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    People Are Sharing Stories About Friends Who Were Really Important, Then Just...Disappeared

    "The Polish paratrooper."

    Whether it's a childhood best friend, "that kid from high school," or a long-lost cousin, some people come into our lives for just a little while but have a big impact.

    Netflix / Via giphy.com

    And then they up and disappear!

    Redditor u/jillysue posed the question, "Of the people who are still alive but have drifted out of your life, who do you wonder about the most and why?"

    These are some of the (sometimes funny, sometimes tear-jerking) replies.

    1. "Faked-his-own-death dude."

    Northern Illinois University / Via giphy.com

    "A friend of mine was going on a canoeing trip once and never came back. A few months later, he was declared dead because he couldn't even be found by Interpol. Two years go by, and he appears in a picture on Facebook as a German teacher in a school in Kazakhstan. Apparently, only his sister was in on the fact that he just wanted to start a new life. Hope he's doing well, and wish to see him again someday!" —u/umbrella_associate

    2. "My best friend from elementary school."

    Hallmark Channel / Via giphy.com

    "He was so genuine and full of joy. I hope that growing up didn't take that part away from him." —u/sunburntdragon

    3. "Question."

    PopTV / Via giphy.com

    "His nickname was 'Question.' Kid from high school used to come sit with us at lunch. Great guy, super nice.

    "Every. Single. Thing. He. Said. Was. A. Question?

    "He would ask you about your entire day. Where you got your new shoes. Ask about your haircut. I would ask him the same questions and he wouldn't answer me, kind of stare off and almost ignore the question completely. Then he would ask you another question." —u/TheRuneCoon

    4. "Runescape user Lonewolf1039."

    RuneScape / Via giphy.com

    "Runescape user Lonewolf1039. You made my childhood amazing, bro. Countless hours playing one of my childhood favorites with an online friend. We called each other brother. If you're still out there, MK Groudon misses you, man." —u/Sarothazrom

    5. "Hoon."

    "When I was a child and living with my parents, we rented our basement to a man named Hoon. He was super nice to us and even tutored my brother and me in school. The coolest thing was that he was super into astronomy, and every so often, he set up his telescope in our backyard to look at stars and the moon and invited us to look as well. He became like family to us, and when my parents decided to tear down our house and build a new place, Hoon came along with us to live in a temporary space until the house was built, and then moved back to our new house as our tenant again. During this period, Hoon also drove my brother and me to school, as we were not living within walking distance from our temporary space. After one to two years, one day my parents said that Hoon moved back to Malaysia and we never saw him again.

    "My then-friend, who was another one of our tenants, told me that Hoon died and my parents were lying to me. I asked my parents about this, but they said that isn't true. I think my then-friend was just messing with me. I always wondered why he suddenly moved, and haven't been able to find any online presence of him." —u/chinaberrrytree

    6. "The Polish paratrooper."

    MTV / Via giphy.com

    "When I went backpacking around Southeast Asia, I went with no particular plans. I ran into a Polish paratrooper my second day there who used me to get a couple of girls to go out for drinks with him (us), since I said 'Hey' to him earlier in the day. He wasn’t going anywhere in particular, either, so we spent the next two months on the road going to five different countries. The guy was literally my brother for those two months.

    "We parted ways when I had to go to a country he couldn’t get a visa for, and it was where I was to catch my flight home. We still talked daily for a few weeks, and we were talking about starting a business; then he falls off the face of the earth. I’m positive his dad was a someone, so he didn’t talk much about certain aspects of his life. He didn’t have any social media, and he didn’t renew the domain he hosted his email on, so no way of contacting him. Even friends we met along the way frequently ask if I’ve heard from him, since they wanted to connect with him again.

    "I keep hoping one of these days we’ll run into each other at a café or something by the waterfront, having a beer, like we did traveling." —u/CharlieTuna_

    7. "The honey bun kid."

    Shaking Food GIFs / Via giphy.com

    "This kid in second grade had a crush on me and would give me a honey bun every day. I wonder where he is now and if he is still willing to give me a honey bun." —u/Concernedgeckoaunt

    8. "A kid I bullied."

    Nickelodeon / Via giphy.com

    "A kid I indirectly bullied in elementary school. I would love to say I’m sorry and see that he is okay." —u/beloski

    "I made a lot of questionable choices in my later teen years and early twenties, before I was capable of using solid judgment. I wonder about the people I unintentionally hurt, and I wonder if I should apologize a decade later. I wonder what they would feel or think if I crossed their minds. I wonder if they've forgiven me and considered giving me the benefit of the doubt, or if they'll always remember me as 'the one who did x' to them or 'didn't do y.' I feel a lot of regret and it still brings me a lot of shame, and I let it hold me back a lot." —u/ladyledylidy

    9. "Kid I knew when I was 15."

