Long-time friend not speaking to me anymore

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 8 months, 1 week ago.

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    My mentor from college used to email with me five times a day sometimes when I was in school and we had a close professional relationship. When I left for graduate school in another state we maintained contact, although it was much less frequent, but we would meet for coffee once every year or two and chat about school and work and where I was headed next.

    I had to quit that graduate program for health reasons and finished one in a different field, but he still kept contact.

    I got a job when I moved back and we were still communicating on occasion. Then I asked if he wanted to meet for coffee and he emailed back saying he was busy. After a couple months I emailed if he had time to meet and he never responded.


    After that he stopped sharing things with me on Facebook. Five years passed without contact at all.

    Recently another former student posted something on his Facebook wall and I liked it a few days after it was posted, and he deactivated his account right after that. We didn’t ever communicate on Facebook, so I didn’t think too much of it.


    A few weeks later I emailed him something I thought was funny and he responded two weeks later asking how I was doing, so I sent a short response and said I was grateful for his help.


    He never responded after that and it makes me sad to think that I’m losing this important influence in my life. I won’t contact him again unless he responds, but I don’t see that happening.


    How do you cope when you lose an important relationship but you don’t know what happened? Was it that I graduated in the wrong discipline? Did he just feel like his job was done when I found work? Why wouldn’t he just tell me that instead of ignoring me?

    I’m sad and confused about suddenly being written off.




    Dear Jo:

    I enjoyed reading your previous posts from March 2014 (you lived in a college town then) and the gratitude post from September 2015 (after you moved to the West Coast).

    In March 2014, you wrote the following: “I’ve realized that most of the people I encounter.. seem to be carried away by their own insecurities. How silly it was to assume it was only my problem, it’s everyone’s problem!”

    Your college mentor, a man, “Long-time friend” stopped responding to you, a woman, about 3o when he stopped communicating with you. Why?

    Maybe he has relationship trouble, accused by his partner of cheating, maybe she checks his Facebook. So he stays away. Maybe he had a bad experience with another student that he mentored, and that discouraged him from keeping in touch with  another person he mentored, you that is.

    Maybe he is so depressed that he feels he has nothing positive to offer you anymore and that if you see him, you will be disappointed.

    Whatever his reason or reasons, most likely, his withdrawal from you is not about who you are but about his changed circumstances and what he now attends to vs before.

    In early March 2014 you wrote: “I had a HUGE realization. It seems that.. self compassion and self acceptance give you roots, a foundation that grounds you”-

    – as you experience what appears to be rejections, perceived only or real, ground yourself with that self acceptance and compassion that you need, that everyone needs.


    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  anita.


    Hi Jo,

    Mentors get in trouble when they say, “Email me anytime! Keep in touch! Friend me on social media!”

    Then, to their surprise and chagrin, students do.

    If my mentors heard from me once every ten years THEY’D be lucky. You see, they are no longer my mentors. They were beloved professors I’ll always remember fondly, who I would perhaps see at homecoming (again, once every ten years).

    What I think happened is this guy can’t keep up with his old mentees. There are too many of you now. Or, one of his mentees became a stalker, tried to cast him into the role of Father, or became a lover entangled in his life. Then you come around (again) and his alarm bells are going off. Now, you didn’t set off the original fire. But he does smell smoke, even though it’s as benign as the grill outside.

    Think of it this way: You outgrew your mentor. Repeat that every time you think of him.

    Next time let him hear OF you, not FROM you. (You could have a friend make that happen for you, say, five years later. “Hey, wasn’t this an old student of yours? Congratulations! Here’s an article about her…”)



    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Inky.


    Wow, Inky, thanks! This is exactly what I needed to hear. I love your idea that he should hear about me, not from me. That helped a lot.


    I guess it’s just hard to let go of a relationship that was a safety net for 10 years, but you’re right, I don’t need him to be my mentor anymore and it’s time to move on.


    I’ve outgrown him.





    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for weighing in. It could have nothing to do with me and you listed some good examples of what else might be going on, thanks for that. It’s easy to get caught in my own stories and assumptions, and, admittedly, that’s what I’ve been doing, but in the end, it’s impossible to know exactly what happened on his end. Uncertainty is the worst.

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I like the quotes you threw in, too. Sometimes I forget my item good advice. :)</p>



    Dear Jo:

    You are welcome. “Uncertainty is the worst”- it occurred to me just now that this is the reason why some people hire private investigators, paying for that certainty that we need. Outside such measures that may border the unethical and illegal, if we do have a way to gather relevant and reliable information in an ethical way so to figure out what we want to figure out, that is probably a good idea.


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