There is this couple of friends with which I think I and my partner have been in quite good relations over the years:

  • they helped us moving
  • we had their toddler at home while they were going to a party to enjoy some alone time
  • we had quite often dinner/lunch together (more often at our place than at their, though, about 5:1 ratio)
  • we sometimes baked cookies for their child, who loves them

They told us they are going to move to another city, and invited us for dinner before their move. The first time we agreed on the date (3-4 weeks in advance), but they never told us the time. When we casually met them after the supposed day, they mentioned they forgot about the dinner and renewed the invitation, stating "we must have dinner together, since we are not going to meet any more" (again 3-4 weeks before the date). Also this time they "forgot" to tell us the time for the dinner and there was no dinner. Then they relocated. We had some chat about the relocation but they never mentioned the missed dinner.

That "we are not going to meet any more" sounded strange to my hear. Yes, they are moving to another city, but it is less than 1 hour driving from where we live and their parents still live here, so it's not like they are moving to the other side of the globe.

How can I check if they are really seeking to shut down the friendship or were simply overwhelmed with relocation preparation and forgot following their agenda?

Background info: they are the kind of people overly obsessed with agenda and scheduling, at least that's what we saw during our friendship. That's why we had to plan with large advance. We felt awkward in reminding about the dinner both times, we didn't want to sound pushy as we know that relocation time is not really a stress free time.


2 Answers 2


While it is good to have friends, you cannot live your life around other people. True friends naturally gravitate to one another without too much effort and worry. If you're left wondering whether or not someone is a friend or not, this is perhaps one you could do without.

It sounds like this couple were always going to be on the periphery of your social circle going off the somewhat one-sided invitations, cancellations, and now this seeming brush-off. I'm sure they aren't bad people. Some folk just aren't that willing to let new people into their existing social circles; others are more tied up with family matters and don't seem to need friendships as much as some other people do. One other thing that strikes me is that they said "we are not going to meet any more" when you 'casually' met them - did they perhaps just mean that you are not going to bump into each other in the street anymore? That isn't the same as "goodbye forever".

I don't think it is possible to directly answer your question of 'how to check..' in a simple soundbite. I believe the answer is to stop worrying about it and perhaps widen your social circle to include others. Let 'close' friends emerge naturally over time. And you know it isn't a bad thing to have peripheral friends - putting all your efforts into maintaining one friendship, especially when it may not be reciprocated, is tiring and can lead to disappointment. Having a wider social circle gives you more options if you are super sociable. If you still hope to maintain some friendship with this couple just make sure they have your contact details and leave the ball in their court. Don't expect too much and then you can only be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.


Two things I usually do, with casual friends:

  1. If invited, I try to get a fixed date. If the other person is evasive, it was only a nicety. Also no harm in calling them a few days before an agreed date and ask if the appointment still stands and what time you should meet.

  2. I try to invite the other person. If the they say sure but they can´t agree on a date right now, I know they don´t want to.

Repeat this ~3 times over a few months and if each time I get a negative result, I know they are not interested.

If it is a really good friend, I´d recommend a honest and open conversation. Just ask if they want to remove themselves from you or if this is just appears that way because they have a lot of thing going on.

That said, the beauty in friendship is that you don´t always have to define it. Just relax and let them breathe a little bit.

I have one friend who moved 500 miles away. We only see each other once a year, and hardly ever communicate in between. But when we do see each other, it´s like he was never gone.

Another, very close friend became quite unresponsive and pretty much separated himself from me. I just let him be and now, some years down the road he is kind of coming back.

So if it does not bug you too much, consider just letting the friendship stay in an undefined state and in the near future, don't worry about going out of your way to involve them in plans.

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