On deleting a former friend

I know you get about 1,000 questions per week, so I thought I’d try this again.

Last October I confronted my oldest friend (of 26 years) on a pattern of dick-ish behavior. He replied that it was all in my head, and that I was jealous of him because my life hadn’t worked out. Honestly, if we were making a material measurement, which I believe he was, I’d be generous to say we’re even, but that’s not how I ever thought of us.

To say the least, I was surprised by his very long reply, and then more so by his complete silence.

What’s eating me up is that I’m holding on to it – it’s still on my mind just about every day – and as a means of dealing with this I’ve kept an email in draft that I’ve read and revised as time has gone on. It was very extensive to start, calling him out on a long line of his bullshit, and has since been reduced to a sentence or two; a simple reply to when (not if) he comes around – he’s gone ghost on me twice before, and then comes back with a long story about what he was going through.

My 2 questions: 1) Fuck him, right?, and 2) Why am I holding onto this for so long?

Thanks for your site. I’ve gotten some huge laughs and have forwarded so many of your answers to friends.


1. Sure, fuck him.

2. I don’t have the slightest clue why you’ve been holding on to this for so long. The only thing I know for sure is that you’d be a lot happier if you weren’t.

So, you tell me. What are you getting out of it? What purpose does it serve for you to keep him under your skin?

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s somehow a product of your own self-loathing. (These things usually are.) If you had more self-respect and/or self-worth, you’d have dropped this asshole decades ago and never given him another thought.

If you want to borrow some of my self-respect, go right ahead. As soon as you’re done reading this, immediately trash that email. While you’re at it, unfriend him across all social media. Gather up any mementos or reminders of him that you keep around and either throw them away or stick them in a box.

Fucking delete him already. Let him go. Move the fuck on.

That’s an order.


6 thoughts on “On deleting a former friend

  1. ABAB says:

    I asked a similar question a few months ago. I say cut him out, too. If you’ve noticed this pattern (and it sounds like you’ve had plenty of time to observe it) then remove him from your equation.

    I had a shitty friend that I forgave twice for their betrayals/bullshit and after that second time I cut them out of my life–rather abruptly I’ll add, and it got SUPER messy–but it was worth it. There was a lot of shit talking and painting me to be the bad guy but I ignored it because I knew the truth, and I knew my real friends (we have A LOT of mutual friends) wouldn’t be fooled.

    Eventually, the dust settled and I was absolutely floored at how much energy it freed up for me. Mutual friends came out of the woodwork telling me, “I always wondered why you stayed friends with them for so long” etc etc and my quality of life improved significantly.

    When I began dating my now BF (who is established in an field they’re super interested in) they *suddenly* came to their senses and came to me to apologize and try to re-kindle our friendship. I accepted their apology but have kept my distance despite literal bribes to try and rebuild what our friendship once was. It’s not that I’m bitter, it’s that I recognized a pattern over 10+ years and know better than to fall victim to it again, after being betrayed twice.

    I recommend cutting out the dead weight this guy sounds like he is in your world. Sure, sometimes you’ll miss the good times, but I promise you there will be better times ahead. Snip snip!

    • Un-Friend-er says:

      Hey Abab,

      I didn’t notice the pattern until this time around when I was left with nothing but thinking about it. It was so clear to everyone who is close to me, and that was a surprise to me, as well, while also being a testament to my loved ones’ ability to be polite to people they can’t stand.

      When I think of everything I’ve accomplished thus far, and things on the horizon (including my acceptance of how meaningless it all is) it’s foolish to have wallowed like I did.

      The cord is cut. He’s a dot in a distance.

  2. Un-Friend-er says:

    Coke, Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I deleted him off social media some months back and have now deleted the email.

    Honestly, I hadn’t noticed the behavior before the past year when things began really going well for me. That’s when this started – I more than doubled my income, bought a nice house for my kids, and traveled overseas (things he had handed to him because of a fortunate situation of birth).

    After writing you the first time I contacted a friend who knows him longer than he knows me, and the guy said, “Dude, this is a golden opportunity. Take it.” Another friend said, “he doesn’t respect you. Fuck him.”

    I was honestly surprised, but reading people has been a huge weakness of mine through the years.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to reply. Having an uninvolved 3rd party helped. It’s as though it’s all just finally washed away. What had been slowly leaving me is finally gone.

    I guess I just thought, ‘we’re friends. This will pass.’ And now it has.

      • Un-Friend-er says:

        Hi Lily,

        I mean if you were to look at our balance sheets it’s about equal. We both have our own home, our own businesses, etc.

        Non-material things include family and personal achievements (education, awards, athletics), but even those all cost money. They simply aren’t something you’d try to sell.

    • ABAB says:

      It’s always a shame when you find out someone you thought was on your side actually is not. It sounds like you’re doing well now, anyway. Consider it a blessing that he revealed himself while you are in a good place and can afford to lose him, as opposed to finding him out in a time when you need support.

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