When to stop reaching out

Question: At what point in a fading relationship do you stop reaching out? At what point do you, metaphorically, call it quits and stop calling/emailing/texting? At what point do you admit that that person, whomever they may be, doesn’t mean the same thing to you anymore?

My title makes it seem like I have an answer to my question, but I don’t. It’s something I’m working through right now.

I have (had?) a best friend, Liz (who I first talked about here). To recap, Liz was my best friend all through school. We were inseparable until our life paths diverged. I moved away while she stayed put. I got married while she doesn’t date. I am trying to have a child and Liz has always been fairly certain she doesn’t want children (I’ll be your children’s Aunt Liz she always told me). Since I wrote that original post, we’ve exchanged one round of catch-up emails and one round of happy-birthday texts.

I found out today, via Facebook, that she’s approaching a major milestone in her life. She’s graduating from Grad school this spring (I knew that much), and then she’s moving away from our hometown because she received a full-time job offer. It’s something that’s in her field of expertise, and one of her dream jobs actually – if not quite her dream location (she’s still going to be in West Texas and I know she’d love to move some place like Colorado or New Mexico if she could). A huge moment for her. And I found out through Facebook.

To be fair, in this day and age a lot of information gets disseminated through Facebook, even if it’s something important. Almost especially if it’s something important (let’s face it, it’s fun to see those Likes add up!). But it did make me question – is it too late for our friendship? And will I kick myself later on in life if I’ve let our relationship fall by the wayside?

Lately, our emails have become shorter and shorter. Quick updates about ourselves and our families. We don’t text. I tried to get her to Gchat with me, but that didn’t go over. We’ve been looking for ways to make our communication easier and faster (like I said in my first post, laziness probably kept us friends for far longer than it should have), but nothing’s worked out so far. Plus, over electronic communication, the spark and pop that made our friendship shine isn’t there. Or has it faded with time? We haven’t talked to each other on the phone in so long that I have no idea if it’s still there.

And while it would be far easier to stop emailing or calling and demote the woman who once was my BFF to Facebook friend, will I be ok with that decision? In ten years, will I look back and truly miss her and regret that I didn’t keep making the effort? Right now it feels like I’m the only one in the relationship making any effort (I’m always the one who initiates our communication), but perhaps once she’s settled into a job – will she have more time to chat? Or maybe if she eventually gets married – will we find common ground again? Or maybe once I have children – will she make the effort to be involved in their lives like she once promised me she would?

I feel like I’m on a precipice right now. I can either keep up the friendship, even though it’s already feeling one-sided. Or I can sit back and let it fade. We all know that friendships – relationships – take work. They don’t just happen, so I won’t kid myself that our friendship would magically continue if we were to both stop trying. Part of me is interested to see if I would ever hear from her again, but the other half of me doesn’t want to test that. And, let’s be honest, I’m sure there are thousands upon thousands of “childhood friends” that didn’t make it into “adulthood friends.”


But, there’s so much history between me and Liz. We spent so much time together when we were young. We laughed so hard and knew just how to make each other smile. I’m not ready to give up on that yet. I’m not ready to let her fade away.

So I’m not sure when I’ll stop putting in the effort to reach out to her, to say hello and ask her how her life is going, but it won’t be today. Today I’ll email her, ask her about her new job and wish her the very best.