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I want to write to you today about the mystery of lost friends.

What I mean is those people who were your friends, in fact very good friends, who suddenly drop off your radar. I mean online and in offline.

I’m talking about people who you would have sworn are your best friends forever. You talk every day and share personal things at a deep level. You are mutually grateful that you met each other and support each other along the way. You feel privileged that you have somebody you know will be there for you today to listen to your issues, share your joys, and support you through your struggles.

Then, all of a sudden, they start to fade away… rapidly. Until, all of a sudden, you are no longer talking with each other and maybe even get to the place where they unfriend you on Facebook or no longer desire to see you again.

Nothing happened that you know of. There is no explanation. It is a complete mystery. You love them. You think they love you. Something has definitely has changed. But you have no idea what caused it.

You might even take the risk of asking something like, “Is everything okay?” “Are we alright?” “Has something happened between us?” Have I done something to hurt you?” If they answer though, they may say something like, “Ya, why? Everything’s fine! No worries. We’re cool! Don’t be silly!” But you know, absolutely know, that something definitely happened. Something definitely has changed. Everything has shifted. It is as if you never knew each other. Eventually, they disappear from your landscape, your vision, and your newsfeed, and leave you with a gnawing mystery.

This has happened to me many times. Even with family.

Here’s my advice if it happens to you:

1. Try once to address the obvious change in your relationship. Once. Be as clear and authentic as possible without blaming or attacking the. Just point out the obvious change in the relationship and ask them why this has happened.

2. If they explain why it has changed… good! Work with that. If there’s something that can be repaired, do it. If not, read on.

3. My guess is that they will claim nothing has changed. If this stance persists after you’ve approached them the first time, then search your own heart and discern if there’s anything you’ve done to change the relationship.

4. If you see where you could have contributed to the change, admit it and apologize. If this repairs the relationship… good. Work with that and hope it repairs things.

5. My experience is that this will still do nothing to change the shift in your relationship.

6. If, after your first attempt to find out from them what has changed, and after your attempt to remedy your contribution to the dissolution, nothing changes, then read on.

7. Move on! I’m sad to say this, and I’m sorry, but my experience is that there is nothing you can do to fix the fall. The relationship is over.

I don’t mean to sound jaundiced. I’m just being honest by conveying my experiences with and observations of this phenomenon.

Like I said, this has happened to me many times.

Here are my conclusions:

1. I must have contributed somehow to the change in the relationship, but I may never know how.

2. Perhaps they are dealing with things that having me in their life exacerbates.

3. Maybe I was useful to them for a time in their life, and my usefulness has passed.

4. I will still love them, but from a painful distance.

It’s hard to not feel rejected or discarded. But if I’ve done everything in my power to repair a relationship and there’s no reciprocity, then I have to forgive myself, absolve myself, take a deep breath, and move on.

We all walk through life with unsolved mysteries trailing behind us. Certainly one of the most painful ones is broken relationships.

Especially, when we are progressing spiritually, the frequency may increase and become even more confounding and sorrowful.

I hope this letter helps you to realize that this is something many of us experience and that somehow you find this edifying.

Your friend,