forgiveness. No one can prevent us from claiming the benefits of either.

6. Judson - May 30, 2013

The same sort of thing happened recently with my wife and “M”, her best friend of about 10 years. It is very strange when it happens. We have some theories, but nothing concrete, so we continue to wonder. The last time they were together, the friend was heavily into what appeared to be a growing mid-life crisis where she expressed a desire to buy a convertible, sky-diving, hring a personal trainer, and getting involved with lots of other things that seemed like she was grasping at her youth. I think when my wife showed no particular interest in going that direction, “M” decided to move on.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

That sounds like a good working theory, Judson. You may never know what caused “M” to disappear.

At first, I thought “L” was just busy being a mom. Now that her kids are grown, I’m confident that, for some other reason, she decided to put the brakes on our relationship and bring our friendship to a screeching halt.

Maybe she had a mid-life crisis too? Aging affects us all in different ways, causing some to make decisions that are “out of character” with who we thought them to be.

7. Three Well Beings - May 30, 2013

I went 20 years without speaking to my at the time best friend–we’d been as close as you can be since we were 15. She was in an abusive relationship and after I finally couldn’t take it anymore I told her she needed help…and that was that. She completely disappeared, until I one day 3 1/2 years ago I found her on a social media site! It was so interesting comparing stories. She remembered things very differently than I did. We now live on opposite coasts and I haven’t seen her…not sure I will. A lot happened in both of our lives in 20 years.

I’ve had other friends just “leave” without any explanation, but I’ve sort of determined it to be some kind of a psychological quirk. It bothers me mostly because I do like to understand the “why” behind things. And some people respond so randomly with their emotions, we just don’t get those answers! It’s fascinating to me that your friend’s children keep in touch. I wonder if she secretly reads your blog? That would be interesting.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

It’s interesting to ponder the possibilities, isn’t it? Maybe I wouldn’t even enjoy L’s company if I bumped into her today. I am not who I was when last we spoke.

Her four boys LOVED coming to our house, especially when we lived in NJ. At the end of one visit, they declared, “This place is GREAT. We are NEVER going to leave.” I think it was more the jacuzzi on the deck (kept cool for use as a swimming pool for tiny tots) than our company that caused that degree of allegiance. 😉

Whether or not L and I ever chat again, I’m happy she and I were friends way back when . . . we had the BEST of times, especially in college. Those memories still make me laugh out loud.

8. jannatwrites - May 30, 2013

That is strange, Nancy. Maybe you didn’t use the right fabric softener on your towels? I wonder if jealousy was at the root of it. She has four kids and you and your husband don’t, so you are free to do as you please. Maybe at that time, it was hard for her to watch. I guess you’ll never know for sure unless she decides to talk. It is interesting that her sons friended you on FB, though.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Yes! The wrong fabric softener! That’s it! 😆 Sometimes even a “small thing” can rub people the wrong way.

When I bumped into her sons on FB, it was amazing to see how much they had grown . . . and in what directions. They’d always been “daredevils” but two are snowboard champs with youtube followings. Watching them sailing through the air was eye opening. 😯

9. ericjbaker - May 30, 2013

In my mind. a lot of my friendships faded away due to geography, different lifestyles, loss of common interests, etc, but I wonder if people on the other end view it the same way. I’m pretty good at “switching off” when I move on, so perhaps I’ve inadvertently alienated people in the process. From a psychological standpoint, men’s friendships tend to be more about shared interests than emotional bonding, so we might terminate those associations when tastes or interests drfit apart.

Have you made attempts to contact your friend over the years?

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

We’ve moved around plenty over the years . . . leaving friends behind and making new friends where we landed. But L and I had survived many a move without losing touch.

I have attempted to contact her. Numerous times. Phone calls, e-mails, postcards, letters, holiday missives, and birthday cards all went unanswered. When we moved here 4 years ago, I tried again (because L is the person that first introduced us to Anna Maria Island more than 20 years ago). Still nothing.

As they say, “that’s life.”

ericjbaker - May 30, 2013

I used to be more concerned with how others reacted to me, but I never consciously try to hurt anyone and am certainly too much a grown-up to play games and give silent treatments and so forth. At this point, if someone wants to act that way toward me, that’s their business. Life is too short to care what people think. Either they will forgive me and accept me for my flaws and mistakes, or they won’t. I’m just going to live it out.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Yes! I do my best not to intentionally hurt anyone. And I would never give someone the silent treatment because they somehow, inadvertently, hurt my feelings. And, if someone else (like L) chooses to give me the silent treatment while leaving me in the dark as to the “why,” there’s nothing much to be done except roll with the punches.

