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My ex best friend reached out…

… but only to add me as a Facebook friend. Should I message him? Only if you can handle possibly getting a disappointing response, says our elder. Some people are just weird!

Dear EWC

About a year ago, I had a really big falling out with my best friend of four years. We were pretty much inseparable up until that point, although we had widely dissimilar personalities which caused us to argue and fight a lot. I also felt like we were drifting apart, as he had made some new friends and seemed to be too preoccupied with them to talk to me anymore. During this particularly bad fight, I said and did some things in the heat of the moment that I regret and they cannot be taken back. We haven’t spoken in a year, as one of the last things he told me was that he never wanted to speak to me or hear from me again.

About a week ago, I received a friend request from him on Facebook. I was definitely shocked! I didn’t know whether to accept or not, so I called my sister and asked for her advice. I learnt that he had messaged my sister a few days prior, asking how me and the family were as our hometown had been affected by the bushfires happening in Australia. I thought that was a nice thing to do, so I accepted his friend request, expecting him to message me and try and sort things out… but he never did! Now I’m very confused as to what his motives were when he decided to add me back as a friend. I’m scared to message him first because of the extremely hurtful things he said to me at the end of our friendship. I’m very happy with the way my life is at the moment so I’m scared to let someone back in that has hurt me in the past, although we did make some memories together during our friendship that I’ll always cherish. I don’t know what to do in this situation. Do I send him a message and ask how he is and risk being hurt again? Or do I just leave it and forget about it seeing as he hasn’t bothered to try and talk to me anyway? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Good-Listener replies

You have a very interesting dilemma on your hands. I faced something similar like this a few times in my life. In my case, I didn’t say anything after my friend did some nasty things — I just walked away. However, it’s the same point.

In the first instance, I also got the “reach out”, and didn’t really know how to respond. But I then contacted the guy (there was no social media then — it was done via email) and was disappointed in that, while he was perfectly civil and had reached out, there really was no going back and the friendship (if that’s what you wanted to call it) never recovered. The next time it happened, again, I stepped away — and the person reached out and I accepted… and it was a mistake! My intuition was correct in that this was a bad person and nothing was going to change.

So here’s what I suggest. If you can handle the possibility that your ex-friend will say or do something to disappoint at the least, and behave badly at worst, or ignore you completely… then contact him. If not, then let it go. You said your life is going well and you’ve moved on. You accepted his friend request so he knows you’re amenable to communicating with him — so I’d say to wait a bit longer. It was nice for him to message your sister to see if you guys were OK, but it doesn’t mean he’s changed. I don’t know what his motives were either — or the two people in my life who did a similar thing. Sometimes people are just weird!

Continue on with your life. Don’t count on him being there for you — if you do decide to message him and things go back to the way they were, well — that’s great, although it would take me a long time to trust again. It’s unfortunate when a friendship ends, but sometimes in life things just happen. Take heart — move forward and good luck!

Letter #: 454756
Category: Friendship

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