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Was I right to ghost this old friend? Was his behavior that bad? Should I contact him again... year later?

I had an old friend that I knew since high school (in the 80's). We finally had a falling out while in our 40's, for a variety of reasons. Proper phone etiquette was one of the reasons, a small one, but the one that broke the camel's back.

In college we naturally drifted apart and later lived in different states and during the Facebook explosion of the mid-00's we reconnected. He would call me from time to time and we'd always chat. Like three times a year. There was one in-person visit (his home).

Years later after he got a permanent boyfriend, he seemed to take a weird turn mentally and kept losing jobs and was home all day, so he began calling me more and more until soon it was once a week. I thought it was too much but indulged because he seemed to be going through a rough patch and we still had things to talk about. There was a little weird behavior on his part (I'm hardly perfect either), but also good laughs and shared conversation so it was fine.

If ever I wasn't there he'd leave a message asking him to call him back.

But eventually he got weirder about calling me. Soon, I stopped answering the phone on his weekly call as he talked into the machine, because he'd become a creep to talk to in the first few minutes of the conversation. He began to start every conversation with, "Why didn't you answer? Were you busy or something?" And if I didn't have a solid answer he'd get slightly incredulous. Saying, "If you don't have an excuse for picking up I assume you don't want to talk to me." Huh? Then he'd seem to get it out of his system and cheer up and it was fine. I kept ignoring the red flags.

Then things got worse...

by Anonymousreply 4205/24/2020

...He'd follow up each and every voicemail (I never answered at this point) with an immediate email, AND also a Facebook message, usually saying something like, "Where are you I called but there's no answer?" And also he'd leave a Facebook message. Then an hour later another email and Facebook message saying, "????" It was insane.

Then when I did call him back, he'd start with, "Two voicemails, a Facebook message and an email, boy you're sure hard to get ahold of!" Ugh. What?

I tried to diffuse the weirdness with adult-like reasoning and humor. Mistake!

I'd explained several times that I worked most days (he was perpetually unemployed) and that I couldn't just drop everything and talk to him all the time anytime. If I didn't answer the phone I wasn't around my phone or couldn't talk. He never seemed to really understand this. Over time as I started inevitably ghosting him he got more and more accusatory. He began leaving voicemails saying, "I know you're there why don't you pick up the phone? Whatever… *click*" (and I was!) It was like we were twelve-year-olds....

by Anonymousreply 105/23/2020

...The phone and email was like some sort of domination thing for him and he was turning into Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction.

Soon he'd be like, "Let me get this straight... if I call or email you and you're there and choose not to acknowledge me, you don't think that's rude somehow?" I'd answer, "No."

And then he'd say, "I'm sorry I can't accept that." And I'd say, "Well, I don't know why to say."

And he'd end every discussion with me asking him to please relax and lighten up about the matter with the all-time winner, "It might not be important to you but it's important to ME!"

Yet I'd always call back, like a chump. *cringe* This went on for like two months. Too long! We'd had such a nice past I felt weird about the new weird personality turn on his part.

Our last conversation on the phone was only about this very stupid subject, again, with him accusing me and accusing me of avoiding his calls. It was ridiculous, awful and I felt berated. That day I just snapped and hung up on him, and immediately blocked his phone number and all his social media and email all at once. It felt stupid to have to resort to that and didn't make me feel any better. How lame.

I was surprised when he made no attempt to contact me with a letter or something afterwards, but was relieved. Later I found out two other mutual friends from college had stopped talking to him for similar reasons. So I think he was used to being ghosted.

One mutual friend heard the boyfriend had left him, and that he was still living on unemployment in the same house alone. This was all back in the 00's.

Years later I saw he'd deleted all his social media accounts. I feel bad because we did share so much, way in the past. I've thought to reach out in the recent past but am sure the bad behavior would turn its ugly head again. I'm fairly certain he'd be happy to hear from me again. But the temptation to just drop him a line, like, "Hey, how ya doing?" is sometimes strong.

by Anonymousreply 205/23/2020

is your old friend Todd From Facebook?

by Anonymousreply 305/23/2020

Do you regularly find yourself repeating this catechism?

That didn't happen.

And if it did, it wasn't that bad.

And if it was, that's not a big deal.

And if it is, that's not my fault.

And if it was, I didn't mean it.