    "We weren’t close friends, but he called me up in the middle of the night once to tell me he was going to kill himself. He hung up on me and wouldn’t answer his phone after that.

    "I woke up my mom and convinced her to drive me to his house at like 3 a.m. He came out and was fine; he was just completely shocked I actually came to check on him. He was really thankful that I cared at all. His home life was pretty crummy, and he moved away to stay with his grandma soon after that. After he moved out of state, we lost touch. That was 20-plus years ago and I still wonder if his life got better. I hope he did." —u/umamifiend

    10. "My history teacher."

    PopTV / Via giphy.com

    "I had a teacher in middle school who was awesome. Great teacher, loved her subjects (history and literature), and she had the most awesome sense of humor. A couple of weeks before the end of the school year, one of her children was killed in a freak accident. I left the school at the end of that year, and she left teaching entirely to deal with her own stuff. I heard she returned to the school about three years later but was a changed person (losing a child will do that to you, I'm sure). She stayed for two years and then decided to return to the area of the country where she'd grown up, far from where I live.

    "I think about her all the time. She was a very influential teacher for me. I'd love to track her down and reach out to her, but she has a very, very common name, and when I search it along with the state where she moved, I get hundreds and hundreds of hits. She'd also probably be in her seventies by now, so she may not have any social media at all." —u/HouseRenovation

    11. "My 2 a.m. buddy."

    SoulPancake / Via giphy.com

    "My 2 a.m. walking buddy/protector from college. After a crappy relationship ended, I had a more-than-yearlong bout with insomnia. Living on campus, by 2 a.m. I'd just be itching to get out of my dorm room and walk off some energy. I'd walk around campus in the dark, by myself, from about 2 to 4 a.m. every night, just way up in my own head.

    "One night, this guy I didn't know, but who I'd walk past at the smoking area every night, asked if he could walk with me, since he was bored, couldn't sleep, and figured he might as well walk while he smoked. We fell into an easy, nonchalant rhythm with each other, and we walked together every night thereafter until I started sleeping again. We were buds, but only between 2 and 4 a.m. We kept things light and chatted about media, books, and classes mostly. Sometimes we'd just walk silently for long stretches, and it never felt weird. He was a cool guy who in hindsight was probably just trying to make sure this nutty girl who walked by him every night wasn't going to get assaulted alone in the dark. I was so self-obsessed at that point that none of this occurred to me. I think about him now and again, and I really hope he's had a great life!" —u/outoffocusstars

    12. "My rejected crush."

    Fox / Via giphy.com

    "When I was a kid, I was really good friends with this guy, and when I found out he liked me, I was rude to him. He stopped being friends with me after that. Regret it a lot. I wish I rejected him nicely, but I was so mean for no reason. He wasn't pushy or weird about liking me; he was super respectful, and he didn't deserve my reaction whatsoever. He and his family moved away shortly after, and I never heard anything about him since. He pops up in my mind a lot and I wonder how he is doing now, and I really hope he is doing okay. Wish I could say sorry." —u/Fissshhhsticks

    13. "The girl who hit me with her car."

    "I often wonder what happened to the girl who hit me with her car that icy night and took my leg. It's been over 25 years now, and I don't hold any animosity toward her (never did; it was just an accident). I hope she went on to have a good life. Mine has had its ups and downs, but I'm in the best place I've ever been now. I'd just like to have the chance to reassure her that I'm doing fine. —u/Flea_Biscuit

    14. "My first boyfriend."

    P!NK / Via giphy.com

    "My first 'boyfriend' in high school. I think we dated for all of three months, but he was the first dude who really treated me gently, like I was something precious to be cared for. He would rub my back between classes, send me lyrics he said made him think of me, small things like that. However, his home life was awful and he was into drugs — mostly weed, but I think he got into more hardcore things as time went on. I was rather naive about drugs, and once he realized this, he ghosted me. Not out of not wanting to be with me, but because he realized that he didn't want to drag me into that life. It really fucking hurt at the time, but a few years later, we reconnected online and we talked, and it was nice. He said he was going to Memphis to play music. That was the last message I ever got from him, and I haven't seen him online since.

    "I know there's a strong, strong likelihood that he didn't make it. Nine other classmates have died from overdoses. He was higher risk than most. But when I think of him, I hope he made it to Memphis, and I hope he's happy." —u/SaltSuspect

    15. "Ex-girlfriend."

    Lifetime / Via giphy.com

    "It’s my ex from several years back. She was the only soul on the planet I ever considered asking for their hand in marriage. She broke up with me the day I had planned to propose to focus on her career.

