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Former best friend's father passed away

  • 06-11-2020 7:12pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    I was friends with a guy since secondary school up until my late twenties (probably best friends) and then I stopped talking to him until we got back in touch about six years after that. We kept in touch for about five or six more years but then lost contact again. Then he got back in touch via a WhatsApp message seven or eight years later. I had a civil exchange with him on the WhatsApp conversation; he had two tickets for a concert and asked did I want to go. I turned him down but I was very polite and thanked him for the offer saying it was really sound of him (the tickets for the gig in question were sold out in seconds).
    Even though I turned him down I'd say he was maybe thinking that this might be an ice-breaker and that we would resume the friendship. I decided not to because the previous time we lost contact it was because I was always the one messaging him and he never initiated the contact. So I decided to leave it to him to message me to see if he would but he didn't. So days passed and weeks passed and months and eventually years passed and we never spoke. I wasn't too bothered about it, I just assumed he didn't value my friendship so I didn't want to be friends with him. If he was on Facebook I would probably have kept in touch with him a bit more (tagging him on articles etc.) but he isn't on Facebook.
    When he sent me that WhatsApp message I assumed he was stuck for someone to go to the gig with and only asked me because he had nobody else. So that is why I turned him down. I don't think you should bear grudges but you also shouldn't let "friends" take the p*** out of you; you must have self-respect and I thought if I resumed the friendship it would indicate a complete lack of self-respect.
    By a fairly weird coincidence his father passed away yesterday which was exactly four years to the day we had that WhatsApp conversation.
    I'm not annoyed at him, I have no reason to be; I suppose he didn't get in touch with me before the WhatsApp conversation because I wan't interesting enough for him which is fair enough (he's probably right about that).
    He lives far away for me and is married; he grew up about ten miles from me and we went to the same secondary school. In the place where I work at the moment there is a person working there who knows him and asked me about him. I just said "Yeah I know him". I left a condolence message on the RIP death notice of his father and I sent him a WhatsApp message just now.
    I am genuinely sorry for his loss even though his father was an elderly man. I still feel a bit funny about it; I felt I couldn't keep up the friendship on a point of principle. It is kind of weird that his father would die on the exact date of our last conversation.
    It just got me thinking, I'm not superstitious at all though.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Mod Note

    OP, can you clarify what advice you're looking for?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,123 ✭✭✭Ellie2008

    Hi OP, even if you were superstitious I’m really struggling to see what is weird about the date his father died on. At a push the kind of thing they might be weird is if an ex couple randomly bumped into eachother in Paris on the anniversary of their first meeting or break-up but even that’s a push. Your former friend’s father was an old man who died in the day his body gave in, nothing to do with you at all.

    I’d say you’re reaching big time. If you want to get back in touch with the guy do, but be honest with yourself that this is what’s happening rather than feeling compelled to do so because the universe sent you a sign (it didn’t IMO).

    Best of luck & as my mother says you can never have too many friends. He doesn’t have to be your best best friend but you have a shared history, might be nice to go for a pint now & again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,310 ✭✭✭Loveinapril

    Ellie2008 wrote: »

    I’d say you’re reaching big time. If you want to get back in touch with the guy do, but be honest with yourself that this is what’s happening rather than feeling compelled to do so because the universe sent you a sign (it didn’t IMO).


    I agree with this. Loads of dates could have been significant to you both for this to happen; your friend's birthday, your birthday, same day as that concert etc.

    It was good of you to contact your friend to give your condolences but I am sure your friendship, or lack thereof is the last thing on their mind right now. If your relationship has phased out that many times over the years, then maybe he doesn't see it as important as you did.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,007 ✭✭✭Tork

    The date is pure coincidence but what it has done is brought up your doubts about ending the friendship. You have a specific date for that because of that incident. You can read that ticket offer in any way you want but it boils down to him not seeing your friendship in the same way you did. He doesn't dislike you I'm sure but you haven't been important to him for many years now. Even if you had gone to that concert, you would probably have lost touch again by now. You're analysing it to death in your head whereas it probably didn't cost him a second thought once he found someone else to take the ticket. You've done your bit by offering the condolences and it's time to move on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    It’s hard with a job, commute, wife, kids and family life to find time. Sometimes time slips away and them its been so long its hard to reconnect. Old childhood and school friendships have a special nostalgia as they were so integral to everyday
    life and had such a concrete everyday bond. I
    think thats why its so hard when they fade from relevance or the common factors that bound you together are erroded and the basis for the friendship slips away.

