Here are some things I have learned about friendship:
Friendship breakups are real. They are painful and they are a loss and they are real. The realization that I have recently come to face is that friendships aren’t all that different from any other type of relationship you might have.. romantic or not. You make a connection with a person, you decide that person is someone you want in your life, and you spend time with that person. Along with an increased bond to a human comes the good and the bad. Laughter, inside jokes, memories.. jealousy, the pain of attachment, and sometimes toxic patterns.
I have been a bad friend in the past. I have taken on the roll of energy sucker and become so self centered in my actions, I lost sight of what kind of toll that could take on a person. Let alone a person I call friend. I was reflecting on the old friendship I had with one being in particular and didn’t like the way I was feeling about it. I didn’t like the guilt in my heart for not being the person I would be had I been their friend today, and not back then. We had broken up by simply fizzling out of each others life until it was rare and then not at all. So, having not spoken in a long time, I sent her a long message about my feelings and apologizing for my shortcomings in our past friendship. I never got a response, and that’s ok. I said what I needed to to try to make it known that I was aware of my part in the downfall of the friendship and I also healed my path to a situation that could have held guilt in my heart for years to come.
I have also been a good friend to people who didn’t or couldn’t give back in a way that I needed. I have taken on the roll of helper/fixer and allowed toxic patterns to form that made me feel exhausted and spent from a continuous cycle of building the other up or even feeding their ego. In this circumstance, the chat wasn’t an apology letter, but rather a well thought out reason to end the relationship at that point in time. A real “it’s time to break up” moment. It was not received well and that’s ok, too.
The reason I give these two different examples and tell you that the not so perfect endings are ok, is because it isn’t how the other person reacts that matters. If you get anything from this, that very statement is what’s important for me to pass on. What matters is that you do the best you can do at each point in time of your life. Expectation will hurt you. If you want to mend a path or end a friendship with expectations that someone will act a certain way in return, you will always be disappointed. All you are responsible for is your actions and how clean your slate is. Let go of the need to be right or the need to fight back. If you feel those needs in yourself, it’s ok – you are human, just notice them, don’t judge them, and let them pass without reacting to them.
There are also situations with friends where you are going to have to work hard to understand each other and be there when the other needs you. Similarly as you would with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You are going to need to make an effort to understand the way a friend handles situations different than you and figure out how to still be there for them in a way that works. Your gut will tell you which friends to fight for and which to let go.
Then sometimes, you will meet people and they will become great friends fast and easily and you know they will be there for a lifetime. It will flow and it will inspire you and encourage you to grow. Keep those.
I am going through all of this at once and learning as I go. If you have any stories, advice, or words to offer – this is an open space for you to do so. If you want to know more about my stories or process in this subject, feel free to ask and I will answer. This is a trusted community here and you are safe.