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When Friends Go Incognito

When it comes to lifelong friends, I’m pretty lucky. Mine are drama-free and extremely supportive of everything I do. But nobody’s perfect and no matter how much I love my best friends it would be silly to pretend they never do anything that annoys or—let’s put it more subtly—baffles me. Like when they drop off the face of the Earth for weeks at a time and don’t respond to any of my messages. (Like some of them are doing right now!)

Now, I’m not naming names, but a couple of my best friends are famous for pulling vanishing acts. We’ll go through a period where I call them repeatedly and still they never pick up or I send them a million random sms’, tweets, whatsapp messages and e-mails and still don’t hear back for weeks.

I learned long ago to accept this behavioral pattern, for two specific reasons.

a) I know it’s not personal,

b) They eventually re-appear when it counts.

I myself have been the disappearing friend on occasions and most often it’s been because I am completely swamped with work, travel or other things that my life revolves around. I don’t consciously decide to disappear but it just happens from time to time for a multitude of reasons.  So today, I put myself in their shoes and question, what makes me disappear sometimes?

Well, I’m not totally sure. People call, send me facebook messages, email, sms and I honestly do mean to respond to them— but I tell myself, “I’ll do it when I get home.” When I get home, I say, “I’ll do it after I take a walk.” After I walk, I say, “I’ll do it after dinner.” After dinner, I say, “I’ll do it after I spend some time watching TV.” And then, I go to bed. And the cycle continues. You see, it’s not that my friends aren’t important. It’s just that I can be a tired, procrastinating jerk sometimes. And for people like us, there’s always a next time…that we never seem to find.

In spite of this, I guess good friends understand and make allowances for these changes as their friendships grow and evolve. All said and done, the right to disappear for a bit is a privilege earned by friends who’ve proven themselves over time. And there’s something so poetic about those relationships that really do pick up where they left off, no matter how much time has gone by. Being an adult is so overrated and brings with it so many complications that affect the fabric of our friendships. But the one’s that last in spite of it all, are the only ones really worth having anyway, aren’t they?

I’ve been vanished upon AND been the vanisher too, and both experiences are puzzling. I can’t quite get to the root of WHY I sometimes feel the temporary need to disappear and fade into silence, especially because I would never want my dearest friends to feel unvalued or unimportant. It’s a very weird (but real) impulse when life reaches a stressful frenzy. As for when others vanish on me, I don’t get upset about it as long as they care enough to say, “I’m not intentionally ignoring you; I’m just swamped!” then I trust that things will eventually get back on track. And you know what? …They always do.


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