When Friends Go Off The Grid

Hey there friends. Perhaps you noticed—or perhaps you didn’t because, well, you have other things on your mind—but this blog went on a brief hiatus over the last couple of weeks. Sorry about that. It was unexpected from my end as well.

But… I’m back! I know. Thank God.

And if you’re still here, tuning in, to you I say:

But since we’re on the topic of people going off the grid (however momentarily), has that ever happened with one of your besties? How did you handle it? I find that when one of my pals goes into hibernation I’m never quite sure if the right move is to give them space or continually check in to see if everything is ok.

It seems whichever option I choose is always wrong. If I don’t check in enough I feel neglectful; If too much, I’m a smotherer. It’s hard to know what someone needs. A mindreader I am not. (And I think I may have recently lost a friendship as a result.)

So my new BFFs, what do you think? How do you handle these moments?

27 Comments

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27 responses to “When Friends Go Off The Grid

  1. RWC

    I’m the one that goes off the grid — it happens every year when I get extremely busy at work for months at a time. I literally put in 10-12 hours at work at this time of year, plus a 2 hour round trip commute or I’m in another state. Some of my friends get it, and some don’t. I had one friend “break up” with me via email because I hadn’t had time to hang out in six months. Heaven forbid that I wanted to sleep more than 6 hours a night! I made a resolution this year to write a certain number of personal email or make calls per week and I’m sadly still falling short. Might be why I read your blog all the time!!

  2. Justzj

    I have always tended to check in with the friend to see if everything is ok. If they are busy, they let me know. If they are going through a hard time, they either ask for help or ask for a bit of space. I did have one best friend that always tended to push me away without any reason. Each time I approached her and explained my hurt feelings, she would apologize. Unfortunately, it kept happening and I ended up constantly disappointed and very hurt. The last time she pushed me away, I never called and neither did she. I guess the friendship was only good for her when I did all the calling and crawling. It has been over a year since it happened and I have to admit I still feel hurt. She won’t even look at me when I see her in public and she has told others that I “stopped talking to her for no reason”. If she would have heard me before maybe we wouldn’t be at this place right now. A true friend is worth fighting for and they would let you know that! I learned my lesson.

    • Cass

      I am sorry your past friend did this. I must say though, I am guilty of what your friend did. I can take blame for my part, but there was more going on with the other individual who I knew. My story starts off pretty good. I thought we were okay acquaintances. I never really call someone a friend, since honestly most people always leave so I refrain from saying this. This individual I knew was very strange. She liked to pry into other peoples lives. She said it made her feel better about herself. She strived to know all my personal information. I get off the grid at times and just want to be alone. I grew tired of me asking to hang out. She always wanted to party which I am against. I went against my own values to make her happy and once I started realizing I shouldn’t is when things went poorly. This is also the time when I found out she had been telling another individual my issues and such. Once I heard she had told another person about my past issues I took her out of my life mentally.
      Once I did this, she stopped talking to me, but had to add in that she said I was never there for her and such. I was the one with the car who drove her around and such. The only thing I was good for was that and being her only friend. Overall, I knew in the beginning that it wouldn’t have lasted because we had nothing in common. She was the partier and well I am just laid back wanting to do more with my life than party. I tried to stay friends by asking if she wanted to hang out sometime and she would say sure, but then would change her mind and say she had other plans with someone else. It became a game…a game I wasn’t willing to play. I suffer with anxiety so by this time my anxiety was up and I just shut down. I knew I was miserable being this persons friend. Everyone I spoke to said that she was not a great person for me to be around. In the end, I finally said bye. She was probably surprised I never emailed or phoned her again, but really I didn’t see any reason to since I was tired. I have seen her once or twice…we go to the same college, but I have never said word to her and don’t plan on it. I tucked myself away for the summer after this happened just because I was hurt like no other. Now, my heart is blocked from people. I don’t let people get to me whether it be friends or anyone for that matter. My experiences have been people hurt people… I am guilty of it and others are too. The best thing is I know not to let people get to me anymore. I just don’t care.

  3. I recently went off the grid, without meaning to, as it tends to happen. I definitely appreciated the checking in, the little notes just to say hello [without any question or push] and eventually, the little pushes really DID drag me back.

    When a friend of mine goes off the grid, I tend to be the pushy one. I’d rather be sure they know I’m there for them, then let them wallow alone thinking I don’t care. Of course, I DO back off when requested!

  4. I tend to check in, but I always wonder if I’m being pushy or waiting too long or whatever. It’s tough to know how to respond.

    Welcome back, Rachel!

