I have a friend, but they're more like a "friend" than they used to be.
For the past while communication with this person has been difficult. By "difficult" I mean, I don't look forward to seeing the name in my inbox. We used to be close - I used to be able to say anything, without reservation. Yet somehow that's changed, and this isn't the person I feel comfortable talking to or turning to when I need advice or guidance.
I know that Irene's Friendship Blog has tons of tips what to do in situations like these. And there are others that I've spoken to about this person, and our relationship (or recent lack of), at least one of whom feels the same way. It's like we've moved on, we've changed, and the relationship (or the other person) hasn't. Or maybe that's the problem: they've changed, and in ways that I haven't. That's not the critical important part, the blame/reason part. It's the change that's important.
What's tricky, of course, is not wanting to hurt the other person. Explaining how things seem different, and difficult, is awkward. Gentle hints aren't working, and I suspect that a direct approach will either be ignored or cause more pain than I want to cause someone who was, for a while, a very important part of my life.
Yet as I sit here, cleaning up after the mess Hurricane Irene made of my kitchen (luckily few frozen foods were lost, but those that were caused quite an "uck"), I've been thinking about how this is perfect timing: it's September, start of a new academic year, and there's physical cleaning-up to be done, so why not also do some personal relationship cleaning-up? Maybe the best thing to do is send the message "I miss the old you" (or, more accurately, "I miss the old us") via e-mail, phone, text, smoke signals, or real snail mail.
Because I do, I really do miss the old you.