And if I did... You deserved it.

by Anonymousreply 405/23/2020

If I were you, I would not be surprised if he does not respond to your rapprochement attempt.

You’re both flakes.

by Anonymousreply 505/23/2020

Did this take a romantic turn in the last 2 months when things got weird. If you were truly done, why would you care or even think about him sending a letter when he was blocked? Maybe now you are lonely and looking for someone to talk to, anyone?

by Anonymousreply 605/23/2020

Do you own a pet rabbit? If you do, if I were you, I'd move its' hutch inside the garage...

by Anonymousreply 705/23/2020

Oh fer crissakes WTF is wrong with YOU, OP? Such a long, petty, annoying story. You must be more insufferable than your crazy friend? At lease he has obvious mental problems. What's your excuse?

by Anonymousreply 805/23/2020

I do agree with other posters OP this goes on and on and there's not much to the story. I was hoping for a boiled rabbit at the end!

by Anonymousreply 905/23/2020

OP, please look up "TL;DR"

Learn from it

by Anonymousreply 1005/23/2020

He ditched you because you spoke like you type - diarrhea of the mouth/keyboard

by Anonymousreply 1105/23/2020

This sounds like a very ordinary story of human interaction, that's why it's dull.

OP, you probably let the behavior go on too long. I've had weird friends do this kind of thing. I've cut people out of my life (and seemingly been cut off). It happens.

If I were you I would resist all temptations to reach out again. Your hunch that the bad behavior will return is a good one. But you never know, life has a weird way of pulling people back together in unexpected ways.

Best of luck!

by Anonymousreply 1205/23/2020

You said there were "other reasons" you had a falling out. What were they? It's hard to judge with just the phone thing.

by Anonymousreply 1305/23/2020

The phone-control fetish thing is petty and weird and probably ties into some abandonment issues, and maybe a phone trauma from his formative years? But that was just the symptom of a bigger problem. You were too nice to someone who was treating you poorly because they were in a bad place. They did it to feel powerful and in control again, however cheaply. He kept disrespecting you like that -- in a bizarre way -- because you wouldn't say anything back. People gravitate to what makes them feel good. But you stood up for yourself, in a sense, at the end. So he stayed away!

by Anonymousreply 1405/23/2020

R13 Don't make him type more!

by Anonymousreply 1505/23/2020

Here's how you handle someone like that:

Whenever they call pick up the phone and say, "Hi! It's great to hear from you! How are you? Uh-huh. Tell me about it."

Once they get talking set the phone down and walk away from it. Don't return until you're sure they've hung up. If they hang up and call again let it go to voicemail again and again.

When they confront you about it, angrily accuse them, "Why did you set the phone down and walk away while I was talking!?!? What kind of person does that! You miserable cunt!" And hang up or walk away in a huff. Reverse every accusation and become the victim.

If they call again do the same thing.

by Anonymousreply 1605/23/2020

R16 LOL!

by Anonymousreply 1705/23/2020

I feel like there was probably a way to resolve this issue without cutting him off completely. Did you TALK to him about it? Whatever maybe it's for the best, you both sound like freaks.

by Anonymousreply 1805/23/2020

He only phoned you once a week and you had a problem with that?! I had a close friend who phoned me a number of times every day until it got so bad and was driving me so crazy that I had to terminate the relationship. Once a week I could gladly handle!

by Anonymousreply 1905/23/2020

You can't be friends with a person who expects to be obeyed, or who thinks he gets to set the rules for the relationship. You just can't.

If you are even fool enough to resume contact with this jerk, you will have to call him on this shit early and often, and repeat "You do NOT tell me what to do" over and over until you end up ghosting him again. But why would you be fool enough to resume contact again, when his favorite topic of conversation seems to be "Why aren't you doing what I told you to do?".

by Anonymousreply 2005/23/2020

Unless you get a letter of apology from him acknowledging his past behavior, I'd assume he has not changed. So, no. Don't contact him.

by Anonymousreply 2105/23/2020

I don't think you need to be Freud or Jung to figure out he had some form of depression OP and quite possibly some sort of personality disorder.

That said, you should have told him point blank that the behavior had to stop, that it was annoying and creepy and made you not want to talk to him anymore.