    • Cass

      I like when I go off the grid that someone notices. I rarely get this. I am usually the first to see how everyone is doing…Some times I feel alone, but keep this from others just because it makes them think I am weak.

  5. I tend to give space, but send nice messages over text or Facebook to let them know I’m thinking of them and offer to catch up. It’s pretty hard to read, especially if the friend is living in a different city or state. Best of luck with your current off-the-grid friend!

  6. hello! I have a problem letting go so I’m generally the one who relentlessly checks on them. however, over the last couple of months I decided I can’t do this all the time. So I’m still friends with some of them and I answer emails/ texts nicely (and in a friendly way) but if they don’t want to say what’s up, then I’m not pushing. These are the ones who say “oh, i’m just so busy. life is crazy” all the time, or who make plans with me and then cancel at the last minute but don’t reschedule. That kind of thing. Uggghhhhh!

    • I understand the feelings you experienced Marcia.

      people always says friends are important, although they did not explicitly stated that family is much more important.

      I also can’t stand people who makes their friends work around their schedule for meetup and end up not turning up because had a last minute ‘headache’ or the venue is far for her….

  7. If I haven’t heard from someone I’ll send them a little news clip or something to let them know I’m thinking of them without pressuring them to get together. If they want company, it’s usually enough of an icebreaker for them to initiate contact. If not I give them space and check back again when timing feels right. Sometimes I just invite myself over – almost always they prefer that someone come over than to have to dig out of whatever reality they are bogged into. Then I feel like a good friend, esp. because I’ll try to bring a little gift – an interesting box of tea or some other treat. If they say its not a good time I understand – we’re all pretty honest with each other.

  8. Amy

    I’ve been dealing with this a bit myself so no real answer other than to say I sympathize. Also, I tend to be on the shy side and fall off the grid more often than other people but do try to check in with everyone when possible.

  9. I am always happy if someone actually think of me and messages me to find out how I am doing lately. But mostly, it is me approaching them.

    Sometimes, when you are really excited about planning a potential outing with them, she will tell you that you should go find a date (yes, exact words, not a subtle messages).

    I really makes me think whether it is me who is off the grid or the other party does not really wants to go out with me when she rather spend all her time with her significant others.

    One thing I have learnt is to appreciate more of friends who know that you care and actually take a moment to respond to you even when they are busy with their work.

    There is really no point in saying you are one’s bestie when you don’t even responds to a single message. Friendship should ‘operate’ in 2 ways communication.🙂

  10. anariffic55

    I DID notice, I thought there was something wrong with my e-mail! I kept checking my SPAM folder and double checking my in-box, but to no avail ~ ! THANK GOODNESS YOU ARE OK! You’re back!

    And you pose an important question. I have had a bestie fall off the grid, and have eventually renewed that friendship ~ as it turns out, some people just do that, they fall off the grid. I think the most important thing to remember is that “the phone rings on both ends,” which is to say, you don’t stop communicating with them, they stopped communicating with you. I send the occasional “hows it going” e-mail for a few weeks or a few months, depending if it’s a bestie or just a casual friend. After that, I let them make the next reach out. If they don’t, I may never know why, but some times things just go that way. I have had besties come back after YEARS, and I have come back to my besties after years of silence too, there are many possibilities for someone to drop off the grid. Usually, it’s nothing personal, it’s just life happening, taking unexpected turns and in dealing with them, sometimes our friends are a casualty. Bummer, but it’s the way life goes.

    I REALLY enjoy your blog, glad to hear that you haven’t stopped writing it,nor have *I* dropped off YOUR grid

    Always, Ana

  11. My friends and I are all pretty terrible at staying on the grid – so we all just check in every now and then. Try to do the, “oh this made me think of you” without expecting anything in reply (just the little reminder that we’re thinking of each other). Mostly though, I’ll try and contact like once a week or something. So it’s not-too-much, but doesn’t feel like too little either.

  12. I really appreciate friends who don’t mind an occasional hiatus. I think we all have times we need to hibernate and true friends understand that. I have a best, long time friend who gets annoyed if I’m not in touch almost every day. One measure of how “best” a friendship is, I think, is being okay with each other’s needs which might include NOT talking daily when there’s nothing at all new or no time to chat.
    I also value my more acquaintance-type friends who are happy to be in touch when it works for both of us.
    So, I’m glad you’re hiatus is over for now Rachel because I love reading your blog and I won’t mind if you need another hiatus!

  13. Me and my bestest of friends get all odd when anyone one of us goes on radio silence. We all just assume something horrible has happened but don’t actually attempt to make contact! Well, until we realise we’re being lunatics and just send an un-obtrusive text.

