How do you deal with stubborn apathy?

I'm reminded of a bit of wisdom I once discovered on Twitter (the part that talks about literature, so a relatively civil part of it). The gist of it is, "friends are like balloons or anchors, they either lift you up or weigh you down." It was a comment on an author's post about letting go of friendships that had ceased to be emotionally rewarding some time ago, no longer trying to keep those friendships going just because they had been there a while. Not being a jerk about it either - no "we're not friends anymore and you are awful!" - but somewhat intentionally letting things drift apart.

It helped me come to terms with the fact that one of my friends was an anchor, whereas most were balloons, or at least neutral, and feel less bad about the drifting apart that had already been going on. Perhaps most, it helped me not feel obliged to re-engage (or re-engage a lot) when the anchor suggested doing so. I never fully answered the question of, "how much should I let this anchor know that his consistent negativity is why I don't enjoy hanging out with him", but I also didn't hang out with him for 10 more years just because we had in the past.


I'm also reminded of a friend who moved out of state, and somewhat intentionally significantly reduced contact with his friends in his old state, to help with starting over. He'd had some not great life events, not really related to his old-state friends, so you couldn't blame him for wanting a fresh slate. But "apathy" was the generally impression when I'd reach out to him. We last talked some time last summer, and met up for pizza when he was in the area in 2020. It'd be nice to hang out with him again, and talk a bit more often, he was one of my best friends in the years before he moved. But where I've left it is if he reaches out cool, and if I'm going to be near his neck of the woods, I'll reach out and see if he wants to meet up. But I'm not going to force the issue of hanging out if he's lukewarm about it.


You may be in a similar situation to where I am with my friend who's out of state. My thoughts now are if he moves back and we start hanging out again and it's like old times, great! If not, we had like a dozen years of good friendship, which still have a lot of good memories, and hopefully he has a good life in his new state.
^Very good post Quintillus. I like the balloons and anchors analogy.

I too had a friend leave our state after we graduated college to start a new life that I never heard from again. There was no falling out or anything like that but he was getting married, getting a new job out of state, and just wanted to start his life.

But I guess it's easier to figure relationships out when you are dealing with people in person. It's very hard to get the full story when interacting with people online.
What do you miss about these people? Is it anything that can't be salved elsewhere with other, new, fun people?
^Very good question. I miss that we all used to have fun talking and joking together on that forum. But I realize now I don't need them if they are going to treat me unjustly.

In any case I'm thankful for CFC and the other forums I go to.
Yeah, its entirely justifiable to be melancholy for lost times. Who doesn't yearn for that feeling of endless summer holidays?

Plenty of online and IRL replacements. So many forums from the past I miss, but don't even exist these days.
So many forums from the past I miss, but don't even exist these days.
Well, InvisionFree became ZetaBoards, which was taken over by Tapatalk, and that was it. I can't wrap my head around Tapatalk (and so much content was zapped in the conversion) so that was it for some of them for me.

Some of the pro version of Invision forums are still around, like the Roman history forum I belong to, and even The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword (aka The Mighty Pen - a writing forum, of course) is still around though not very busy these days.
My main forum was one for the game Morrowind. It's official forum was suddenly shut down with no real warning. Had no way back then to contact anyone or other forum goers.

FYRFYTR if you're out there, I still miss you buddy!
I met my the mother of my first child on an internet forum. Had like 20k posts there, was even a mod for awhile. It was also shut down suddenly. Was connected to an online business and I guess they determined that a bunch of forum weirdos were more of a liability than a help in terms of driving business.

I would never go back there anyway, I was a totally different person back then rather embarrassingly so.

I even had my own forum for a year or two but didn't continue to pay the upkeep on my website so it disappeared too. I gave everyone a warning @ least so if they wanted to make a connection beyond the forum they could.
The DJForums database got deleted by the host “by accident”. Lost like 12k posts and when the forum restarted, the vibe was dead. Met a couple dozen of them IRL but it was a big loss. I realized most of my fiery political posts from a decade ago were there instead of here, when I was doing some search terms the other day.

