I wish we taught the ending of friendships as a skill.
It is awkwardly learned skill, one most of us stumble into without any sort of guidance whatsoever. Initially we all learn the same way as children: "I am not your friend" we shout and that is that. But as we grow older, we find that are making attachments that are not so nearly easy to break.
Technology, of course, has made this even more ridiculous as now things can go on for months after any real interaction has taken place. Like a snowcloud that occasionally spits snow in hopes of a blizzard, we check in and out in fits, leaving calls or messages and then waiting to see if they are responded to. If yes, the friendship must still exist; if no, then maybe things are closed down - until we get the next message out of nowhere.
I am more prone, I suppose, because at some level I feel like friendships that die (and they do) is the equivalent of abandoning someone that might need me. In my mind, I am being entire too tough or quietly waiting in the wings (For what? Some undefined emergency to come, I suppose).
But then it really happens: the responses stop all together.
I panic at first, impatiently waiting - "They are busy" or some such. Then I (inevitably) retry to make contact as if somehow the first one got missed or that a lack of response sometime in the past caused this. The cycle probably repeats two or three times until I finally admit to myself that it truly is gone.
The reality is that these are no more my fault than the other persons. It is simply that the friendship served its purpose and now, like spring wildflowers, is withering away as it distributes its seeds.
I have tried to make a virtue of such things, working on willingly surrendering without becoming panicky or concerned. I struggle a little less than before - not that it seems to hurt any less mind you, just that we make a little more progress every time.
But part of me wonders - five years, ten years - will the friendship live at all in their mind? Or is it simply another example of leaving others even as we meet, always saying goodbye every time we shake a hand.