In the past few months I have had four people ‘drop’ me. As in stop replying to my messages, stop initiating contact with me and even block me out of their life completely. One was my now ex of three years, one was a girl I had feelings for (which were reciprocated), one was a very close friend for about a year and one is someone I consider/ed another very good friend.
Relationships change. They start, they finish, they fade out, they come back, they disappear. I understand that. And often in life when people have huge changes going on like a family crisis or a new job or home, they lose touch with people they once knew. I understand this. I also appreciate and accept that ‘online relationships’ (platonic or not) are prone to not lasting long as it is relatively easy to lose contact with them. But it is also easy to stay in contact with someone. If you want to, you can spend half a minute sending someone a text, you can spend five seconds sending them a snapchat, you can give them a phone call whilst on the train somewhere. Nowadays is it so easy to remain in contact with someone with the most minimal of effort on both parts. I’d just like to emphasise that someone taking a while to reply, or someone not starting a conversation because they have anxiety, or someone being busy is not what I am talking about here. Especially not if they have explained this to the other person (as they should if possible… again, it takes just a minute to drop them a text and explain you’re busy etc.).
However what I do not understand is when people simply drop you. When they see your message but don’t reply, when they know you’re having a rough time, but they don’t speak to you, when you outright tell them that you are upset. People have the right to choose who is and is not in their life, but what the other person deserves is you to explain why you are ignoring them or why you don’t want to have them in your life anymore and vice versa rather than just leaving them hanging, thinking it’s their own fault.
I think sadly this is the part many people struggle with. It is easier, especially on the internet, to just ignore someone – to stop replying or even block them – so you don’t have to deal with feeling guilty or explaining that they are bothering you or you just don’t feel as close to them anymore. It is okay if you just don’t feel as close to them anymore. It is okay to be in a new relationship and have that take up a lot of your time, or feel like you’ve grown up and started a new stage in your life which they just don’t fit in anymore. That is okay. But what is not okay is just cutting them off.
This is of course worse if it’s a relationship or close friendship, but even someone you’ve just known a few weeks, suddenly ignoring you and not explaining why, leaves the person wondering what they did wrong, why they deserved to be treated this way, and leaves them feeling hurt and like they can’t trust other people. It is not fair for your cowardice or your lack of bothering to speak to them, to jeopardise someone’s future relationships. It is selfish.
As I said before, although technology is great as it means you can meet people who live far away or maintain friendships with people who move, it also makes it easier for people to cut others out of their lives. This is not necessarily a comment on technology or its impact, but a comment on people and how their feelings of social responsibility has diminished.
Maybe I am taking all this to heart when I should shrug it off; maybe I’m strange in that I expect a reply within a few days from someone (if they’ve seen my message); maybe I’m over-sensitive about my ‘friend’ not being their when I inform them of a really bad situation I’m in; maybe I am weird because I feel like it is unfair for me to put all the effort into maintaining a relationship. But maybe, actually, the people who have more power in the relationship, the people who know you’ll call them again tomorrow or remind you to text them back… maybe those people are the ones to blame.
Disclaimer: as I said, this post was ‘inspired’ by people who have left my life – therefore, if you are reading it now and know me please do not feel it is about you or worry about it. This is simply a topic I feel strongly about a know affects a lot of people. It is not directly aimed at anyone.