You’ve got the the right idea . . . as Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t mind.”

10. sufilight - May 30, 2013

Humans have a way of filtering things through their ego; she may have perceived something incorrectly the last time she stayed with you. I have two friends I have lost touch with as the interest to remain in contact with me is not there in the friend.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

I expect you’re right since I am certain that I did NOT intentionally step on her toes. The Ego is a funny rabbit at times, imagining slights when no slight was intended.

Like you, I’ve lost touch with friends over the years due to “lack of interest” and lack of geographic proximity. We kept in touch for a time, but the connection grew weak.

The same happens in blogging, I’ve noticed. We drift away from some and toward others. Always ebbing and flowing.

11. katecrimmins - May 30, 2013

Yep, same thing happened to me and it’s been 18 years. Not sure why. We were best of friends for years. It wasn’t a gradual growing apart. It was abrupt like something I didn’t know about happened. Now I just don’t care.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Yes! That’s exactly how it feels . . . like something I didn’t know about happened. Maybe I walked in my sleep and said or did something inappropriate?

ACK! Maybe I walked in my sleep, naked! 😯

I don’t care either. At least, not in the sense of feeling hurt, or sad, or frustrated. But I remain curious. If L called tomorrow, I’d definitely pick up the phone to see how she’s been faring.

12. Grannymar - May 30, 2013

I have not drifted off, honest! Life is just a little altered since my last fall, spending time sitting at the laptop is not always comfortable for my back and ribs. I’ll mend and get back to normal. I won’t let it beat me!

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

You need time to heal . . . from your last fall AND from your “facelift.” Switching to WP is a grand move, but it’ll take time to get thinks sorted out. 😀

13. Pocket Perspectives - May 30, 2013

Ohhhh, the comings and goings in our lives… sometimes without enough information to understand what happened. I suppose people have their own filters and perspectives…and sometimes the filters might lead on to some misperceiving…maybe that happened? I’m still trying to learn to NOT keeping trying to be curious about or figure out what may have happened… accepting the “not knowing.” Sounds like you’re further along with that…

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Thanks, Kathy. After 13 years, I’ve grown accustomed to the “not knowing.” But I am still curious about what caused her unanticipated departure. I expect that a cloudy lens may have obscured her perspective and, for whatever reason(s), she’s never chosen to re-evaluate or investigate.

I think it’s “OK” to be a bit curious about what makes people tick and about what ticks them off . . . as long as we aren’t bitter.

14. colonialist - May 30, 2013

Weird. The Mystery of the Mum Mum, indeed! I’ve had a similar experience with a close cousin.
One of the things that could happen is that (a) Someone else has spread lies or distortions; and (b) They believed them.
If that is the case, the (b) part makes them no real loss.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

I agree completely, Col. I’ve done my best to patch fences (even though I have no idea how they got busted in the first place) with no success.

I guess you can lead a horse to patched fences, but you can’t make him converse. 😉

colonialist - May 30, 2013

I’ve just remembered another such incident involving a former close friend. Finally we tracked down that the cold-shouldering was due to having taken amiss a well-meant warning about a business connection the son was getting into . This grudge remained in spite of the fact that the undesirable associate actually took them for a ride, too! That is just stupidity, to resent us having given a warning which proved completely justified.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Oh, something like that happened to me once too, Col.

A clear case of “shooting the messenger” because they didn’t want to hear the message.

15. barb19 - May 30, 2013

That is so sad. Can her boys not shed any light as to why? You just want to know why.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Thanks, Barb. They might be able to shed some light, but I don’t want to put them in a situation where they might feel they are talking about her behind her back.

I’ve asked her several times (in letters, cards, etc.), “would you like to tell me what happened?” I take her silence as a loud and clear, “No, I don’t.” For whatever reason, she’s content to leave me in the dark.

And I’m really OK with that. Judging from the comments, I’m in good company since several others have experienced the same sort of unanticipated behavior from “good friends.”

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

I just checked their birthdays. They ranged in age from 8 to 14 at the time. So there’s a good chance that they have no idea what happened to cause the parting of the ways, unless they’ve asked L in the intervening years.

