Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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Losing friends

Every year, I like to celebrate my birthday by inviting friends to hang out (Except for this year…). Every year is different depending on the people who come. Some, I probably haven’t seen all year long, some I’ve just met a couple of weeks ago. Others won’t show up at all. I guess it’s normal that we lose friends as we age. Life changes, always giving us new opportunities. A new job, a new relationship, maybe even a kid. Being close with every friend just won’t work all the time.

It’s okay. That’s what I’m trying to convince myself of. Do I really feel that way? I’m not sure.

I’ve never lost a friend overnight. I’ve never been in a huge fight with someone and didn’t see them again. We just changed. And sometimes we didn’t even realize, this was happening, especially with friends moving away. At first, we still wrote each other, maybe video chatted. When the person came home for the holidays, I met up with them. As often as I could. But each time, I did so, it felt less like meeting the person I used to know. We’ve changed and so did our friendship. The connections fade until one day the friend’s back home and you forget to meet up.

In German, we have a word for that: Lebensabschnittsfreunde (try that at a spelling bee!). It describes the friendship of two people at a certain stage of their lives. It defines friendships that work because the circumstances allow for it. However, when you get to a new stage in life, the friendship might end.

Looking back at old pictures is so bittersweet. Seeing all the awesome things, we did. The good times we had. The bad times as well. At least we were together. I like to remember special people I’ve met over the years. And I have some awesome stories with awesome people. I just don’t have the people to share them with anymore. You have to set priorities is what I hear people say. Sometimes you have to prioritize your job or your studies over your friends is what’s been told to me. So, do you prioritize your success over your happiness? Bullshit, I say.

Some of the people at my birthday parties I didn’t see for a long time. But the connection with some people stayed the same although we didn’t stay the same. If we start talking like we never stopped, then that’s a real friend. That’s something special we need a word ford. Lebensfreunde. Life friends.

However, is it possible to revisit former friendships? To meet up and become friends again? To get to know each other again, fill in the holes of what you missed in each other’s life? Or is it wiser to let things be, remember the good times, and make new memories with new people? As for me, I just went through the contacts in my phone where I’ve hoarded numbers of all the people I’ve ever known. I deleted all the contact with whom I’m sure, I will never be friends with again. 55 numbers deleted. I’ll concentrate on the others for now.

Inspired by these blogs:
Losing friends as we age by Vice (German)

The Purge: Losing friends and removing others
Losing friends and attempting to heal
Losing friends hurts

Change Memorial Inspirational Miami Holocaust


  • 16. November 2017

    So very deep and beautifully expressed!

    • 16. November 2017

      Thank you very much! That means a lot 🙂

  • 2. November 2017

    That was so beautifully expressed, Benleander!
    Now that I read what you said in the last paragraph, I am in a dilemma. Would I like to rekindle old friendships or will I just let them go and cherish the memories? I wish I could do rekindle those friendships and take off from where we left. But, I am sure that\’s not what everyone would agree with, isn\’t it? I so wish life was simpler!

    • 2. November 2017

      You sound just like me (in my head) when I was writing this haha!
      I also wish that we could just go back, text someone and be besties again. Unfortunately, that\’s not going to happen very often. And you\’re right, I also think that\’s because the other person might think otherwise. That being said, I had some people who I used to know turn back up in my life. But that always happened out of a coincidence, usually because we both were at the same party/event. It\’s always a great experience when that happens and I wish it could happen more often 🙂

      • 2. November 2017


        Unfortunately time\’s running so fast, that i often think – fuck how old am i? Distances, Workshops and partners makes life Hard everyday Day…Your Photo reminds me of the best time i\’ve eher had – although i didn\’t knew that i will ever think in that way in the future… I\’d really would go back in time so that we could be forever young and go visit hanni & nanni everyday 😉 I\’d love to 🙂 you\’ll be always one of my besten friendz ever 🙂

        • 2. November 2017

          Hey Tina, didn\’t think you\’d read this but I\’m really happy to hear from you. You\’re one of the friends I was thinking about when writing this. I love remembering the good times and what you wrote really affected me deeply. Yeah, those were the best times of my life as well and at point I never realized that. Strange isn\’t it? Shouldn\’t we always live the best present we can? I hope we can get to meet up more often in the future – homies for life 😀

      • 3. November 2017

        I so wish I experience some serendipitous encounters myself! 🙂 There are definitely some people I would love to have back into my life!

        • 3. November 2017

          It will most likely happen when you least expect it 😉

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