Author Topic: "Friendship Means Never Having To Say 'I'm Moving'?" (CORRECTED w/ending added)  (Read 3690 times)

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snappylt

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I'm sorry about the confusion - this was first posted with the latter half missing, so I've gone back in and added it.


Has anyone else read the recent Annie's Mailbox column "Friendship Means Never Having To Say 'I'm Moving'?" http://www.creators.com/advice/annies-mailbox/friendship-means-never-having-to-say-im-moving.html

The column reminded me of something I did 30+ years ago.  It's all water under the bridge now, but for the first time, after reading the column, I'm wondering if my behavior 30+ years ago was hurtful.

Back then I quit my job and went back to school for a year to earn a teaching certificate.  As soon as my student teaching was finished, I set out across country to my "dream city" where I hoped to find a teaching job.  I had some savings left, and I quickly got a part-time retail job to have some cash coming in while I looked for a teaching post. I stayed with an old college friend, "Rex", for exactly one week before finding a room for rent in a young couple's home.

(The point I am trying to make is that I was not at all a moocher! I was very careful to NOT presume upon my college friends who lived in my dream city.)

Well, another old college friend of mine, "Sam," and his wife also lived in "dream city".  When I was getting ready to move out there, I wrote Sam a letter telling him of my plans and asking if he would please look on the bulletin board in the break room at his office to see if there were any listings of people who were looking for housemates.

I didn't hear back from Sam. When he didn't respond promptly to my letter I just assumed that he might be afraid that I might try to be a moocher, so I did not contact him when I first moved. I waited until after I had a part-time job and a place to live, and then I wrote him again, inviting him and his wife to be my guests for supper at a moderately-priced restaurant.

We had a pleasant enough meal together. A month later Sam contacted me and invited me to come to their house for supper.  I did, and again we had a pleasant meal, but somehow it seemed a little awkward, unlike the camaraderie we had shared as college students.

So, although I wrote a nice thank you letter to Sam and his wife, I did not contact them again right away... and a month later I ended up applying for teaching positions in another state across the continent. I got one and I moved away that August without saying good-bye to Sam.

I planned to write Sam and his wife at Christmastime - but I was surprised a couple of days before Thanksgiving when Sam called me, long distance, at my new home out of state, to invite me to have Thanksgiving Dinner at their place.  (He had called the telephone at the house I had shared in his city, and my former housemates had given him my new phone number.)

I remember that Sam sounded sort-of hurt and confused to learn that I had moved away so abruptly.  I apologized, and then never thought of it again until I read the Annies' column.

Yes, we've stayed in touch through Christmas cards and, when the Internet became available, e-mails since then, so I guess Sam "forgave" me.

The question I have for people who've read this far is, how "rude" or "hurtful" was I to have moved away without calling Sam?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:59:49 AM by snappylt »

Mister E

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So you're worried you might've hurt Sam's feelings? But he didn't reply back to your letter so I don't know what else you were supposed to do. Since he never responded to your letter I don't think he was too upset you moved in with another friend. Did Sam ever say anything to you after you moved to their city to make you think he was mad at you for moving in with Rex instead of him and his wife?

Ed. Well given the added information I'd say it sounds like Sam was really hurt you moved away without saying goodbye to him. But as you said you've stayed in touch with him since then. So obviously he's forgiven you for it so I think you should stop worrying about it and let it go.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 01:13:50 AM by Mister E »

Ceallach

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I don't think you're required to notify acquaintances when you move.   Yes, a change of address card would be prudent, but they hadn't shown any particular interest in developing the relationship so why should you?    I wouldn't read too much into the whole situation.
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snappylt

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OP here again.

Uh... I guess maybe I was too wordy in my story.

I stayed on Rex's couch one week before I found a place to live and moved on.  I never asked to live with Sam!  I just asked him to check the bulletin board in his office's break room to see if there were any "roommate wanted" ads.

Mister E

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Oops, sorry I misunderstood but with your added info I think I got it figured out. See my edit on my first reply.