    "I heard she’s married and has children now, which makes me really happy to know she achieved all her hopes and dreams we once talked about. Even though I don’t really 'feel' anything for her anymore, I still wonder about how she’s doing from time to time. But it’s better that we never interact or speak again. That chapter is long over." —u/Reaper-Phantom

    "We dated in high school, and it was cute but going nowhere. Then, as adults, we ran into each other again. The love and fun times were authentic, and we both were better people with each other. I knew our love couldn't work because we both wanted two entirely different things out of life. It was a case of being too opposite to attract.

    "There was a song I used to sing with her, and a lyric in it goes, 'Even though I haven't seen you in years, yours is the funeral I'd fly to from anywhere.' It still stands true." —u/evanjw90

    16. "My old high school crushes."

    NBC / Via giphy.com

    "If I weren't so insecure, we could've been good friends, but c’est la vie!" —u/SomeRando18

    17. "Jay Walker."

    Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

    "In high school, a kid showed up to our youth group, brought in by one of the families who attended church. He used the name 'Jay Walker,' and he lit up every room he ever walked into. He never met a person he didn’t like and who didn’t like him.

    "My church leaders saw me getting close to him and warned me that he was trouble. He never seemed like trouble to me. He respected me, saw me for who I was, and valued the things I had to say. Never asked for anything in return. I felt like we had a connection, and it felt like the purest form of love. It seems so insignificant at face value, but I remember being downtown walking around and sharing our aspirations and dreams with each other. We talked about driving across the country in a Nissan 300ZX.

    "He stuck around for a few months before we found out he had to go back to whatever state he was from. I was close to the family that initially took him in, and even though I tried to find out what happened to him after he left, they wouldn’t tell me anything except that his grandmother was looking for him.

    "I work in child welfare now, and I wonder if maybe he ran away from a foster home or relative and was part of the foster system, and that’s the trouble my church was talking about. There’s so much I never knew about him, and so much I feel we shared in such a short amount of time. I hope he’s okay and that he got to seek out some of the things he always wanted to do. I hope he’s happy." —u/useless_potatoes

    18. "My cussword friend."

    beckadoodles / Via giphy.com

    "I wonder about my friend from elementary school who taught me all the cusswords. We tried to come up with one for each letter of the alphabet." —u/gump145

    19. "Dude on the subway."

    Slick Rick / Via giphy.com

    "He had a Chihuahua, and he was feeding it lasagna with a chopstick. Wonder what he's doing now and how the dog's doing." —u/Throwawaypjzzz2

    20. "Loner Eddie."

    "In high school, I somehow won the trust of a loner named Eddie. He revealed that he could do spot-on impersonations of all kinds of celebrities. Before the morning bell, he'd reenact a scene from a TV show or movie he'd watched the night before and do all the characters. I have no idea where the guy went after we graduated." —u/p38-lightning

    21. "Bri-Bri!"

    AOL / Via giphy.com

    "It was the early 2000s, I was in high school, and the internet was just becoming a huge thing. YouTube and Facebook didn't exist; neither did Facebook's predecessor, Myspace. If you were online chatting with random strangers, it was within a 'public chat' on Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, or MSN Instant Messenger...you were limited to sending links, and the only thing separating you from the rest of the speed typists was your ability to change the color and size of your font. 'A/S/L??' was asked every 30 seconds, along with PMs (private messages, which are somehow different from DMs now, but I have no idea why), if you dared to answer, and keeping up with conversations could easily become confusing if more than a handful of people were speaking back and forth regularly.

    "I met a handful of people looking for a graphic designer to create backgrounds for a 'visual based chat'; think 'the Palace,' for those of you old enough to remember. Anyway, the handful of us became pretty consistent online buddies as we attempted to create our own visual-based chat; all of us were teenagers, only a few years apart. Online-only chatting turned into webcam laugh-alongs, turned into random phone calls and texts (this was a big deal because texting was new at the time, and you had to pay per text), turned into planning to meet each other in real life.

    "I became the closest to a guy named Brian; he and I would talk just about every day, whether it was a phone call or a five-minute chat online. I considered him my best friend at the time. He lived in Canada, so calling and texting him was even more of an investment in our friendship than the other two I kept in contact with (when our project inevitably fizzled). I can't even tell you how much allowance and after-school paychecks went toward calling cards to Canada.

    "Brian explained to me that he felt the most comfortable with online friendships because he had a touch of social anxiety. I totally understood, and I never really pushed him specifically to meet up. We'd joke about it — I'd tease that I'd show up in his hometown one day and wander around for a week until I found him — but it was never a serious discussion and I never pressured him to meet. I enjoyed having someone in my life who I had so much in common with, but the distance kept it intriguing, and there was never any pressure to go out and do something. We even had 'movie nights' and would spend damn near half an hour trying to get our movies synced up by pressing play at just the right moment so we could watch the movie together on the phone.

