One of the most painful lessons I am learning as an adult is that there will be friendship breakups.
Most breakups that we see sung about or capitalized on are romantic breakups. Songs about dashed dreams and forgotten romance.
We don’t see a lot of talk around breaking up with a friend. Someone you have loved and given your life to and your life stories to for years. Maybe they come as shocks because we think friends are for forever.
I had a painful friendship breakup early this year.
We were those sort of friends who spoke literally all day about everything. She got me. I got her. We disagreed on a few things as any individuals would. But we generally had a good run. We showed up for each other. There was tough love. There were arguments quickly resolved to grow a stronger relationship.
I loved having this girl in my life. Good conversation, a safe landing place to share dreams and growth plans. And definitely to share memes with. What’s a good friendship without its share of memes?
We analysed the men we went on dates with. Sometimes when you are smitten, it’s hard to be objective. So we slowly turned each others’ faces to the light of bad choices.
Then late last year, there was a crack I couldn’t fix. My friend had a situation and I strongly thought, and told her, how to handle it. I felt she was doing it all wrong and making the wrong choices.
Looking back, I really don’t feel I’d have been anything worth being called a friend if I didn’t ask her to consider other options.
But she felt I was being ignorant and not seeing the whole picture.
So we hashed that one instance out. Then another fork in the road came. She was in a transition period of her life.
And this is a friend who I was used to being lovingly honest with. Honest enough to tell, hey, I see what you are trying to accomplish, but maybe try option X. It might get you better results. We however, were cross communicating. We could not seem to agree on anything. She felt that anything I said was spiteful. And I felt she was deliberately self sabotaging her life. She felt I was being condescending cos my life had seemingly more stable prospects. And I felt she was making fear based decisions.
There was a lot of back and forth on our disagreements. She was always one of the most communicative people. And it helped in that I always knew where I stood with her. But this time round, she shut me out. There is something incredibly lonely about being shut out by someone you are intimate with. Especially when they will not admit it, and fail to try to meet you halfway. And it hurts badly to be at that place of almost making up.
So she did what any self respecting person would do. She explained how I hurt her and how my attempts to fix it hurt her even more.
I have usually been wired to find solutions instead of dealing with the emotional feelings of things first. And I’d completely gone into her situation with a fix-it mindset.
Suffice to say, she let me go. And I was hurt. I’d be smack in the middle of the day and want to text her to tell her about some random thing. Then I’d remember we hadn’t talked in a week. Then it was a month then two. Now it’s been seven months. Seven mute months apart from someone I talked to almost daily for two years.
I am learning to let relationships go when the season is over
And that I cannot force someone to stay, especially when they are sure I keep hurting them
And I am also learning that I don’t get to decide whether I am hurting someone. If someone tells me I hurt them, then they are correct since they are the ones with the feelings.
However, to also try and have a clean conscience about my interactions.
To be kind. To be honest. To tell the truth with love. To hug those people I love when I have them and to be my best self for them.