I had basically diaried my personal life on there for a stretch of time I don’t remember too well, and it hurt the IRL connections when the forum crashed as well, I think people like me were too sad about the loss of history.

It was a treasure trove of DJing information and experiences you cannot find today. If it happened today, I would for sure sue the s*** out of the host company for huge damages for loss of valuable data. But back then the data wasn’t priced so highly.
Some of my best Dune posts got zapped when was shut down and Tapatalk torpedoed the former InvisionFree forums.

And I've never been able to find my old ShatCat avatar... (imagine a well-fed grey cat with Shatner-like features, sitting at a boardroom-type table and muttering "Denny Crane. Denny Crane.")
Sometimes friendships are damaged, and sometimes it's more like diverging interests drift apart. I'm fortunate in that my close friendships that are not still ongoing resemble the latter. Different states, no longer doing the activities we shared, different places in life. At least, I don't have hard feelings, but we also don't have much to talk about. It's sad in one sense, but in another we've just gone our separate ways with some good to great memories back when our paths crossed. There are moments in life we can't go back to, can't recreate, even though they were amazing. Best we can do is be able to look back at this time years later and say the same thing about now.

Everyone has their own perception/perspective. One person feeling betrayed might feel so while the other didn't even think about it too much, or just had something going on in their lives then disappeared/came back without thinking about how disappearing might look to anybody else too much. Every situation is different.

If there is still mutual interest in enjoying time together, one can reach out and see if it's there.

As for damaged friendships/betrayal, that's also case by case. But I think the main question is whether one side acknowledges that they did something wrong, and whether the other can get past feelings of resentment. Resentment is quite effective at crushing connections. Sometimes, it's something that can be worked through/forgotten. Other times, the resentment is justified (particularly for the person feeling it, even with effort to change their minds), in which case sustaining the connection doesn't make sense. That's up to the people in question to decide.
I'm glad my post was useful. I agree on distance being a factor in drifting apart at times. It's easier for me to keep up with my high school friends than college, since I moved back to my hometown, and thus it's easy to say, "I'm hungry, do you want to get dinner in an hour?" or "who's up for seeing the new Top Gun movie on Monday?" My college friends, I've generally had to make the effort to reach out to, and if we meet up there's travel and thus planning. So there's more thought of, "is it going to be worth all the planning and travel time and expense?" For some it is, but the ones I hung out with just because we were in the same group have tended to drift away.

I also agree that it's easier to read an audience in person. I became a lead at work right about the time the pandemic started, causing it to be remote. It wasn't too bad with the first team that I already knew in-person, where I knew their tendencies for sharing or not sharing their thoughts from our existing conversations, and knew which sorts of tasks they liked and which ones stressed them out. But when I switched companies and it was all new people? My manager would ask, "How's John doing?" and it was like, well, he says he's doing okay, and his rate of progress is within the normal realm, but I really have no way of knowing if he's doing okay or is just barely getting by, but isn't letting that on. And that's with videochatting with "John" one-on-one every week, in addition to whatever interaction we'd have through normal work activities.

I was very open with how I was doing with my manager (which was "not great, but that's due to the pandemic and being remote thing"), but I was confident in my abilities, as well as that if being open had been the wrong choice, I could have found somewhere else to work pretty quickly. But if the pandemic had arrived in 2014, I may well have pretended to be okay when everything wasn't, and for all I knew "John" could have been doing the same thing. And even if "John" wasn't, maybe "Steve" was.

Had we been able to meet up off-campus for a relaxed lunch, I probably would have had a feel for how they were doing very quickly. Or had we been working in the office. Body language gives a lot of hints.


On the subject of forums going down, if it's a specialized knowledge community like Hygro's DJ example, the Internet Archive (ArchiveTeam) is at least occasionally willing to do full archives if they have enough notice (e.g. a couple weeks) before it goes down. They did that with another forum I was part of early this year, although I don't know the proper channel to contact them, as someone else did that.

And if you're a member of a XenForo that's going down, feel free to PM me, as I may be able to help. Not with keeping the forum itself up, but with preventing the knowledge from disappearing forever.
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