16. klrs09 - May 30, 2013

My best friend in all the world and I drifted apart about 15 – 16 years ago. At first, I blamed myself, but over time I’ve come to the conclusion that neither of us was to blame. Just like in mad love affairs we simply grew apart. What we shared when we were young and single simply could not fit in with our married, ‘responsible’ lives. Also, I think that we just realized how different we were in our thinking and in how we approached life. I wish we were still friends, but I have no regrets.

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Good attitude, klrs. I’d love to talk to L again, but even if we never speak another word to each other, I have no regrets for all the great times we had together.

And your comment makes me wonder if our differing approaches to life had something to do with it . . . especially since her kids were in or approaching their teens. Maybe she was afraid of what they might hear from me about her “youthful indiscretions.” 😉

17. two engaging goldens - May 30, 2013

A good friend of mine simply went quiet a few years ago, even though we are god mothers to each others’ daughters, and I still keep in touch with my god daughter and send regards to her mum. We are facebook friends too but nothing is ever shared. Our lives are totally opposite in every way and I guess that difference is much more now she has grandchildren, whilst I dont. She is a city consumer and we live in the country, anti consumerism. Life is funny eh? Too short to worry about what we cannot do anything about. Enjoyed reading this post. Joy

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

Thanks, Joy. I’m glad that you’re able to stay in touch with your god daughter.

Sometimes opposites attract. Other times, the differences cause chasms. And, as you say, life is funny . . . and short.

We can’t hang on to everyone and everything or we’ll be too weighted down to grasp opportunity when it comes knocking.

18. aawwa - May 30, 2013

You have raised a good point with this blog. I can think of three cases from my own experience. 1. my friend was gay and I didn’t realise how she felt about me, 2 & 3 It was because of too much or too little fondness for the male partners :-). Sometimes it is best not to know!

nrhatch - May 30, 2013

1. That could be awkward.
2. Yes. Once we have significant others in our lives, it’s not always possible to maintain the same degree of closeness, especially if spouses aren’t “on board.”

With many people, I’m happy to see them drift away, no questions asked. With L, I’d like to know even if I don’t “like” the answer. But it’s out of my hands (unless my guardian angel taps on her shoulder and whispers in her ear). 😉

19. diannegray - May 30, 2013

This hasn’t happened to me Nancy, and I find it really odd. Unfortunately your friend must have misunderstood something you said or did. Because people can easily misinterpret things you say or do it can be really difficult to know what caused the rift. It could have been jealousy or a comment you made about one of her children or her mother or the colour of her car or the weather – the possibilities are endless! 😯

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

They are endless, but we had history and a solid foundation. An isolated comment, standing alone, would never have caused “the old L” to run away without saying a word ~ instead she would have “debated” the point of dissension with me. And she seemed just fine when they pulled out of the driveway.

I’ve got it! Her husband told her a tall tale (after they left, so I would not be around to refute the fabricated facts), intending to cause the rift between us because . . . I beat him at Monopoly! :mrgreen:

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

Oh . . . and every time L mentions that she’s going to call or write to sort things out with me, he embellishes the tale still further, fanning the flames, so he doesn’t get found out . . .

There! 😛

diannegray - May 31, 2013

I think that’s it! Did you see the ‘real rules’ of Monopoly have been posted on a blog somewhere? (and it seems no one has ever bothered to read the ‘real rules’ before so it’s causing a bit of a sensation). I’ll see if I can find the link for you. Maybe that was him! 😀

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

The “real rules” are never as much fun as the rules we made up as kids . . . including the pot of gold in the middle!

20. Pix Under the Oaks - May 31, 2013

I swear Nancy since Memorial Day CH and I have been talking about a couple from our St. Louis days that we met in the early 80’s. Facebook has made me want to connect to the wife who was a dear friend. I should have never opened that Facebook account.. 😀 But we were the ones that did the leaving although they weren’t totally clueless to the why. But one day both CH and I were just done with the friendship. Talking anymore seemed pointless and exhausting.

Very interesting blog post Nancy. I guess our situation now that I read your post again and comments was not quite the same. We didn’t just shut the door. The boat had been rocky for a bit. But I think she thinks we just slammed the door. I don’t think I will be pushing the friend request button.

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

Friendships can be draining if we try to maintain the status quo when our hearts say, “no more.”

