Ending a Friendship Pt. 1
For many of you the details won’t matter, and that’s okay. For some of you, you may want to know what causes a friendship of twenty years to be over. If that is you, then I am going to tell it from my perspective (there’s always the other), what has caused a twenty year friendship to be over.
As many of you may know, I work for a direct sales company. During my time I helped Susan get started by paying for her business package. I had noticed some very sad and difficult post on her social media and because of how much I loved her, I knew that it would be better to give her a way to make continuous income rather than loaning her money. Well, Susan began her business and was a fucking rockstar at it! As with all businesses, she hit a lull and panicked.
Susan’s panic became a spiral of self-deprecation of how she wasn’t successful, that people didn’t like her, she clearly didn’t know what she was doing, and that her business was failing. During a phone conversation about why she was upset she told me that she didn’t feel successful, because at the moment, she wasn’t earning the team incentives like she had before. In an attempt to calm her fears, I explained that all businesses have fluctuations and this would be just a short time for her. Susan again expressed her lack of success because of not earning team incentives. In our conversation I stated that it was crazy that she didn’t feel successful! I walked her through all the things she had accomplished, from team incentives, paying cash for small home repairs without worry, to keeping food on the table for her family of six. I expressed how very successful she had been and that these were all the things she set out to do, and that taking a look at how she defined success would help her see it.
Susan stated that she did not want to talk about it and that she needed to go, because she was not crazy. Our one hour conversation was condensed down to one statement, where I said that “it was crazy that she didn’t feel successful.” She stated that she was not crazy and didn’t need me to tell her that she was. Susan again said she needed to go and had no time to deal with this.
In the weeks that followed, Susan would not return my calls or text messages. I left voicemails apologizing for her hurting her feelings, expressing my love for her, and that we should talk. There was no response, for two months. When she finally messaged back she stated that she just wanted to move and didn’t need to “rehash” things. I told her that I would love to move on, but I needed to talk to her so she could explain to me what I did to hurt her feelings. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make the same mistake. There was no response. Thanksgiving had passed, and I sent my usual Happy Thanksgiving text. No response, but the read receipt showed it had been read. My birthday, just before Christmas, came and went without her usual birthday wishes, not even on social media. Christmas came around and again, I sent my Merry Christmas text. No response, but again, the message was read. No matter the holiday and how busy we were, we ALWAYS sent each other messages us well wishes. So New Years came around, and another message was sent. The message had been read. Susan finally responded four hours later and said she had time to talk on the phone. Upon calling Susan said that she didn’t have time to go over what had happened, because she needed to get the house ready for her friends for a New Years party. I said that was fine and that I would love to chat a few days after New Years. I called, I texted, they were read and never another response. So I stopped trying.
How I Felt and Why It Matters
In the end, and after months of trying to understand what had happened and how I played a part I realized one thing, Susan and I were not friends. In the many months of attempting to understand what I had done, in wanting to apologize and move forward, and wanting to learn how I can be a better friend to her; I was not important enough to Susan to keep our friendship.
If I am making the effort to make things right, if you cannot return a simple text during the season of cheer, love, friends and family, if you cannot even wish your “best friend” of twenty years happy birthday and merry Christmas, then are we really friends? Even the shittiest of families can put it away for a day to be together! Trust me, I know, because that was my family. No matter how big the family feud had been, they all showed up on those important holidays.
I finally realized it was over when sSusan said she couldn’t talk because she needed to get thing ready for her friends that were coming over for New Years. The way she said it was telling, but the most telling thing was what was not said. To cherish a twenty year friendship, I would have put those things on hold and talked for two hours if I had too, because she was that important to me. If it took all damn day, and the house was a wreck when my guests had arrived, I would have talked to her. But I wasn’t that important to her, and it broke my heart to realize it. The most blinding fact was that the never returned phone call after New Years told me I was right. That was two years ago.
In all that had happened, I realized that our friendship was very one sided. My feelings didn’t matter, my loyalties through twenties and some of her most shittiest behavior ever, didn’t matter, my needs did not matter. I did not matter. It’s funny how the lack of a person in your life can allow you to see the truth that you hadn’t seen before, or maybe you had, but were still holding on to a relationship you had in the past.
