Friendships are a lovely and delicate creature. The experiences we all have with friends live on in our brains until the end of our days, and is something to cherish. We’re all enthusiastically trudging through a meadow of wildflowers now, you the reader, and I, and my sister Joanie is calling after us telling us we’re “crazy” and “idiots” and “give me that twenty dollars you owe me”. She’s just crazy, ahem. We’re arm in arm singing about the glories of friendship. Little do we know, we’ve stomped on a family of mice, and old Mother Mouse is recently divorced and now you’ve killed all of her children.
I suppose what I’m getting at is some friendships are not so rosy as they appear. As you merrily adventure along with the other person in your friendship, you begin to see them as they truly are. Sometimes this only adds to your love for them, but sometimes being around this person starts to turn your own life into a stressful jumble of emotional turmoil and you just want to scream at everyone around you and cry until your tear ducts dry up and pop out.
I had an unfortunate experience where this exact situation arose. I went along with a friend I had known since I met my husband almost ten years ago. That friend and I slowly became good friends, and we began to hang out more frequently. As we talked more and more about ourselves, I started noticing a trend with said friend.
- Everything my friend talked about was negative
- This person would trash other people, people considered to be this person’s friends, in our conversations and say intimate details about them
- I began to doubt the trust I thought was there, because if my friend talked so much about other people, what then would keep this person from telling my secrets to others?
My darkest fears were realized when I learned from an unexpected source that this person had told a rumor about me concerning one of my husband’s best friends. An inappropriate act had supposedly transpired- okay you get it. Now, being a sane person, I decided to think about the situation. Big mistake. I said to myself, “Okay, so my friend said this about me. Okay, what would make this person say that? Did I ever allude to anything of that nature?” Deep in my very heart of hearts, I knew I had not and this rumor was founded on absolutely bupkus.
Thus began my boiling, seething anger. Hah, no that’s a lie. I cried my eyes out that very night, like a little baby girl, wondering and wondering why a friend would say something like that. Then, after my girlish weeping had subsided and I finally let my cat run away from my arms, who I had elected to hold while the sobbing commenced (he’s such a sweetie, flailing and mewing to distract me from my pain), I phrased the correct phrasery: “A friend would not say something like that”, and I made plans to end things with this person.
I was emotional, and I could not even talk to my spouse without almost crying, so I knew I would not be able to end things with my friend the way I needed to. I wanted to be strong and say what I needed to say (the John Mayer song entered my head several times during this event). So I wrote a letter. The items in the bulleted list above made it into my letter, but I left out the part about the rumor. As I drove to this person’s house, I began feeling ill. I almost had to pull my car over to the side of the road because I felt the need to vomit. However, nothing spewed out of my mouth, and when I got there, I knocked on the door and my friend opened it.
After giving my friend the letter, I expected a series of questions or perhaps yelling. None of this happened. No emotion was shown, not even anger. So I left, and cried my eyes out in my blazing hot car before driving home. I thought everything was over, and I began to feel bittersweet relief. The plot thickens…
I expected to be unfriended, unfollowed, unliked, unsubscribed, and every other social media un-, but I did not expect what happened next. My friend went to social media, and ranted about why they thought they had lost a friend, and it was a complete lie. I was shocked, but when I thought about it, about the ways this person had talked about other people, people I thought they cared about, it made me realize I should not have been surprised. I felt sick the rest of the day after reading that rant. The next day, I also felt sick when I woke up. But, a beautiful thing happened. I thought about all the people I love, and why I love them. I knew the answer. Friends are there to love you, and support you. Significant others are there for the same reason. You see, I loved my friend, and I still do. It’s just that sometimes you have to let people you love go because the hurt they’ve caused is too much. That means you have to cause some hurt too.
Breaking up with a friend was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Respecting other people is important, but respecting yourself and your values is of the utmost importance, no matter how much it hurts to do that.
Nancy enjoys long walks and fluffy, fat cats.