Do you have one of those friends? You know, the one who expects your phone call. The one who will quickly remind you of all the times they have done something for you? That one who tells everyone that you never call but in reality they don't even remember your number?
When do you decide that it's time to let go? How do you walk away from possibly years of history, laughter and tears that were shared. It's not easy to justifiably walk away, especially if the other person doesn't believe you tried. How do you push your pride out of the way, and walk away?
Do you worry about the past secrets that were shared coming out? Do you wonder if all the silly stupid things you have done and forgotten will suddenly be remembered (and shared behind your back)?
Part of my mission to become happier means that I have to examine some of the things that I'm holding on to, and that includes people. I need to make sure that the main influences in my life are positive ones. I can honestly say there are not a lot who fall into this dark area of my life. And those that do exist there, haven't really been "here" for quite some time. I strongly suspect that some will not even notice I have done anything different.
I let go of one friendship a few years back. She had no kids, she didn't understand how I could ever be "that busy." She had a very negative outlook, from work to men and everything in between. It was hard to talk to her and after a while I was inclined to let the machine get the call. It felt awful. If I did have an opportunity to squeeze in a word, she may have had a chance to understand what my life was about.
When she told me "where to go" in her frustration one day... I went.
There is another who seems to believe that I will never understand her. My life and hers are very similar and yet have gone completely different directions. Her new friends and my new friends are nothing alike. She's consistently mad at me, or rude about me. I spent more than enough time trying to figure out what I actually did wrong.
You know what I came up with? Not much.
A few years back, she told me very bluntly that I am self-destructive. In that moment I was furious! She was supposed to be my support, my sounding-board, why would she say something like that? Well, because that's what a good friend does. They tell you when you are being stupid. They want you to be better, for you and for them. I took a hard lesson from that conversation. I learned a lot and changed a lot. I didn't stay mad over a truth I didn't want to hear, I took it to heart and trusted that she was saying it out of love for our friendship. This open discussion didn't work both ways for us, as she later rejected a hard truth I told her. She held that truth against me, even though it was one of the hardest things I've ever said out loud in my life. I'm willing to bet that she completely denies I ever spoke those words.
I think the day she called me self destructive was her version of telling me "where to go." We still talked, but not as often and after a while it slowed even more. Lately, we have not talked at all. I have called, and we can talk like it was just yesterday when we talked last, but I have called less and less over the years. And I can't honestly say the last time she called me. I don't think she has called me for years. But there I was. Sensitive, worrying, over-thinking Wendy. Trying to figure out how to bring her back.
She needs a good friend now more than ever.
We live two different lives. It hurts to lose such a long standing friendship, but it's time for me to let go. I'm not going to let myself feel guilt for not phoning anymore. I love her to pieces but this is wholly one-sided now and I'm letting go.
Just because she needs a friend, doesn't mean it has to be me.
Freeing myself from negative relationships will give me room to nurture the good ones. No longer berating myself for hurting someone, even though I don't know when or how or even IF I did; instead, I can focus on gratitude for the good friends in my life.
How can I show my kids how to maintain good friendships when I carry on unhealthy ones myself?
How do I model self esteem when I allow others to knock me down over and over again for their own personal gain?
My mom told me the same things I tell my kids, "friends like that are not friends worth having." Why did I have to wait until 32 to really learn that lesson?
As hard as it may be right now, I am officially freeing myself of the guilt of letting go. I will acknowledge the emails, messages, phone calls that have been put out there and be proud of myself for fighting so long in a losing battle. In a case like this, I am okay with admitting defeat. I will tuck away the good memories of years past before bitter feelings take over and wipe away all the fun times that were.
A true friend, a good friend, even an okay friend... will be honest with you. If they are mad, they will tell you why. If they think you need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, they will tell you. They will laugh with you, walk with you, talk with you. They will be there to cry with you too. A good friend will not spend countless hours reminding you of past favors, they will simply let it go. They will know that you are there to help if you are ever needed.
If I am trying to stop being so hard on myself,
I need to stop letting others be hard on me too.