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A couple years ago I moved away from the city in which I went to university. During my time in this city I made a friend, let's call him Bob. I felt my friendship was very close with Bob. We had gone on several trips together and knew each other's family. After I finished school, I moved to another city. I tried keeping in touch with Bob through text messaging, but he didn't really seem into it. After a while he stopped replying altogether. I sent him a text wishing him a happy new year, and got a reply that he doesn't know who I am and I got the wrong number. I replied "is this Bob?" and he replied "no". I then went to a mutual friend to get Bob's number, and from this response I got the same number I had been using all along.

I'm not sure what to do next. Bob is a carpenter and doesn't have social media like Facebook or email, and in general doesn't like technology. I don't want to put mutual friends into the middle of this. If Bob really doesn't want to be friends with me, I'll accept it, but I'd like to know for certain. For example, it is possible that my mutual friend isn't aware of Bob's new number.

My other friend I made while going to school, we talk on the phone frequently and reply to each other's Facebook posts. Bob just has a different personality, he's very non-technical and finds it difficult to type on a keyboard. If he's just not into exchanging text messages, I get that, but I would like to know that if we're ever in the same city we'd visit.

BTW, one of the reasons I think Bob may be pretending not to know me, is because if a person doesn't recognize a number they usually say "who is this?" not "I don't know you, you've got the wrong number" (especially to a thing like "happy new years"). I guess I could phone him and see if I get his voicemail, but that doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

How can I find out whether or not Bob still wants to be friends with me, and get back in touch with him without putting mutual friends in the middle?

closed as too broad by Kendra, A J, user58, Tinkeringbell, curiousdannii Jan 15 '18 at 13:32

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What kind of help in terms of Interpersonal Skills are you looking for? Did you try asking your mutual friend if Bob still lives in that city and then travel there to meet him and ask him in person? – Anne Daunted Jan 6 '18 at 13:13
  • What approaches for finding out whether they still want to be friends with you are you looking for? Some kind of text message to that number, something else? – Anne Daunted Jan 6 '18 at 14:04
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    @AnneDaunted any approach that would work. – slamdunk101 Jan 6 '18 at 22:28
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Do not waste much time and energy thinking about some text messages about which you do not even know whether they came from Bob or not. Some people may usually ask “Who is this?”, but some may also react in the way as you have described it.

The only way to find out whether Bob wrote this or not is to confront him in person. Maybe he has changed his phone number and you don’t know it because he hasn’t told anyone or many people yet or thought that he told it some people; but as you say: He is not very tech savvy. So, he might think that he has informed anybody, but he hasn’t done that in reality and does not even know it.

I think that you have to contact mutual friends in order to see him in person and ask him if this is a misunderstanding.

  • Thanks for the advice but for a number of reasons it's not feasible to confront him in person. 1) now that we don't live in the same city it would take a lot of time and money to make the trip 2) without being able to contact him are you suggesting I randomly show up at his door step? 3) if I randomly show up, he may feel pressured into "pretending" to still be friends. – slamdunk101 Jan 6 '18 at 22:26
  • I did not know that there is such a spacial distance between you. Now, I would recommend to call a mutual friend and tell him what you’re thinking. He may then later get him to the phone so that you can talk to him. – Nemgathos Jan 7 '18 at 12:27
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How can I find out whether or not Bob still wants to be friends with me, and get back in touch with him without putting mutual friends in the middle?

Since your only way of contacting him is his phone number, just call him. Maybe it's going to be a little bit awkward, but it's the only strategy I can think of without putting mutual friends in the middle. Moreover, you have the right to ask him what's happened and why he stopped replying to you: I think that the awkwardness is more on his side than on yours.

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Bob is a carpenter and doesn't have social media like Facebook or email, and in general doesn't like technology.

So, you made friends with someone who doesn't like technology, devices, and using them. And then.....

I moved to another city. I tried keeping in touch with Bob through text messaging, but he didn't really seem into it. After a while he stopped replying altogether. I sent him a text wishing him a happy new year

You proceeded to send repeated texts. You ignored it when "he didn't seem into it," and then he finally stop replying, and you still sent more texts.

You might be right. That might be Bob, but his reluctance, and then non-replies has not stopped the influx of casual-subject text messages that he seems to dislike. The message seems to be, not that he's no longer Bob at that number, but "you have the wrong number," because you've mistaken him with someone who likes receiving texts.

At this point, it might be feasible to just chalk it up as a lost acquaintance and walk away.

If you confirm that he has, in fact, gotten irritated enough to try and sever contact by claiming to have moved from that number, are you going to send more texts to confront him? Or will you send texts to apologize? It seems that you were aware that Bob doesn't like to communicate this way, and yet you kept doing it. He's been sending a clear, non-text, non-verbal message, but you haven't been attending to what he's telling you.

If you should happen to be able to reach out to him, face to face, or through a third party and re-establish this friendship, please apply the lessons learned here. Want to just check in with Bob, see how he's doing, or let him know you still have him in mind? Great. That device you use to text him was originally designed to make phone calls. So call him and talk to him.

I had a friend and work acquaintance who was very reluctant to even start using email. He eventually made the move to facilitate his administration of a lot of people he had to coordinate with, but he's never, ever lost his strong preference for a direct person-to-person conversation. When I read your question, I immediately connected Bob's personality to my friend's.

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You really can and probably should call him. First of all, you already know text and tech in general is not an option. And you can't visit him in person. By default your remaining options are mail or phone (Or private investigator lol). Second, you deserve to know what happened! It certainly sounds like he either changed his phone number OR is being super passive aggressive. If you are feeling passive aggressive yourself, call him from a different number (get a Google phone number) and if he answers you can say hi it's me and I have a new phone number and am letting my friends know. BTW is everything okay? I tried to text you a few weeks ago. Is something wrong? Etc

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