Lose A Friend: How do You Know it is Over?

friends team

The embarrassing thing is that I didn’t know our friendship was over. I thought for a long time that my friend was just busy.

I thought that we didn’t get together because we lived almost an hour apart in our new duty station. I thought that the crazy sports schedules of our children put us on different fields talking to different mom friends. I thought that our jobs left very little time to get together.

Then I noticed that she never even had time for coffee. I noticed that I left a lot of messages that were never returned.

One day when I did go to see her, I made some reference to how rarely we saw each other. “Oh, we have time to see the people we want to see,” she said pointedly.


I had been dropped.

After more than a decade of friendship and new houses and seeing each other through deployment, I had been dropped.

We didn’t have a fight. We didn’t have a falling out. She just lost that lovin’ feeling for me and was not going to discuss it. All of the sudden, I was one of those people who had to learn how it felt to lose a friend.

Evelyn, a writer friend, was telling me that she learned to lose a friend. In one year, she lost three old friends. One she lost to death. One joined a sex cult. Another fell away when Evelyn became a lot more successful than she had been. Total friendship blackout.

“You haven’t done anything. They haven’t done anything,” Evelyn puzzled. “You find yourself asking:  how many times am I supposed to call before I give up?”

With my friendship, I did the Christmas card test. I sent my Christmas card like always. Then I told myself to let the friendship be in her hands. If she wanted to call me that year, she would call. If Christmas rolled around again and I hadn’t heard from her in a year, that would tell me everything I needed to know.

That year hurt. It still hurts. Even though Christmas cards rolled in from other old friends, even though I made new friends, even though I had plenty of friends for all the things you need a friend for, I missed that friend.

Some friendships are meant to fade?

Evelyn thinks that this might be just what friendship is like over time. Some relationships are just meant to last for shorter periods. You help each other with a certain time in your life and then that time is over.

“Some relationships just fade because they did their job,” Evelyn told me. “Sometimes you lose a friend.”

I don’t like that. Every time I pass my old friend’s exit, I feel like swerving down there to check and see if she might want to be friends again now. If she turned up on my doorstep, these past three years of silence would be nothing to me.

I hate to lose a friend, but sometimes a friendship just …  goes.

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at JaceyEckhart.net.
  • Sharon Smith

    I needed this article to help me close a door that my ‘friend’ already closed a long time ago. Thank you! ;)

  • Guest

    Some people are only meant to be acquaintances through a storm. I know there are people that feel that there should be a lasting connection because their spouses are in the military. Truth be told some of my life long friends are in no way related to the military, nothing snobbish or anything I just don’t relate to many spouses. More than anything this sounds like you need closure, not for her to be your friend. Life is too short to waste time on people that don’t wont give you a time of day. Not that she’s a bad person some people just drift apart, and you might have to just accept that too. You went in looking for a long term relationship and she just couldn’t see you lasting after her storm.

  • Guest

    I really needed this post. Thank you. I can also add that friendship is a two way street—some people aren’t worth all the trouble!

  • jenschwab

    In any life, but especially in military life, there will always be friendships that come and go, and that’s healthy and normal. We grow, we mature into different paths or different arenas, and friendships grow and change too.

    My best friend from college was my world in college. But now, 10 years later, we’ve moved into new stages of our lives where we each have new focuses. I love her all the same, and would do anything for her, but to expect that we’re going to communicate and invest in each other the same as we did then would be absurd. She is not any less important to me, but I can not be all things to all people. And neither can she. We are human, not superheros.

    We can not freeze time and keep all things the same. There is no room for the new people when we cling in desperation to the old. Enjoy where you are now. Enjoy the people around you now, for who they are to you now and the great times of friendship, now. And love them as they move into new circles of life, and as you do too.

  • If you took all that time to notice that something is wrong,
    then maybe you should start to wonder if it is your fault, for a long time you didn’t ask about your friend and you failed to remember him and suddenly out of the blue after a long time you noticed something is wrong and he’s missing ???
    just laying a thought here, i know because it happened too many time before!