I value the friendship more

I value the friendship more.

Dear Positive Way, I have a friend almost 20 years older than me – we met through business. I’ve known her for 2 years and though we get along very well, I am never sure where exactly I stand. The problem is that she happily refers to ourselves as “friends” but she doesn’t always act the part. Though she remembers birthdays and Christmas wishes and spoils me with the occasional gift, the general lack of communication upsets me. It feels like our relationship is rather one-sided: unless I phone, e-mail, text or go to visit, I almost never hear from her. What’s worse is that she rarely replies when I do try to stay in touch. It looks like keeping in touch is simply too much effort for her. I have discussed this with her, but we both got worked up and she said that she is just so busy and that I am over-sensitive. I have stepped back to assess the situation and observed that I haven’t seen her for 8 weeks since my last visit to her, nor spoken to her for 4 weeks since I last phoned her. It really! seems like she doesn’t value our friendship at all. Perhaps I am wrong? Or perhaps this is the impossible friendship, with her being so much older. I am thinking of just giving up and letting go by leaving it to fade with time. But on the other hand I feel cheated for I have invested so much in our friendship, we have so much fun together and I feel comfortable around her and trust her. We’ve shared so much that letting go would seem unjust. What should I do?? signed, elledw, age 27

Dear elledw, You sound like a wonderful and giving person that many people would be lucky to have as a friend.  You seem to understand the definition of friendship and you deserve that kind of friendship in return.  Here are a couple of things I would like for you to consider:

1.  Friendships will come and go over time.  Some friendships will last a few weeks, some a few months, and others a few years. Each friendship has something to offer and some lessons to be learned.  Once the lessons are learned the friendship dwindles away and then new ones are formed.  Since this person is 20 years older than you she may feel her lessons have been learned and now she wants to move on.  At her age she will be experiencing many changes (like menopause) and that will make her want to seek out more friends her age that can relate to her present circumstances and you should want that for yourself also.

2. I suggest you let the friendship go for now but leave the door open if she chooses to contact you and want to meet or chat like old times.  One sided friendships don’t last long at all and you are seeing signs that this is more one-sided than not.  Ask yourself “What have I learned from this person?”  Cherish those life lessons and then look for new friendships.  People closer to your age range will be more long term friendships because you will have more in common and be at the same stages in life and that allows for more bonding and closeness.  We like to be with people that can truly relate to us and us to them. 

3.  Write this person a letter of gratitude.  Thank her for her friendship and praise her with sincere compliments.  Tell her that you would love to hear from her again when she is willing and ready and that she will always have an open invitation to reenter you life at any time.  Mail the letter and then move forward to the new friendships that are waiting for you and the life lessons that you bring to the table.  Don’t try to shame or guilt this person into contacting you.  Just praise and acknowledge her by thanking her and then wishing her well.

Take what you have learned from this woman and share it with someone else.  Pass on your gift of friendship.  Anyone would be lucky to have it no matter how long it last.

Please understand you have free will.  This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling.  We wish you well.