Ending a Friendship Pt. 2
As you may have read with, When Do You Say Goodbye? P1, I decided to let go of a twenty year friendship. Not because it was overtly toxic, not because of some egregious act on part of my friend, but because I needed a different kind of friendship that she was not capable of giving. Our friendship had not evolved in the same way that I had personally evolved as an individual.
How Do You Say Goodbye?
I know that so many scowl at others when it comes out that they have broken up with someone via text. As the friends of the dumped, we may even curse the person who hurt our friend in such a shitty and cowardice way. I have been one of those friends in fact. Empowering my girlfriend by telling her how big of a mistake their ex just made and especially since they couldn’t do it, face-to-face. I now know how it feels to be on the other side.
I ended a twenty friendship via a text. As I stated in my previous blog, part one, I didn’t want negotiations and fighting. Hurt people, hurt people, and I wanted it to be a clean break. In sending it as a text message, it left room for a future where we could possibly be friends again. Considering Susan’s situation and all the years I have known her, I know she can have a lot of venom in her words.
Some may call it cowardice on my part. Some may think that I owed her the space to speak how she felt no matter how ugly the words. Some may have done it differently, and that’s okay. That will be your choice if, and when, you choose to relinquish such a friendship. Just as I had condemned those who had done it before me, I now had more empathy for the other person sending the message.
So, a text is what was sent.
What Did I Say?
I did not say some of the most mean, spiteful, and hurtful things I was thinking. That I knew of her personal situation and the only reason she was messaging was because her other friends had walked away. I did not message that I felt used and as an after thought until it was a convenience for her. I did not bring up old wrongs that I forgave and this was how I was treated. Again. I left the message a graceful as possible.
I took the time to compose the message in the notes section of my laptop. My text consisted of acknowledgement of her current situation, but the truth as to why I could not move forward with our friendship. My message told her that I was not angry with her for not being able to be the kind of friend I needed. That maybe one day when we are in different places we may be friends again, and that I hoped so. I did a few glance overs and a little editing. I then copied and pasted the message into my text app on my laptop and hit send.
Oddly enough, for a friendship that had lasted twenty plus years, it only took twenty minutes to write the goodbye for it.
How Did It Feel?
Truthfully, it felt relieving. I thought that I would have more angst. I thought it would be more painful, and that there might even be tears. I was wrong. I felt a sense of relief, freedom, and peace in sending the message.
Normally, I would be deeply conflicted over what I had done. Just as I had been conflicted about forgiving and moving forward, but I wasn’t. The relief came, because I knew that I wouldn’t need to pretend that I wasn’t still hurt about her inaction. The freedom came from honoring who I was and what I expected from my friendships, and peace came from honoring the growth I have made as an individual and being okay with being “the bad guy,” and saying goodbye.
The truth was, letting go did not have the enormity I had expected. In fact there was no emotional anguish about it. It felt like it was time, if not long overdue.
After hitting send it took Susan less than two minutes to open my message (again her read receipt was on). As I expected, there was no response on Saturday, nor has there been one. I don’t expect Susan to reach out again.
In my mind I see a day that I am visiting the town that I grew up in and we bump into one another. I envision that life has gotten better for her and we laugh just like it were old times. Where Susan will tell of her struggles since I had said goodbye, but that she finally understood why I did. I imagine that we each acknowledge how we wanted to reach out but didn’t know if it were the right time. From there we hug and say how good it was to see each other and that we should make plans, which we do.
That is what I imagine, but that is the problem with imagination. Sometimes the truth is no where close to what we imagine. So, I will leave our friendship in the past, and all the memories that comes with it, and instead look forward to the future.
A future that will have the friendships that I deserve and want to have in my life. Where we can love, laugh, fight, and cry, but that there is always communication and enough empathy to see it from the other person’s perspective. A friendship of mutual respect.
Thank you for spillin it with me,