When I joined FB, and re-connected with friends from HS, College, etc., I realized with a few of them that there was no longer a connection. I pressed the “unfriend” button and quietly closed the door. 😉

21. yogaleigh - May 31, 2013

I’ve had it happen a few times. It usually feels like we’ve moved to different spaces. I’m never sure why they choose to walk off without a word and I know it doesn’t feel good. Sorry it happened to you.

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

Thanks, Leigh. I’ve walked off without a word (when I suspected I wouldn’t be missed), but I don’t think I’ve ever ignored someone who wrote or called to re-connect.

The funny thing is that L lives in Montana and we live on the East Coast. She could have sent the occasional card without fear that I would invite her over for tea. 😉

22. EllaDee - May 31, 2013

M. Scott Peck wrote “Life is difficult” is one a great truth. He could also have included “People are funny.”
I had a then favourite aunt not speak to me for 10+ years and her husband (Dad’s brother) and her 2 daughers were not allowed contact either. There was much speculation in the familiy as to why but the reason has never been disclosed. I instigated a reconciliation on behalf of another aunt, who wanted us all at a family gathering. It still gives me a bad feeling.
On the other hand I was dropped by a schoolfriend after she chastised me on FB for not letting her know on one occasion that I was in her city… at one time she lived in mine and never invited me over, also visited my city without contact, and knew of my previous visits to hers without comment or invitation… no angst for me about letting that one go.
Similar to your scenario, I built a new house and had both friends and family make a single curious visit, followed by varying degrees of… nothing.
Stick with your old friend’s kids… they’ve made the effort. For some reason, I feel the answer may be linked a lack of perspective about your popularity with them.

nrhatch - May 31, 2013

People are funny! You’ve met your share of silly rabbits, it seems. In many cases, it’s the Ego’s need for constant stroking at the root of these relationship issues.

The Ego feels slighted by something, anything, or nothing . . . and off it goes, telling us all the reasons why we should “excise someone from our life because they never really appreciated us anyway.” It’s not Ego’s fault . . . that’s its job.

If we want to be happy, we need to learn to tune Ego out when it gets all hot and bothered under the collar. :mrgreen:

23. Sandra Bell Kirchman - June 1, 2013

It’s really discombobulating when something like that happens. I have had it happen a couple of times. At first, I thought everything was okay. As the silence persisted I realized something was wrong, but my attempt at finding out what was rebuffed. I suspect that they misinterpreted something I said or did.

This was the case even with my own daughter (but not the same degree of silence of course, and I finally got to the bottom of it). She and my son (both grown-up adults) were visiting hubby and me. We ran out of napkins, so I said jokingly that the men could have the last two napkins, that we women were used to roughing it and could use tissues for napkins.

It seems, unbeknownst to me, that this stirred up a whole bunch of sibling rivalry, as well as women’s issues with my daughter. I truly hadn’t meant anything by it. I could just as easily have said, the kids can have the napkins, or the gals. It was just the first thing that came to me. My daughter calmed down after that, but if I hadn’t persisted in trying to find out, we probably would still have a rift to this day.

nrhatch - June 1, 2013

Oh, my. Imagine something as innocent as napkins causing a significant familial rift. Maybe that’s it . . . maybe I gave L and her family the wrong napkins? :mrgreen:

Glad that you and your daughter sorted things out.

24. Perfecting Motherhood - June 4, 2013

Hmm, weird story but not that uncommon. My first thought was, is she still married or did something happen? Sometimes that changes people and they don’t want to be connected to still married/together people. I definitely wouldn’t take it personally, but I’d stop sending birthday and Xmas cards for sure!

I’ve known my best friend for about 25 years. During some times, we’d email each other every day. Other times, we didn’t email for weeks at a time. But we’ve always been able to reconnect, even though our lives have taken many different paths in that time period. A few times, I thought we drifted so much, we’d lost our connection, but we’ve always reconnected somehow. Unfortunately we live on opposite coasts and I wish we’d live a lot closer to each other. We’d definitely be a lot closer mentally too.

nrhatch - June 4, 2013

She’s still married. I don’t let it bother me ~ her reasons are her own unless she chooses to share them with me. I don’t send cards often, but I pop one in the mail now and again.

Your relationship sounds familiar ~ friends for 24 years, through all manner of twists and turns, always able to re-connect, etc.. I guess that’s why “coming undone” still seems so odd. 😉

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