You'd Like to Phone a Friend (But He Sucks at Communicating)
Question: I have an old college friend who is terrible about keeping in touch. We always have a great time when we hang out, and have a good bro bond vibe, but my chances of getting calls, emails or even jokey texts returned from him are about one in three. We had a conversation about this a couple of years ago, he was very responsive to it, owned up, and promised to do better in the future. He did, for a while, but eventually reverted to the norm.
I don't think he wants to let the friendship fade away, but at a certain point even if he has the best intentions it doesn't matter, because that's kinda what's happening anyway, and I'm starting to feel stupid for ever reaching out. Is it time for another talk? Should I let it die? Should I learn to accept his flakiness?
Answer: When it comes to communications with close friends, naturally we're going to feel a bit jilted if our cleverly-worded email or well-timed smiling poop emoji text is sent out to radio silence. But here's what's important: You and your friend have a great time when you hang out and, as you say, have a good bro vibe.
Friendships are supposed to change as we age. The time and enthusiasm we can put into making and strengthening them in our 20s becomes increasingly usurped by work, romantic relationships, ungrateful children and "Game of Thrones" episodes as we age. In fact, the more important friends become in maintaining our sanity, the less metal space we seem to have for them.
You've already spoken about it. He was responsive and even tried harder for a little while. To me, this indicates that he still cares about your friendship but doesn't require as much contact to keep it alive. So No, it's not time for another talk and Yes, you should learn to accept this about him.
The next time you reach out, whether by email, text or smoke signal, leave the ball in his court. He'll reply when he has something funny or worthwhile to say and you'll feel less miffed if he's the one setting the cadence.