    I think it’s ok, perhaps healthy, to not live in each others shoes ALL the time.

  14. Sue

    I noticed there was no blog for abit too. I’m glad you’re back, I love reading the entries..I’ve been guilty of ‘cocooning’ as my friends call it and boy did I get in trouble from one particular friend, so now I’m mindful to keep in touch more. I have a great circle of friends and I think we’ve found a nice balance in communication. we don’t let anyone stray too far away for too long and it works for us. Texting, email, twitter, and facebook are phenominal inventions that help keep us abreast of everything that’s going on.

  15. Lynn

    I think if you have friends that don’t understand that you have to or need to fall off the grid you should find new ones. My friends have been guilty of it, I’ve been guilty of it, life happens. I appreciate a little message saying, “not sure what’s up, if you’re busy at work or what, but we miss you.’ That’s enough of a reminder that I need to respond. I also take that tactic. If they never respond, then you know where your friendship stands unless there’s an extenuating circumstance where after 6 months you haven’t heard from someone, e.g. family issues or work. If you just decided to be lazy and hang out with other friends, fine by me just dont expect to come back to me.

  16. I give space, but not too much space. Therein lies the question, I know. How do you find that fine line? That is where Facebook and e-mail come in handy, so you can send a quick little not without the risk of being an unwelcome intrusion by calling. I’ve had a friend who’s been pretty much off the grid for years (Does that mean we’re no longer friends at all?), and I send her a birthday card every year, and great if she responds, and I get the message if she doesn’t, but I still send a card the next year because she may be open to the friendship next year. Believe me, this very question has caused me to read many, many books on friendships (including yours!), but I still haven’t found the answer. I don’t think there is any one answer. Every friendship is different, and I think we all just play it by ear and do the best we can.

  17. Daisy

    My sister is my best friend and has recently gone off the grid and I have been going crazy trying to figure out why she doesn’t call more often (I’ve been doing all of the work in this relationship for quite a while and I am tired of it). Seems if I don’t hound her, I won’t hear from here for several weeks. We used to talk everyday. Bottom line is I miss her and have no other person in my life to replace her. I end up feeling blown off and lonely. Reading everyone’s comments has helped. Thanks ladies. Women rock.

  18. Welcome Back!

    I totally understand as an adult and a woman with children that people will temporarily fall out of touch for one reason or another. But ( I may be contardicting myself) I do feel like certain friendships deserve a different type of respect. My BFF since forever fell off and then acted as if she hadn;t noticed a thing and then made me out to be a “drama queen.” I was really hurt and offened. It really seem like she discounted our entire friendshi dow to nothing.

    • Right there with you, S.S. MomME! Being treated as irrational and dramatic because you didn’t think it was OK for a BFF to disappear on you is totally hurtful and offensive. So much so that it affects future friendships, where you don’t let yourself open up for fear that that same thing will happen again. Thank you for the reminder that it all comes down to RESPECT.

  19. I would love to go off the grid but it is near impossible! Everything is so connected now, everyone knows all of each others business. However, I do have one friend (my BFF in fact) who routinely does not contact me. I think I’m in denial about the state of our friendship though. I cling because I have no one else. I think a check in note is ok. They don’t have to respond if they don’t want to. But I know I like to get those notes!

  20. It’s definitely frustrating to be the person on the other side of the “faller”…if there’s some kind of crisis or it’s a once-in-a-while thing, totally get it. But when you have friends who are continually disappearing for months at a time and then resurfacing when it’s convenient for them…kinda feels like a one sided friendship. And is that really worth investing in?

  21. Ael

    Just under 10 years ago, I sort of “fell off the grid,” I suppose. My sister had some, lengthy, very serious (i.e. life-threatening) medical issues that had me in a panic/funk and focusing a lot of my time on my family. I found it inadvertently to be a real turning point in many of my friendships. The whole situation required a level of “friendship maturity” that some of my friends totally understood, and others did not. When I didn’t have the energy or bandwidth to always be the one reaching out to socialize, etc., one set of friends sort of got annoyed, called me a “downer” and blew me off; other friends were rockstar champion friends who gave me space when I needed it, but recognized that this was a point in the relationship where I needed them to come through more in a very difficult time for me. The latter are still my friends. Sometimes things happen in your life that make you reevaluate who you should be investing your emotional energy in. So, I think it’s important to keep reaching out if that friend is important to you. How much does it take for you to let them know you care? Really? Meant the world to me when some friends just understood that I had to put family first.

  22. Sharon

    Damn ed if you damned if you don’t, welcome to my world whatever I do is always wrong.

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