The sad reality about the loss of old friends 170



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We all know girls in Year 9 change friends at an alarming rate but I did not expect to find myself in a similar position in my 60s.

I have just come to the end of a friendship with someone I have known for nearly 40 years. Perhaps this has been coming to an end for a while and I have been a bit slow to understand.

This has caused me to consider my changing friends over the years. Mostly it seems we have just drifted apart due to changing jobs where we say we will keep in touch but life gets in the way. I drifted away from other friends when I moved to a village outside Sydney and distance and travel times made it harder to support the friendship.

Some people, I realised, were friends when we worked together or worked in the same community group but once this common interest ended so did the contact.

Many people say that becoming single again has meant their married friends no longer invite them to functions. This did not happen to me and I prided myself on having the same group of married friends who went through widowhood, remarriage and divorce with me.

But now one of these friendships has ended. So why do I feel so calm? Perhaps I realised that there was something about our relationship when I was always on edge waiting for the barbed comment or having to request four times not to be sent racist emails.

Joan, in her 60s, has also chosen to have no further contact with a friend of 40 years. Joan had supported this friend through a number of disastrous relationships, providing refuge, respite and care. She went straight to the regional area when her friend’s mother died as she knew V would be on her own. But then when Joan’s mother died followed quickly by her sister-in-law, V seemed to be only interested in her own needs.

So what happens in our 60s? Do we decide we are no longer willing to tolerate unhelpful behaviour such as selfishness or constant barbed remarks?

Have others experienced the end of long friendships? What was it like for you?

Pat Rayner

I am an over 60 who wants to keep up to date with social media and the internet to help brain plasticity and as an insurance if I become less mobile. I am interested in social justice issues.

  1. Without Loyalty unselfisness and sincerity their is no friendship – not worth pursuing. I also learnt that the hard way during 2014.

    8 REPLY
    • Yes, I learnt the hard way too – I was diagnosed w breast cancer n a friend of 20 years plus I ended our friendship, I saw her for what she was

    • I found being diagnosed with cancer showed me who my true friends were. Some were there every step of the way visiting, phoning, bringing meals etc. Others just vanished but they were in the minority

    • I found out who my real friends were after my husband passed away. Single seems to make you different than when you were part of a couple.

    • Oh yes Barbara, can entirely relate. Not only that married male ‘friends’ think your fair game.


  2. I learnt that the hard way with my adult children.

    5 REPLY
    • One of our adult offspring has turned completely when he was told I had heart issues. As a sports professional and a health enthusiast he suddenly believes he knows more than my GP. I guess he has issues but it hurts so much being cut off for simply being human. No call on Christmas Day hurts more than I can say but I suspect he wants to hurt and only validates his form of justifying rationale. But affects the whole family and he obviously can’t see that.

    • I had the same – no call Christmas Day or Mother’s Day. Mine cut me out because of drug issues – theirs or their partners. It hurts when you have given so much to your children over their lifetime. I cannot understand it.

      1 REPLY
      • Friends come into your life, for a reason, a season, or a Lifetime. DRENE

    • Same with me. Our son has divorced himself from us and the family. He caused the rift, but we all get the blame because he is too proud to admit his mistakes. Very, very hurtful. Hope you both have a good 2015. Xx

    • I have decided that I am not going to let this rift destroy my life. I am sad about it, but you cannot force someone to treat you decently, no matter how hard you try. I am now happily married to a lovely guy and will just get on with my life. Happy New Year to all and a great year for 2015.

    • One of my daughters has done the same to me. With the result I now don’t see 3 of my grand children either. I have been very upset but like you have decided that 2015 is going to be my year!

  3. It’s sad, but you do find out who your true friends are eventually. Usually when you yourself are in crisis.

  4. When I began to lose my vision, many of my ‘so called’ friends fell by the way. There seemed to be a disbelief surrounding my vision-impairment and the lack of understanding became my hardest lesson. One long term friend in particular, broke my heart. It was in my own best interest that I terminate the friendship. Many years and a lot of confidence ( on my side) later, I had the opportunity to rebuild the friendship. My friend still doesn’t understand my vision loss, but she is slowly learning the terms and conditions that come with a long term friendship. And the more I challenge her barbed remarks about my vision, the less she is inclined to go down that path, Rebuilding the friendship has taught us both a lot about life and each other and now we do enjoy each others company.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Kate, my mother bacame vision impaired at 38. Over the following years I watched her friends and some relatives question her vision loss…doubting her and even testing her. People don’t understand that a blind” person can have variations of vision loss. This is where the confusion is. My mothers vision loss was central, with some blurring of the peripheral. In the early days I went to the Blind Society for some much needed education to help me understand my mothers vision impairment. What an “eye opener” this course was. It anabled me to not only have insight into the vision impaired persons situation, but I was able then able to explain to others this variation of vision loss and how each person can be affected differently. I was saddened to read your comment, but be reassured there are people in the community who do take the time to understand. I wish you all the best.

  5. Obviously wasn’t a true friend right from the start.I have also found in a crisis people who you thought were true friends just disappear

  6. We have reached the stage where it just isn’t worth propping the emotional takers in our lives – I know I look for positive people now

  7. True friends are like diamonds precious and rare. False friends are like autumn leaves found everywhere…and old saying. I am lucky I have wonderful friends

    2 REPLY
    • Your aunt’s saying rang a bell. I looked for and found!! (2015 must be going to be a good year) my primary school autograph book.
      “True friends are like diamonds; precious and rare.
      False ones are like autumn leaves; found everywhere.”

      Signed by school friend Carol Dixon 29/5/62 C.G.S.S.

  8. If you go through life and in that time you have 5 good friends you have been very fortunate .Sadly as we grow older friends die and leave avoid that is very seldom filled .

    3 REPLY
    • It happened to me.I had 5 wonderful friends,and one by one they died. We never had an argument ,we never criticise each other and we met in the City once a month for lunch and beautiful talk. I miss so much them.

    • our australian grandmother said, you can count your true friends on one hand how true were those words were so many years ago

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