One good thing about the holidays is that I have time to decompress. With decompression comes spirit downloads regarding what to write about. I was actually working on a different writing project but this subject dropped in my spirit so let’s get into it.
I said in my previous blog that 2021 was a transition year for me. I lost friendships and divested from friend groups. What do you do when friendships die? What does that look like? What does it feel like? How did you play a part in the demise of the friendship?
In July or August of 2021 (I can’t remember), a longstanding friendship finally died. We were friends for fifteen plus years. Although the official death happened in 2021, the friendship began dying in 2015. I was going to get into details about what happened that led to the demise, but it is irrelevant. However, what is relevant is that whenever there are two people in any relationship, each person plays a part in the demise. Pro tip: BE VERY WARY OF PEOPLE THAT ONLY TELL ONE SIDE OF THE STORY AND PAINT A PICTURE THAT SOMETHING IS 100 PERCENT SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT. DEATH OF RELATIONSHIPS, INCLUDING FRIENDSHIPS, ARE NEVER ONE SIDED. Therefore, I will share what I did wrong that led to the demise of the friendship:
- I was a bad communicator and instead of communicating my feelings, I became passive aggressive and shady. I made snide remarks to her after she had a child in which she took as me judging her choice to become a mother. When I did a post-mortem of my comments, I can see how she felt that way. I was not supportive in her motherhood journey.
- I believed on a subconscious level that her life was more important than mine and as a result I made too much room for her problems and did not require room for mine. In 2015, EVERYTHING was going wrong in my life in addition to just being in a struggle for pattern for YEARS at this point. She was pregnant and was having a difficult time in her life. I had NO BANDWITH to deal with what she had going on but took on her issues. I didn’t have the wisdom or self-love stored up to say, “Hey I know you are having a rough time but I have to prioritize my needs first” because I didn’t think I was worth enough for prioritization. I did not establish healthy boundaries. As such, I taught her that my life was less important that hers and as a result she could call me with her problems without her having a genuine concern for mine. The times we did talk about my issues she would take a self centered pivot. I take accountability for not advocating to be seen in the relationship.
- I lost interest in the relationship and mentally checked out and instead of communicating that I let (and waited) for the friendship to die. We were estranged for a year then we reconnected. We had good conversations and had some conversations in which I would deem as closure (if you believe in that), but I knew who I had grown to be was not congruent with who she had grown to be. Our lives evolved to a point where we outgrew each other. I honestly had NO INTEREST in her life. The death nail was when she invited me to a gender reveal for her second kid and I had no interest in going. I was going to attend, but even my attendance was not for her–it was for me to test my growth when it came to being the only single, childless kid amongst mostly married people with children. I had a conversation with someone and from the conversation the light bulb came on: My attendance was not appropriate. By that point we only communicated by text every so often and I really didn’t give a damn that she was having another kid. I let her know by text how I felt. I knew once I communicated that it would end the friendship for good and as I predicted, she sent a text saying she would refrain from reaching out in the future. Instead of letting the friendship die, I should have honored the friendship that was and had a grown-up conversation about how I was no longer interested. But I didn’t and instead took the passive aggressive route.
Not all friendships have a nasty ending. Some friendships just reach an expiration date. As you evolve in life people, places and things will adjust. Sometimes, the adjustment is death. It doesn’t mean the person is a bad person…they are just not the person that fits into your space anymore and vice versa. So what does death of a friendship look like? For me, it looked like a new beginning and an indicator for how much I had grown as a person. To answer the question of what does a death of a friendship feel like? Contingent on how it happened and how much that person meant to you at the time of the demise of the friendship, it can be devastating. There is grief associated with friendships ending but, in this instance, I felt relieved. I was ready for the friendship to end.
The most important question that one should analyze during a post- mortem of a friendship is what you learned and what to do NEXT. Everyone that comes in your life comes for a reason. Every friendship that ends should be an opportunity to look at what your deficiencies are so you can work on them for future friendships. I took accountability for my lack of communication and resulting passive aggressiveness. One thing I learned is clear communication gives you a clear break. Clear communication will talk back to you. You will get what you need from the other person regardless of what they say or don’t say. Clear communication allows you to collect the best information possible in order to know what direction is best for said friendship. In the future, I will be intentional with my communication. I also learned you must have capacity for your friendships. Unfortunately, I had no capacity for my former friend. Friendship should be an even exchange. Both parties should feel safe and feel seen. Because of my evolution, I no longer had capacity for my former friend. I didn’t care about what was going on in her life. We also had hardly anything in common. Friends should have capacity for each other. It should never feel like a chore to talk. PRO TIP: WHENEVER YOU GET TO A POINT YOU ARE MOVING FROM A PLACE OF OBLIGATION WITH ANYONE, IT IS A SIGN THAT THE FRIENDSHIP IS ON THE DECLINE. Be present and courageous enough to notice that and govern yourself accordingly. You only have one life, and it should be filled with people who genuinely have and desire to make space for each other, not with people in which you feel like you have to make space because they were good to you in the past and you have to honor that. You can honor what was by making space for what it is and releasing that person with gratitude. Lastly, you must be intentional as fuck when it comes to friendships. If you aren’t intentional, a friendship will never survive the evolution of two people. Intention requires a genuine interest in one’s life, NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE IN LIFE. It requires reciprocity from both parties. If there is no reciprocity, that friendship may linger on until that person grows in who they are and realizes they aren’t getting what they want from the friendship. Once that person steps into who they are and what they want–the death of that friendship is imminent.
At the end of the day, when a friendship dies, that death should be a rebirth of the two people that were in the friendship. You should learn about yourself, learn what you need to work on for the health of your remaining and future friendships and become a better human being for the life and death of friendship.
To my former friend: I wish you the best and I hope you get all what God has for you. Thank you for the good times. Our friendship was what it was supposed to be; it reached its maturity. and I grew from the experience. Be easy.