It's unlikely he would have changed because mental illness, but at least you would have gone from being the doormat to talking control of the situation and you would not have had to spend years feeling guilty for ghosting him.

by Anonymousreply 2205/23/2020

At best he sounds super clingy and needy OP, at worst he has some kind of MI and gets paranoid. You did the right thing by blocking him, don't feel bad.

by Anonymousreply 2305/23/2020

You should've killed him.

by Anonymousreply 2405/23/2020

I’m with R22. Sometimes it really is for the best for a friendship to end, but ghosting someone with whom you were previously quite close does not make either person feel good. Even though in the short term just cutting it off seems practical and easy, in the long term you will feel better if you end relationships in a responsible way. Clearly he had issues, maybe you could not continue to be friends. It happens. But if you had explained your decision in a compassionate way to your friend, it would have hurt you both less in the long run.

by Anonymousreply 2505/23/2020

Don't beat yourself up too much OP. The ends of long friendships are usually messy. There are better ways and worse ways to handle problems, but no perfect ways. You got out when you had no choice, and did what you could to protect yourself. We're all human!

by Anonymousreply 2605/23/2020

Ghosting is a divisive topic on DL.

I'm straightforward and do tell people (calmly) if they're doing something that really bothers me. If they keep on doing the same thing, then I stop returning texts, etc. I don't feel the need to explain, one more time.

by Anonymousreply 2705/23/2020

"Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill; it is a bottomless pit!" - William S. Burroughs

by Anonymousreply 2805/23/2020

Don't do it, OP. You're just stirring up that same old can of worms, so unless you can confront it directly with him (and if you do, I'm sure he'll take it badly and it will still be a mess), don't be tempted. Just because you have time for him now doesn't mean you will the next time he goes through such a phase (or maybe he's still in it). He wasn't treating you like a friend. He sounds like he was getting nasty. Now do you really want to go through that again?

by Anonymousreply 2905/23/2020

I read this post aloud to me sister who I'm quarantining with. She has issues with taking on the phone after being harassed via phone calls for years + our mother being weird about phone usage when we were growing up. Even she thinks that this guy is being weird.

by Anonymousreply 3005/23/2020

You’re trying to see if people can die of boredom, aren’t you, OP?

by Anonymousreply 3105/23/2020

Agree with R28. Why re-introduce mental illness back into your life, OP? If you're that bored, learn to play the guitar.

by Anonymousreply 3205/23/2020

I don't think the guy is depressed, I think he has an anxiety disorder and/or is a control freak.

I say "and/or" because those are issues that frequently go together, as at least 99% of people with anxiety issues make the same mistake - trying to get everyone around them to stop doing things that might cause anxiety. It can go from "Please don't make loud noises indoors, it makes me anxious" to "Please return all phone calls instantly or I'll freak out" to "HOW DARE YOU DO ANYTHING I'M AFRAID TO DO, IT GIVES ME PANIC ATTACKS", etc. They all think they can control the anxiety by controlling other people, instead of trying to control the anxiety response itself.

by Anonymousreply 3305/23/2020

So true. I had a similar experience but it's been TWO years since we last communicated. Don't do it OP. Even if you guys had a great history , I'd advise you to let sleeping dogs lie.

by Anonymousreply 3405/23/2020

[quote] I read this post aloud to me sister who I'm quarantining with.

OP took 3 posts to make his / her point. Very long-winded. Your sister must be very patient.

by Anonymousreply 3505/23/2020

TL;DR, dear. Your tediously lengthy novella was tiring.

by Anonymousreply 3605/23/2020

We've all had to figure out how to handle people like this. You were right to ghost him and I wouldn't get in touch again.

by Anonymousreply 3705/23/2020

What a loon! Stay away.

ps. Why do I get the impression you're both from the southern U.S. Am I right?

by Anonymousreply 3805/24/2020

Usually I wouldn't mind ghosting someone with this type of behavior. Op is over 40 and this was a child friend, so I can understand his willing to reconnect. The older we get the more we want to reconnect with the past. I'd do it with caution and empathy. If he's suffering with mental illness and/or anxiety you can talk about it openly. There's nothing wrong with asking him directly why he needs to talk to you so desperately all the time. Ask him. He'd answer you. Sometimes he doesn't even realize the reason, and asking him will help him put things in perspective.

by Anonymousreply 3905/24/2020

*childhood friend.

by Anonymousreply 4005/24/2020

One or both of you is deranged.

by Anonymousreply 4105/24/2020

Is your old friend cut or uncut?

Such a detail would lend interest to your story.

by Anonymousreply 4205/24/2020
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