Monday, April 16, 2007

Sometimes, a friendship is really over

Deirdre: I have a quandary. I used to be close friends with a woman I'd known since childhood. A few years ago, we had a falling out and stopped speaking to each other. Now my grandmother, who lives in the same town as this woman, is telling me I need to rekindle the friendship. She sees my ex-friend and thinks she doesn't look happy. She thinks I should take the first step.
Alisha: And, you're not wanting to heed your grandmother's advice, huh?
Deirdre: No. First of all, she doesn't know the whole story between us. Second, it's like I'd be trying to make up because I felt sorry for my ex-friend, and I think that's an insulting thing to do. Third, sometimes, friendships just ... end.
Alisha: Your final point is right on the money. Sometimes friendships just end -- especially if this friendship you're talking about concluded in a never-talk-again argument. So what if this woman called you up and wanted to be friends again? Would your thoughts change?
Deirdre: Actually, I think she kinda did. Out of the blue, she sent me an e-mail. It was one of those jokes or "beware, this might happen to you!!" things that people forward. She included me on a list of people she forwarded it to. Does that count as a first move?
Alisha: Mmmm. Maybe for some people but I don't think so. If it was, it was more so her opening the door, yet wanting you to take action. Can you sleep at night knowing she's no longer in your life? I say if you can, then you should leave things as they are.
Deirdre: I sleep just fine. When our friendship ended, we were to the point where we were toxic to each other. Why would I want to subject myself to that again? But all my grandma sees is a person who seems miserable and she wants me to make it better. But she's not thinking about what it would do to ME.
Alisha: Would you be open to calling up your friend one time to ask how things are going and then end it there? That way you've reached out to this woman but haven't really tried to rekindle the friendship, and you make your grandma happy at the same time?
Deirdre: I don't think it's possible, or fair, to do something like that. Have you done it before?
Alisha: Well, not to please my grandmother! ... Yes, I no longer talk with my best friend from my childhood because our lives just took two very different paths. I would call her up just to chat. She would do the same thing. We both realized we're just two very different people now. And we never had a BIG blowup, and that's where your situation differs.
Deirdre: I've changed even more since the friendship ended, which is why I think calling this woman would be a mistake. My grandmother thinks friends then, friends now, friends forever. I hope I can make her understand it can't always be that way. We can talk about this, my grandma and I -- she's very cool. And gets way more dates than I do!
Alisha: I say you stand your ground, tell your grandma how you feel and leave it at that. It's not her who has to face your friend. Sometimes, we do all we can do and there just isn't anything left.
Deirdre: Or maybe, sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing.


Anonymous said...

How ironic this appears today. I just recently decided that I will no longer be friends with someone whom I've been friends with for several years. She has disappointed me with her behavior many times and I just refuse to put up with it any longer. Though I considered her one of my closest friends, it is not worth the hassle. Sometimes you just have to say goodbye to people who are not beneficial in your life.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes even good friends can drift apart. Your lives go in different directions, you try to keep in touch with them from time to time because you ARE on good terms, but it just becomes effort for nothing on both your find you don't have much to talk about past the initial "what have you been up to", and might actually dread trying to find things to talk about since it can sometimes be a challenge.

It's sad, there's no real reason for it, but people just move on for unknown reasons. But it happens to lots of people.

Anonymous said...

Moral values can be big. I lost a good friend because I decdied that buying a case a beer each weekend wasn't the path I wanted to live my life.

John said...

Two things that you don't mention... both of which are essential to friendships. Loyalty, and forgiveness.

If those two things are not a part of the friendship than what you had never was true "friendship", perhaps this was more of an "acquaintance".

Whatever else you do, I would encourage you to stop and reflect on the "blow up" that ended your friendship. Then, no matter who you feel was at fault, forgive your friend, and forgive yourself. Once you have truly done this, then step back and look at this relationship again and decide if YOU want to rekindle it. If you have truly forgiven, the answer just might surprise you!

"forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us..."

Jennifer said...

Deirdre, I agree with you. Sometimes we do lose our closest friends for no apparent reason, it just ends. But we do feel sorry about that, and want to rekindle back our old ties. We get sleepless nights and pray to God that our friends come back to light up our lives. Personally, I believe that if you break up with your friend for no reason and curse yourself for that, then it is better to patch up with your friend.

Anonymous said...

I think John makes good points. Friendships require more sacrifice than do work acquaintances that you hang out with. Real long term friendships will be able to weather disagreements and arguments. The difference between acquaintance and friend is like between dating and a monogamous relationship over 2 years. Forgiveness will be necessary. Maybe Grandma is a more forgiving person.

Anonymous said...

I see a theme here with Deirdre: this blog and the one on exes. It's always about "the past is past." If you skip from one friend to another, one ex to another, and these relationships aren't worth pursuing because they end on a bad note, maybe there's a pattern of behavior that should be examined. Being able to get over hurt feelings is a sign of maturity.

To say "I wish my exes all the best" but you wish some of them would drop off the face of the earth? Sounds insincere.

Anonymous said...

The past is the past. MOst people will not have a lifetime friend other than their spouses(hopefully). People grow apart different morals hobbies and interest and so on. I am 30 and ran into a good friend I had in high school upon talking for a few minutes I quickly realized that our lives have taken differnt paths and no interest in being friends with him once again.

It's Life

friskyy said...

My best friend and I moved to the Charlotte area within a year of each other (we originally are from Long Island). We have been friends since grade school. There have been times where we were very close, and other times when we weren't. We took all that in stride as it is part of a normal adult relationship.

On the other hand, I don't keep in close contact with any friends from my college days (lives became totally different in our mid 30's.)

Peoples lives change. Situations change. Sometimes we outgrow each other.

Anonymous said...

I agree that forgiveness is very important...however you need to be realistic if the person is toxic or is doing things that are emotionally harmful to you. Friends make mistakes, no doubt...but in the grand scheme of things that person should have your best interest in mind.

I gave up a friend of years as I watched her take jabs at others and then it turned on me...she intentinally did something that was very hurtful only apologizing when others mentioned to her how unkind it was...I was done...we are polite in public but I haven't called her to do anything in almost 5 years (we used to talk daily)...I don't regret the choice.

Anonymous said...

I have lived the same. Had to say goodbye to a friend I really really liked a lot. It hurts so much especially when we see each other. But life goes on and we shouldnt look back and continue.