Trying to Salvage a Friendship

by Quendi 54 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Quendi

    My friends,

    I need your counsel on a personal matter, and I hope you will give it in love. As some of you know, I was disfellowshipped six years ago, but it wasn't until June 2010 that I made up my mind never to return to the WTS. I left many dear friends behind. Of course, most have never spoken to me again, and since that is their decision I have accepted it. There is one exception, however, and it is that case on which I desire your advice.

    In my thirty years' association with Jehovah's Witnesses I had some very close friends. Of the two closest, one is dead. He killed himself 25 years ago but I have never really recovered from that. The other is still very much alive. Last year, I had a mutual friend contact him to sound him out about his feelings. This contact told me that my friend was suffering many things, but that he still had very strong feelings about our friendship. I passed my phone number along to him, but he has never called. I grieved for some months but then decided to let him go.

    Now, however, I have been rethinking that decision and want to try to salvage our friendship--if it can be salvaged, that is. So through another Witness friend that we both know, I am reaching out again. I think that there is still a strong desire on his part to renew ties but he is afraid of the repercussions if his efforts to do so become known. I want to talk to him briefly on the phone first and then set up a meeting in some out-of-the-way venue where we can talk freely and anonymously without other Witnesses reporting him since nobody would know and recognize either of us.

    Where I need your help is exactly how should I propose this if we do talk on the phone? I want to be as kind and gentle as I can since the situation is very delicate and my friend's psyche right now is quite fragile. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this at all. Maybe, since he hasn't responded to my previous effort to get back together, I should simply write him off. But of all the Witnesses I have ever known save for the friend who is now dead, this man is the closest friend I have ever had. I loved him as much as I loved my fleshly family, and we had traveled very far on life's road together through thick and thin, good and evil, life and death. I don't want to turn my back on him unless and until he makes it clear that he wants nothing more to do with me.

    Am I right in pursuing this still or am I trying to squeeze water out of a stone? And if my friend does agree to meet, how should I proceed? I am at a loss, so I am reaching out to the board here as well as to other people I know. "There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment," reads Proverbs 15:22. I need your help, and I look forward to your replies.


  • wont-let-me-fade

    Hi Quendi

    I have recently got back in touch with a brother who moved from our area and out of the "truth"35 yrs ago he had been closer to me than any friend I'd ever known.Me being new to the borg was too zealous for jw's and let him go.Any way 5 mths ago i contacted him via the internet and its been the most refreshing and brilliant thing ive ever done we speak most days and hes been over from ~Ireland to stay with my wife and I so I say yes make every effort to contact your friend.You've everything to gain and nothing to lose.

  • ABibleStudent

    Hi Quendi. I am sorry that you lost many JW friends when you were df'ed. The easy answer is move on and make "Worldly" (i.e., normal) friends, because friendships come and go as we live and change. If you feel an overwhelming desire to rekindle your friendship then I would suggest that if you believe in Our Father that you pray that your friend follows the teachings of Jesus Chris instead of the WTBTS, if you know your friend's email address that you send your friend a short friendly email with a picture of yourself doing something that you know he would like, if you know your friend's postal address that you send him a card or note with a picture of you doing something that you know he would like to be doing, or you "accidently" meet your friend. If you know your friend's email address, you could also send him an anonymous email like I wrote about in If your friend does respond to you, you may want to read Steve Hassan's books (e.g., "Combatting Cult Mind Control") so that you can avoid any pitfalls that will cause your friend to yell "Apostate" and run back to the KH.

    I was never a JW and have a former friend, who is a devout JW. I miss talkng and doing things with my former friend also, but it is unlikely that she will ever awaken. I am moving on in my life and I pray every day that she will follow the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of the WTBTS, because I believe in Our Father.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • OnTheWayOut

    I had just about lost my JW best friend, he couldn't handle my fader/inactive state and claimed he had to protect his family from spiritual danger. (His family was just him and his wife.) I wanted to write a letter saying some strong statements to him, but decided to just enjoy memories and hope that one day, he frees his mind.

    Your case is different. Time has already passed and you are already DF'ed. You have nothing to lose by attempting some sort of contact and you could be pleasantly surprised. But if not, it will seal the loss of your friendship. That's pretty much where you are anyway.