    Personally I am a bit supersticious, and think there is a poignancy to the date - and the fact that you remember the last date you spoke. If it were not covid and possible to go to the funeral and show your support I would normally have suggested it. As it is I think a Mass card would be an easy and impartial sign of solidarity and momento of past times and a long childhood or teenage friendship shared together. It will cost a tenner, you only have to sign your name, but I am sure he will appreciate it in these dark days and even of nothing follows from it, it will show him your friendship meant a lot to you and that even though you have moved along in your lives. He and his family was once an important part of your life. I’d send one. His head may be all over the place and he may never get back to
    you, but its time like the death of your father that people really need some support. It mY be just be a name and memories from the past but you can be sure it will mean a lot more to him and he will appreciate it..

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  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Apologies to the mods for not being clear; I suppose I just wanted to know if I handled it properly; I wanted to make sure I sympathised with my former friend but not leave the door open to resuming eh friendship. Not because I have any personal dislike of this person but just for the reasons I outlined (self-respect, point of principle etc.).
    I'd be horrified if I thought he had the impression I didn't feel sorry for him on the loss of his father. I was really worried about that. I left a nice message on for the family but I definitely felt I needed to do it in a person-to-person way also so that is why I sent the WhatsApp message of sympathy to him.
    I was kind of nervous sending it; I re-read it and re-read it and hesitated a good bit before sending it. I was half-thinking he might not reply but he did saying thanks and that he hoped to meet up. I don't really want to so I didn't reply. I will probably send another message at Christmas because that will obviously also be a difficult time for the family.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Aaron_72 wrote: »
    Apologies to the mods for not being clear; I suppose I just wanted to know if I handled it properly.

    No problem at all, it just helps posters to help you if they know what you're looking for. Thank you for clarifying.

    I think you've done exactly what you should. Your friend is grieving and has the death of his dad on his mind. I'd take the suggestion to meet up as kind of a thing that people say. You've done a nice thing by paying your respects and you handled it properly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,812 ✭✭✭Addle

    I think no one will ever regret sympathizing with anyone, but you might regret not doing it.
    You did the right thing OP.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,119 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes

    You did the right thing op.

    I have read both your posts did the right thing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,933 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    He's some bloke who probably considers you a friend and you got all pissy about him offering you a ticket, or what? I haven't heard from some friends in years but if they got in touch I'd still be delighted to hear from them. People have lives.
    You're being a bit precious.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,114 ✭✭✭Idle Passerby

    I think your putting far too much thought into this aquaintenceship. I'm glad you messaged him condolences, of course that was the right thing to do. Him responding let's meet up means nothing, just something to say.

    I say aquaintenceship because that's what it sounds like. Not friends, not former friends. I'd say he'd be very surprised if he knew you were so upset over him not being in touch more regularly. A guy from your past drops a line to say hello and have a quick catch up every few years, what's wrong with that? Yeah he probably had no one else to go to the gig with, it wasn't a gilt edged personal invite but who cares? I doubt he was heartbroken you turned it down either, he only asked on the off chance. Your reading way too much into it all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    I wouldn't be too hard on the person who started this thread. Even if you accept that an old friendship is over, emotions have a funny way of getting to you. They don't always make sense, do they? My best friend of 15 years started behaving like this old friend so I took the hint and stopped initiating contact. I never heard from her again which didn't really surprise me. With hindsight, I see that we didn't have much in common any more and I didn't really like her any more. She would probably say the same thing about me! It still didn't stop me feeling a bit annoyed at her when my mum died a few years ago. Her mother came to the wake and told me that she would be in touch once she came back from being away. I didn't believe one word of that at the time and it didn't surprise me when I heard nothing. It didn't stop me from feeling annoyed about it even though it made no sense. Once time passed I forgot about it again and it hasn't cost me a thought since. That's going to happen here as well once time passes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,119 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes

    People have a LOT of reasons for deciding not to be friends. It doesnt mean the other person wasn't a good person.

    People can be ..well ..just not your kind of people.

    I have let friends go because they were no longer my kind of people. I changed or they did.

    I am sure people did this with me without my knowing.

    But its always nice to be sympathetic.