Almost two months ago, I let go of a friend that had been in my life for about four years. At the risk of getting into too many details, I’ll just say that something happened that didn’t feel right.
It actually felt really wrong; it was a small instance, but it was one that made me think back over the course of our friendship and, the more I thought about it, the more of these types of instances I could remember.
And don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun times over the years; those times are the ones I’m really going to miss. But the negative instances, no matter how little, were piling up and I snapped. In that moment, a moment that consisted of a very bossy, condescending order, I realized how much I’d been walking on eggshells over the course of our friendship.
I never wanted to make her mad, despite never quite understanding what would piss her off – it was a catch 22. All in all, especially in that moment, I felt she was too cool for this world, so cool that I wondered why she ever gave me the time of day when we met years ago.
After all, I’m admittedly a nerd, a baller on a (very tight) budget, lover of all things tacky and sparkly, a believer in true equality, a religion of kindness, seeker of love, searching for the road where passion meets paycheck, and attempting to OD on laughter as a cure for all things.
This was not her, and that’s okay, but why bother?
Truth is, I’ve been walking on eggshells since I took my first steps. I never ever wanted to piss my dad off; and it was very difficult to discover the methods to his triggers – they changed daily. Sometimes, it was an unorganized closet, once it was me slipping on fresh blacktop, sometimes subpar grades, though he was never upset over my college nose piercing.
I’ve dated men who’ve supported my balancing act; never wanting to disappoint a man or deny him, even if it meant putting my health into risk to avoid getting dumped. The very few times I have stood up for myself, I’ve ended up with wine stains on my white wool coat, bruises below my waise, and so many tears.
It is quite possibly the reason I have so few close friends, hardly bother with acquaintances, and have grown very comfortable in my life as a single person over the last few years. But slowly, I am learning how to stand up for myself, and for the things I believe in, even if that means standing alone.
And so, after this instance with my friend, I took some time to cool off, and think. What were the possible outcomes? Yes, I could tell her that my feelings were hurt and I was feeling confused about how our friendship took this turn. But, I didn’t really feel it took a turn – it had a routine; she held the power, I passively obeyed…until I didn’t.
So, I admittedly took the passive route, and simply haven’t spoken to her in the time since. Our weekly calls stopped; I mailed her some things she let me borrow (we live a decent ways away), and I don’t want to sit here and say it will never be, but it just can’t, at least right now.
Truthfully, I’ve never had to break up with a friend. I’ve had a friend dump me, but we had a pretty nasty argument and she simply told me she was done. And that was that.
But I’ve never done it, and I still wonder the proper way. My mom suggested a hand-written letter, which seemed about as comical as a pigeon-carrier.
I was listening to a podcast several weeks ago that talked about a similar topic, and the host suggested that the most respectful way to do it, is to tell the person the problem, not with the solution of fixing the friendship, but at the very least, letting the person know the issue so it doesn’t happen to them again.
And I do think this is a fair way to go. I admittedly am terrified of confrontation, and I truly felt like the power structure of our friendship was ingrained in her personality. Telling her it didn’t work for me was the same as saying she didn’t work for me.
In fact, a mutual friend of ours told me that this is just the sort of thing that happens with her – she has friends and they eventually disappear. My guess is that yes, they disappear when they start weighing the pros and cons, and then they slowly walk away.
I’m not saying it’s okay; it’s still something I struggle with, and I sometimes do miss our laughter, and I miss all of the people I met because of her.
But I had to take this one for the team. Even if the team is just me. And Blanche.