Photo Credit: Steve Carter — https://unsplash.com/stvcrtr

When Someone You Know Becomes Someone You Knew.

For me, friendship and love can be fleeting.

Henry Rollins said:

It’s Sad When Someone You Know Becomes Someone You Knew.

That quote has echoed with me almost every day, since I first read it. I’ve asked myself, time and again, how I can let that happen? How can I let a person I knew so truthfully and so completely become another footnote in my back story?

I know it’s not a healthy behavior. I know it’s not a positive behavior. I know it’s something I learned once, a long time ago, and never unraveled. There are wrecks, on the road behind me. People I hurt, discarded, and left behind.

Some of these are people who I would have once called my best friends. Some are lovers. All of them, at one point, I thought I couldn’t live without. Sad to say, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been able to continue functioning, and living, and moving, when they’re long gone.

I think that’s become the hardest part about saying goodbye to anyone. Knowing that the sadness won’t last, knowing that one day, I’ll stop thinking about them, and long before that, I might stop caring.


I’ve always had a tenuous relationship with other people. When I press myself for a reason behind the way I interact with others, this is the only one I can produce.

Growing up in an Airforce family with a controlling and often abusive father, I struggled to make connections — and once made, it was difficult to maintain them.

There were physical limitations. We would move every couple of years, with Dad always chasing a better life, that he was sure would be beyond the next horizon. His quest for the new was aided by a need to keep his family isolated and reliant on him.

There were emotional limitations. With no surety that I was going to stay anywhere beyond a 6–24 month period, I grew hesitant to put down roots and call any block of land my home.

Looking back on my teen years and my early twenties now, I can see the patterns I developed as a child always repeating. I meet people, grow to love people, and it happens so quickly. But just as quickly, I let them go and move on with my life, without them.

I cut and run. And I don’t tend to look back.

But I wonder, if this isn’t natural. I analyse, and I question, and I search for the reasons behind what I do, and why I relate to people. Perhaps it’s just the way all people are, but others are better at hiding it, or blocking it than I am.

Maybe there’s no deep seated emotional issue, and I’m searching for drama to explain an inclination to use and lose those around me.


Photo Credit: Steve Carter — https://unsplash.com/stvcrtr

Whatever the reason, I know that inclination is there. And though I might try and remain conscious, and aware, I know that the danger of letting myself move on and disappear is still present.

If that happens to you, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being in your life one moment, and being gone the next. I’m sorry for the empty space I might one day leave, and the message you’ll send that will never receive a reply. I’m sorry that your letter was unopened, and your birthday came and went and I never called.

But for what it’s worth, I’m not sorry for having met you. Selfish as it is, I always learn from the people I meet, and eventually discard. I learn a little more about life, and the world around me, and myself.


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I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m passionate about writing, marketing, business and creativity. You can ask me to work with you, invite me to speak at your event, or set up a conversation on your podcast. I’m excited to hear from you!

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