  • OnTheWayOut
    I don't want to turn my back on him unless and until he makes it clear that he wants nothing more to do with me.

    You have a start there. "I won't turn my back .... until you make it clear that you are ready to have nothing more to do with me." I would write him as he cannot hang up or walk out. If he ever was the friend you are sure he was, he will at least read it.

  • Velour

    Hi Quendi

    So sorry you're in such a tough spot. I would say because your friend hasn't responded to your previous attempts, do not push too much. I certainly think it's ok to continue to send emails and letters and even a phone chat, we certainly want to make it clear that we want them in our lives and are always open to that, but to arrange meet ups and push association may not sit so well with someone who's still in and dangling as far as his emotional and thinking well-being goes. Especially with the recent convention labeling even "inactive" people as "bad association"- with your status you could scare him off. And the WT article labeling us as "mentally diseased"- and we're contagious!- I fear that if you push right now for more contact he could run the other way with all this fresh WT propaganda on his mind.

    I would recommend that you keep it gentle right now. You'll probably have better results if you give him a steady calm stream of communication instead of putting him in a 'choose bad association or Jehovah' situation.

    Whatever you choose to do, I hope all goes well and smoothly for you ^_^

  • sinis

    Try calling him, maybe he is embarassed to call you. Feel the conversation out, don't push anything. In the end you must realize one thing, you probably will not remain friends and you should think about finding new friends who don't carry the heavy baggage associated with JW's...

  • SafeAtHome

    Quendi, With your obvious writing skill, I recommend you compose a letter as heartfelt as the one you have presented here. He will be more likely to read it through, perhaps, than listening to a phone conversation initiated by you. Your mutual friend assured you that he still has strong feelings about your friendship. That is a hopeful sign, that the JW mindset hasn't completely poisoned him against you. Perhaps in the letter you could talk about some of the old times when your friendship was strong.

    You say he "is suffering many things". Typically JW's do not reach out to those suffering physically or emotionally (I have personal experience on both counts to back this up). Rather, their solution to everything is be more active in the service so you won't have time to think about your problems. If this suffering is mental or emotional, contacting you may add guilt on top of what he is already dealing with and the fear of being found out communicating with a DF'ed one may be too much to add to his situation right now. But a kindly worded letter from you, offering any physical assistance and unconditional friendship, well, maybe he will see what a contrast that is to what the JW's have to offer.

    Make sure he has your email address, it may be easier for him to make initial contact that way than to pick up a phone. If you do this, I think you will have done all you reasonably can do without making him feel cornered. The next step will be his, if he chooses to take it.

  • Quendi

    I want to thank all of you for the comments and advice. Here is what I have decided to do.

    A third party who is a Witness my friend knows will contact him. I have an old phone number that i hope is still valid. I have given that number to the contact. This contact is someone my friend likes and trusts, but they have not talked to each other in a long time. I am hoping that getting a phone call will induce my friend to open up. My contact will ask my friend for his current address, saying he wants it to stay in touch. He will also talk about me and the friendship we had. In that way he can discern if additional contact by me would be wise.

    If it is, then I will take the advice several of you have offered and send him a letter which I have already drafted. I open by saying how much I miss him and what a great friendship we had, a friendship first made thirty years ago. But then I will tell him that I am still disfellowshipped and won't be returning. I believe I should do this so that there is no chance of a misunderstanding on either side. I am out, and have no intention of ever returning. I give him a brief outline of the reasons I won't come back, simply stating that by reading the Society's old publications that are online I have concluded that it never was appointed the "faithful and discreet slave" in 1919 or any year thereafter. I then say that the Society's actions against dissidents who have pointed out errors in its chronology also convinced me that it was not divinely supported.

    After that, I remind him of all the good things we have done together and shared during our long friendship. I then tell him how we can stay in touch via phone, snail mail, or e-mail--if he so desires this. I conclude by saying that my love for him is strong and without fear and I hope he will be able to think about what I have said and throw fear outside as 1 John 4:18 urges us. I will only send the letter if I get an indication that he will at lesat read it.

    That's where matters stand now. I'll keep you all "in the loop" with respect to the outcome. Thanks once again to all of you for your concern, thoughts, and counsel.


  • Sulla

    Good luck, Quendi. You will need it. There is no such thing as a friend who is a JW, and I fear you will discover that soon. I hope I am wrong.

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