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It’s a perplexing thing, to be sure.  Maybe one of you can help me figure it out.  So please, good readers, let me know after you read on…

I have had many friend over the course of my life.  Like most of you.  Also like most of you, those friends come in all grades, from mild acquaintances to steadfast lifers.

Up until recently, I thought I could tell the difference.

My confusion has grown in the time I have been “early retired”.  Prior to that, I had been steadily working for over 25 years.  During that paycheck-earning period, I met and befriended hundreds of individuals.  Dozens of those became friends.  Several of those became close friends.  I’m certain of it.  I’m just no longer certain they agree.

There’s no question that working within the “social sphere” of others creates a closeness that may only be real within those same spheres.  Usually, though, when you extend that friendship beyond, into personal life, there is a more lasting and meaningful relationship.

Since I’ve been gone from my last company, I have made several attempts to get together with some of the most special people to me during that time.  People with whom I shared close personal stories; real human joy and shared pain.

At first, there was little change in the non-work activities and conversations.  Over time, though, the distances between contacts grew longer and the actual time together even rarer.

Recently, repeated attempts (though never more than once a month, I abhor being a pest) to a couple of key people have gone unanswered.  Not rebuffed or postponed, but totally silent.

I’m not to proud to say I was hurt by the apparent rejection (or if not rejection, lack of acknowledgement).  Regardless of the circumstances, I would have thought our long-standing friendship would have warranted at least a response, phone or otherwise (even if the response was “I don’t want to see you anymore”).

I find it incredible that a romantic relationship, with all the depth and emotional investment that carries, can be clearly ended (though not always amicably) but these friends (yes, I still think of us that way) cannot find a moment for a brief word, positive or negative.  Forget closure, I’d settle for communication!

I am grateful for the good friends I do have and the occasional new ones I encounter.  I am not greedy.  I truly appreciate how special it is to have so many people in my life.  Yet I find the hole created by these other close friends to be confounding.  I can’t explain or understand the lack of contact.

I have heard it said that some people don’t call someone back after an unsuccesful date and believe that the other person will “get the hint” that there is no further interest.  I suppose on a blind date that could be considered “gentle” (though it still seems a bit cold and perhaps a wee bit cowardly).  I don’t see how that would apply to friends.

Perhaps I’m simply not as perceptive as I imagine myself.  Perhaps I care more deeply than my counterpart.  Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive due to the closeness and special nature of the friends in question.  Whatever the reason, it frustrates and confuses me about the lack of contact.

I don’t have an answer and without any contact I don’t seem likely to get one.  If any of you have experienced this and resolved it, please let me know!

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