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I feel I have lost my best friend. Is there anything I can do to change it? watch

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    I've known this guy since the start of Middle School when we were both in Year 5. We were both in the same tutor room and both seated on the same desk at the front of the room. We talked and became great friends, before long best friends. We always hung out and played together a lot throughout our four years at the school. We both loved Doctor Who and this would be a regular subject for conversation and games in the playground. He would also regularly come round to mine, and me to his, for sleepovers and so forth.

    In Year 9, we both went to the same Upper School as well and we used to hang out in much the same way, though to a much more mature extent, for instance chatting with our friendship group or sometimes going to the library together by ourselves and doing stuff on the computers.

    Unfortunately, he left school after Year 11 to pursue his own ambitions, whilst I stayed at the school into sixth form for the following two years. Throughout sixth form, we would still message each other and meet up, occasionally having a sleepover or campout at his which were always fun. We always talked about the things we used to do, even though we didn't hang out quite as much, due to practicalities, but this was understandable.

    Over the last few years though, things have changed hugely. When I started university, he was working in a pub near his house, and although we never messaged quite as much at this point, I was having a conversation with him and he mentioned how he was thinking of going travelling and listing some of the places he was thinking of going.

    The last time I saw him before he left was at a friend's party. Unfortunately I couldn't quite have any meaningful interaction with him that night because he got very drunk throughout the party that by the end he was like a mindless zombie and I couldn't really talk to him at all.

    Shortly after this party, he decided he would go to Australia (we live in the UK) and flew out there by himself, where he would end up staying for just over a year. He started to drift away from me at this point. He befriended a group of local hippies whilst he was there and hung out with them all the time, and overtime, the longer he was there, the more he was changing.

    His attitude to things and his lifestyle changed, and his home communication just collapsed, not just for me, but even his friends and family. He lived travelling around the Oceanic continent with his hippie friends and he was turning into a hippie himself.

    He posted pictures of his adventures on Facebook from time to time but that was it. Whenever we talked at this point, I always messaged him first. We could though, have good and in-depth conversations when I did strike up a chat, but it was a shame that I always had to start it.

    My friend mentioned in one of the few conversations we had, that he didn't know when he was coming back, but would let me know when.

    When he did come back, I only found out after he posted a few things on his Facebook wall and when I asked another one of my friends, he was able to confirm it because he lived in the same area as him. He never messaged me himself to tell me that he was back, which he said he would.

    I had, however, really wanted to see him again and catch up. I was still at uni at the time, which is about 100 miles from home, so it's a fair distance. I wanted to see if he would like to come up and stay over so we could have a good catch up.

    I messaged him to ask if he wanted to do this. Before I got round to asking, he first said that he'd thought of coming round to my house, but didn't think I was back yet (I don't know how seriously he meant that though). I then asked if he'd like to come up to my uni and stay with me there, and said he would and sounded keen to, initially. He said he was seeing a friend elsewhere first, but would come up to see me shortly afterward.

    It got a little weird after this. He told me he would cycle all the way up and it would take him a few days. I quietly thought he was insane by doing this but was humbled that he would make the effort to see me this way. He wasn't clear on times though, so I asked him to let me know when he would come up so I could get ready, to which he just said 'maybe' and added a wink emoji, and then when I responded saying that I would need to know where to meet him, as it's a big place, he just said 'haha' and the conversation ended there. In all honesty, I never thought he would actually bother coming up and he didn't.

    Unfortunately later that same summer, his dad passed away from dementia. His parents are quite elderly so unfortunately it was likely to happen at an earlier stage in his life than most people. My mum and I decided to pop over to their house and give his mum flowers and a card in sympathy. I knew beforehand that, since my friend had been back, he'd been seen walking around topless and with a bandana around his head, and also posting long ramblings on Facebook about life and spirituality. By now, he was religiously part of the hippie culture.

    I wasn't at all surprised to see how different he was whe we got to his house. He was over-the-moon to see me though, and kept hugging me every few minutes, saying how great it was to see me. (We didn't actually hug very much at all when we were at school). We talked for a bit, though it was mainly about his new lifestyle and he was telling me all about his beliefs and things, but it was nice to see him nevertheless.

    He came out with me and a group of our friends the next week when we went round to ask him, but since then, I went back to uni for my final year and he went to France for a time, before coming back to the UK. I tried messaging him on his birthday, and he just said "thanks bro, and you". I commented on one of his posts a few days ago though, and he replied saying "I just had a dream about you bro", totally out of the blue. Apart from that, we haven't spoken since.

    He's since posted on Facebook with a link to a fundraiser page, asking people for donations so he can go back to Australia more full-time and see all his hippie friends again, who he now calls his "best friends" and saying how much he misses them. It made me sad to think that his home friends didn't really seem to matter to him very much anymore.

    Since he became a hippie, I don't feel we really have much in common anymore, when before, we really did. I've always been respectful of his new lifestyle and attitudes, but in myself, I just miss the old him and I wish he would come back. I've since accepted that this probably isn't a phase and this new mentality is permanent. He seems genuinely happy with his life at it is. Therefore, I can't help but think that I've lost the person who used to be my very best friend, for good.

    Sorry this has been long, but I can't explain it any other way! What do you think of this situation and do you have any advice on what I can do to try to turn things around, where our relationship is concerned, or is it better that I just move on and hope he comes back at some point? Thanks for all your help!
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    You lose touch with people as you do your own things, and that's okay. You had a great friendship, but now you've both changed and gotten older and drifted apart. That's okay too. You can't force him to stay in one place or always have you as his number one priority, because you're not and he has other people to see and other things to do. It sucks, yeah, but that's life. People move and change and become their own person. Just support him and be there for him if he does come back.
 
 
 
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