Sage Advice: Cutting Ties with Old Friends

By Amy Dickinson | November 21st, 2018

One woman is forced to reconnect with old friends discarded long ago


Dear Amy: Over 10 years ago, when I was a young newlywed, I saw a picture of all my close high school friends at a bridal shower for my best friend. I was not invited.

It hurt, and I cut most of these women out of my life because of it. I’m not proud of it. It seemed silly, trivial and embarrassing to ghost them.

I’ve moved several times, and have made wonderful lifelong friends since then.

Now, as a funny twist of fate, I’m back and living in my small hometown.

Running into these old friends has brought up this exclusion and the way I’ve in turn ghosted them.

Honestly, in retrospect, I realize that they were really not true friends. Some of them were outright emotionally abusive. Being excluded from the bridal shower was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. My gut was telling me it was time to be done with them.

After running into some of these women lately, I’ve received messages from them saying that they miss me. They wonder what happened and why I’ve kept my distance. Now I am unsure of how to answer.

I have no desire to be friends with these women again. I have filled my life with good, authentic people now. I don’t want to keep on ignoring them, but I also don’t feel like dredging up the past. How do I respond?

– Not Missing Them

Dear Not Missing: If you are brave enough to simply own your truth, then one statement would probably take care of this: “Honestly, I was hurt years ago when I was excluded and not invited to Tammy’s shower, and as the years have gone by, I’ve pretty much lost interest.”

If you genuinely don’t want to be honest about why you are keeping your distance, then you need only be neighborly and cordial when you see or hear from these people. Cordiality does not imply friendship, nor does it tie you into further contact. If they contact you to say they miss you, you can respond, “Thanks. It’s great to be back home.” If they make a bid for further contact or friendship, you can say, “Thank you, but I don’t think so. I’ve moved on, and it’s all good.”

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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