Ed.

djinnidjream

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You would have to ask my Father in Law.  While he was in another state going to tech school, his parents moved to a different home and forgot to tell him.   Imagine his surprise when he came home to visit.... Yes, that happened.
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mime

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I could easily be Sam. My greatest flaw in relationships is that I'm terribly unresponsive. I have to keep working to correct that.

I fully accept that my slow response time and infrequently-extended invitations means I get left out of some friendship nicities. I don't always hear everyone's news and life events as soon as others. It is a consequence of my own behavior and I don't blame others for it.

Hopefully Sam will see it this way. This appeared to be a drifting or fading-out friendship, and at the time of your move, you both treated it that way. It could have been a wake-up call for Sam.

I think the fact that you've both kept in touch is a great sign that you both found the friendship to be worth keeping, despite less-than-stellar communication in the past. I agree with the others: move forward and let bygones be bygones.

This makes me realize what a nice thing facebook can be-- I am up to date on the lives of some very casual friends simply by checking in once a week. I'm grateful for that.

lakey

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Getting a new job and moving across the country is a major ordeal. There are a lot of things on your to do checklist. I'm not sure that it's reasonable to expect you to notify every person that you know before you leave.

wolfie

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I would be pretty hurt if a friend just up and moved without telling me. Any time my friends moved far away we had goodbye parties and came to say goodbye. Moving and planning on telling me about 6 months after pretty much means I am very very far down on your list of people you like. And yeah that would hurt.

m2kbug

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It doesn't seem like you were terribly close to Sam and his wife.  The letter writer, on the other hand, was very close to this other couple, it sounds.  I really don't see where you needed to inform them specifically of your plans, as it seems Sam and his wife were a little cool and not terribly interested in maintaining a friendship, or at least a very close one.  The friends of the letter writer seemed like they were close friends, considered family, and I think they could have and should have informed their supposed close friends of their relocation plans.  I can understand if Sam was a little wounded, but it's not like you communicated and spent a lot of time together or talked with each other all that much.  I'm not sure I would even think to tell someone if it was a month or two in between any level of communication.  If you talked to Sam or his wife at least on the phone once a week or shared emails once in awhile, your life plans would have naturally come out in conversation. 

TriCrazy73

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You would have to ask my Father in Law.  While he was in another state going to tech school, his parents moved to a different home and forgot to tell him.   Imagine his surprise when he came home to visit.... Yes, that happened.

 :o :o :o :o

What the heck did they say to him to explain that one? wow.

Ceallach

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I would be pretty hurt if a friend just up and moved without telling me. Any time my friends moved far away we had goodbye parties and came to say goodbye. Moving and planning on telling me about 6 months after pretty much means I am very very far down on your list of people you like. And yeah that would hurt.

Right, but when you've exchanged one dinner at each other's home and had no further contact since then, do you consider that a friend?     Possibly so, obviously the expectations of communication differ in each relationship, but that's really the question, had the relationship been established enough that this specific acquaintance would expect to be notified. 
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wolfie

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I would be pretty hurt if a friend just up and moved without telling me. Any time my friends moved far away we had goodbye parties and came to say goodbye. Moving and planning on telling me about 6 months after pretty much means I am very very far down on your list of people you like. And yeah that would hurt.

Right, but when you've exchanged one dinner at each other's home and had no further contact since then, do you consider that a friend?     Possibly so, obviously the expectations of communication differ in each relationship, but that's really the question, had the relationship been established enough that this specific acquaintance would expect to be notified.

No -they wouldn't be a friend.

I just reread the post and the OP says that she guesses that Sam "forgave" her since they exchange Christmas cards and not much else, but I don't see that as forgiveness so much as acknowledgement that this is the level of friendship you want to have. I don't tell my christmas card friends I am moving until the next Christmas and put it in the card. OP planned to do that so Sam is just acknowledging that the OP doesn't wish to be closer friends and acting accordingly.