    "Then he just kind of...disappeared. The last text message I have from him was in 2012; after 12 years of making and maintaining a friendship, he was gone. I've called, texted, sent emails to every email I've ever had for him...nothing. His Facebook is gone, his Myspace is gone... I'm starting to wonder if he even existed, except that I have 'Happy birthday' voicemails and hundreds of texts that I've saved. The realist in me is thinking 'Brian' might not have existed, and the person playing him got bored or moved on, but the optimist in me hopes he'll see my comment in here and know who I am and reach back out. I have so many things I want to catch up on.

    "I love and miss you, Bri-Bri! Wherever you are..." —u/l34u05

    22. "The people I deployed with."

    memecandy / Via giphy.com

    "Has to be the numerous people I deployed with. You get to be so close over there, then you get back and you may or may not be in the same unit still, but chances are pretty high you have nothing in actual common except the military. You relegate your relationship to head nods in passing, then one of you goes onto another unit or gets out of the military, and that is the end of it. You never see or talk to each other again.

    "It's pretty crazy when I think back about it. I was in route clearance and spent 10 hours a day with a guy, talking constantly about anything and everything and being through some shit together, but I have literally no clue what he is doing today. I didn't know what he was up to a month after getting back." —u/jscott18597

    23. "Middle school art teacher."

    Disney Studios / Via giphy.com

    "As crazy as it sounds, he really did have an effect on my life. He was kind of my getaway from the horrible shit I went through in middle school, and was the one who went against the rest of the staff and broke the whole 'Keep the (assumed) lesbian child in confinement,' despite the risk of losing his job over it. He was very bubbly and often made me laugh at times when I wanted to cry. He taught me many artsy things that actually became useful to me (even to this day). He even broke the teacher professionalism and almost became fatherly toward me.

    "We drifted apart after I went to high school (thank god the hell I went through in middle school stayed there), as he transferred schools after my freshman year. I really wonder where he is now and sometimes wish I could meet him again. If I ever do cross paths with him again, I would hope for an opportunity to let him know how much he impacted my life and how he really was the strength I needed at the time." —u/SillyBlackSheep

    24. "The people I used with."

    "I'm a recovering addict, and most of the people were degenerates, but some I know could be great members of society if they could get clean. I often wonder what they are doing right now; probably not good things, but I bet some turned their lives around, and it would be cool to catch up." —u/WakednBaked

    25. "Real-life Bart Simpson."

    Fox / Via giphy.com

    "I was friends with this kid in eighth grade. He was a very wild kid, a troublemaker who caused pranks like getting a pen stuck in the ceiling, and was also not a very good student. Many kids hated him and would argue with him during class. He also had anger problems, I think. He was pretty fun to talk to, honestly. Then he moved to another town and I never saw him again." —u/icysnow33

    26. "My mother."

    "Occasionally I wonder about her. Is she still drinking? Is she taking care of herself? Does she think of me and the kids she will never see? It hurts, man, but you gotta process the grief of a living 'dead' family member one day at a time." —u/Ninannunaki

    27. "The boy at the beach."

    Living Stills / Via giphy.com

    "There was a lake town north of where I lived, and my grandfather owned a cabin there, which we used. One summer we were there, and I made friends with a boy at the beach. We built many sandcastles together. We ate lunch together. I loved making water roads from where I sat, dumping buckets of water at the top and watching it race down back toward the lake.

    "This boy was a lot of fun, but he couldn't walk. So I would run back and forth with the bucket so he could dump the water into the water road. I asked if we could go on the boat. His mom helped me get him into the boat, and I pulled him around in the water. I kept trying to go a little deeper because the super-shallow water was full of slimy, gross, lake-plant stuff — but every time I did, my mom would yell at me to come back to the shallows. I remember her finally telling me, in a very terse voice, that if the boat tipped over, my new little friend couldn't stand or swim and he would be in very serious trouble. We promised to meet at the same spot the next day, and played more.

    "Years later, my mom reflected back on it with me. She still worries about how I could have tipped the boat by accident and killed the boy...but she never forgot the joy his mom had watching us play together.

    "So, him. I wonder where he is now, if he remembers me at all — sandcastle, digging holes in the sand, the water road game, going out onto the lake. I wonder what his life is like now. I wish I could remember his name, even." —u/autumn_skies

    You can never predict who's gonna take a hard left and disappear right outta your life. Share your stories in the comments (and, better yet, whether one of these "missing people" is YOU)!

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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