This July I received a message from Susan asking us to put the past behind us and to move forward, because she missed her best friend. Her message was sent via text and again in DM. It took me two days to open her message, because after trying so hard, and mourning a friendship, I really needed to take a moment to know if renewing our friendship was something I wanted. The truth was I did miss her, but I still needed communication in our friendship.
I finally responded and expressed that I missed her and thought about her quite frequently. I then expressed that if we were going to move forward that we needed to talk so I could understand what happened. We both had hurt each other and we should talk so we know how to be the friends that each us deserved. The message was read, and again, no response.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE
Two days ago, I received another message from Susan. Three. Months. Later! Susan’s text message was a short rundown of the major and dramatic events that had recently happened to her, and short few sort blurbs about how she missed me, and hoped I called or texted. Nothing more.
I have taken a few days to consider how I feel, and if moving forward in a friendship with her is what I want for my life. The truth is, as I am writing this blog, I have NOT yet to responded, because I need to take the time to decide what I need for my life when it comes to my friendships. After much consideration it is not the kind of friendship I want for my life, nor is the it the kind of friendship deserve.
Why I Need To Say Goodbye
This year at a Pure Romance conference we had the pleasure to have Andrea Owens as a guest speaker. If you do not know who she is, I highly suggest you Google her, follow her blog, podcast, and read a few of her books. In following Andrea and working on my own personal develop, I have learned so, so, so much about myself. So here is why I need to say goodbye.
I have learned that I deserve a mutual friendship. A friendship that I am as important to them as they are to me. I understand that we all express appreciation and love in different ways, but in my friendships, communication is key. I grew up in a home that didn’t express our feelings because we needed to be strong. I have worked so very hard to create a home that is different from that. A home in which expressing feelings are a crucial part to being human and to love each other.
In creating this type of home, I have found friendships that do the same. The truth is, in my personal growth I respect and appreciate how others feel and how they view the world. I appreciate that every perspective is different, and it is communication that allows for a very intimate and loving relationships. The kind that you will have has little old people. In friendships like that we communicate the sad stuff, the happy stuff, and the hard stuff. The hard stuff that will undoubtedly hurt their feelings, and despite that we say it anyway. The friendships that I want and will continue to find are the ones, in spite of hurt feelings, continue. In those hurt feelings there is communication for better understanding, even if it is an agree to disagree situation, but all things have put on the table.
I have changed as a person and so have my expectations for how I treat others, how they treat me, and they kinds of people I want in my life. The sad fact is, that she no longer fits into my life as the person I am now and who I am continuing to be.
It Is Not Her Fault
You would think that after twenty years we would have a friendship like that. That we had both earned and built the trust needed to tell each other anything, no matter how painful. However, our friendship is not what I had thought it was, and that is okay.
With no fault to her, she is just not in the place to be the friend that I need, and this okay, too. I cannot fault Susan for not growing in the same ways that I have. While I believe that personal growth is a choice, I also believe that you have to be ready for it. To be ready for personal growth you have to be willing look into a mirror, look at your flaws, positive qualities, and to be honest with yourself. Part of all of that is to know what and who you want in your life, and then to go after it without explanation.
Susan’s inability to discuss our conflict and her feeling about it places me back in a space that I have grown past and do not want to be in again. Maybe one day Susan will grow on her own journey, and her growth may once again place us in each other’s lives. Until that happens, I will be responding to Susan and tell her my truth.
People Pleasing Ways and Hurt Feelings
Another reason I have put this off, is because I know that this is where our friendship ends for now. Knowing that I will be closing the door for the moment may hurt Susan’s feelings. In knowing that, I am battling my inner people pleaser (again follow Andrea). I don’t want to hurt her feelings and I know that to some, or many, I will be the bad guy. I have been putting this off because I know the hard time she is in and I know that I could be a support for her. I want to be that person for her, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.
However, I know that it is something I cannot do if I want to continue moving forward in my own life. I have been very selective of the people I have allowed in my life, which means some of my family members are not included. They are not going in the same direction and no where near a similar path. That is okay for them if that is what they are happy with, however I am not. While I love Susan and will never forget the good times we had and the hard times we shared, I can no longer be her friend. I need to do what is best for me.
After this blog post I will sit and draft my response and goodbye to her. I won’t call Susan, because I do not want it to become a fight or negotiation. Besides, my writing always better expresses what I feel, far better than anything I could say. Considering past results, I don’t expect a response from Susan anyway, but I will have been honest.
And that is okay.
Thank you for spillin it with me,