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J.R. Buchanan

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June 14, 2015

Disappearing Friendships, or Schadenfreude

The other day I was reading a blog, at suzie81speaks and I came across this statement: "I've continued with friendships that I knew had changed, simply because of the familiarity I felt and the length of time I had known them." and "As good people, we want to believe in the positive - that we're happy and fulfilled, that the connections that we feel with others are reciprocated and that things are exactly how we want them to be."

This really hit home.It immediately reminded me of one of my oldest friendships, one that no longer exists.

I met him when I was 15, he was my supervisor at the first job I had. We stayed friends for decades, going through multiple jobs for both of us, one marriage for him and two for me. I just sort of always assumed that he and his wife would be friends forever.

Then one day it happened, they refused all communication, and wouldn't even respond as to why. I did get a hold of his wife about a year later and I asked what happened. She said, "Things Change", and hung up. I haven't tried since. I really miss them.

But should I? Thinking back, maybe things weren't so good. As a couple they always seemed to take happiness from other people's failures. Whenever the auto company I worked for had a recall or bad press, they'd harp on it like it was good news. When I did better at work and his job stagnated, they sulked. It was not really healthy. It was schadenfreude.

I think the final straw was actually twofold. We both lost our jobs, he got laid off and I had to leave on disability. Yet my wife and I continued to live well and they did not. Also, my wife and I started fostering kids and eventually adopted, they could not have children, and for some reason would not consider adopting. I know his wife really wanted children.

Not fertile ground schadenfreude.

Looking back, as much as I miss them, it might be healthier this way.

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