Article by Wendy McCance
One of the most difficult things a person can experience in their life is the break-up of a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is the friend who ends the relationship or if it is you. Either way, with so much time, energy and closeness, walking away can be extremely painful to do.
What if you are the one who decides to end the friendship? Can you do it, or do you let it drag on much longer than it should? Can you decipher when a relationship is no longer healthy? Can you extricate yourself from a friendship that was close and full of years of history if it no longer feels like a healthy friendship?
Thankfully, the majority of situations where I have had to pull the plug happened in my youth. Kids are growing and changing fast and in different ways from each other. Sometimes my friendships would result in friends changing into people I no longer recognized. No longer was there much in common and spending time together felt awkward at best.
As an adult, I have only had the experience of walking away from a friendship that had been long-term once, and it was an incredibly hard decision to make.
I had known a person as an acquaintance for several years before we slowly realized how much we had in common. Our friendship blossomed into a close one as we realized that we had endless things to talk about and had great fun when we were together. The friendship became so close that our families bonded in the same fashion as if we were close relatives. We literally adopted each others kids and treated our relationship as though we were one big happy family.
Part of the bonding we had towards each other was based on experiences that could only be described as tragic at best. Through some incredibly dark periods in our life, we were able to find a bit of light whenever we discussed some of the trials we had faced head-on.
Our experiences were painful and difficult if not impossible to share with the vast majority of friends or family in our lives, and yet we had each other. It was a relief as well as a tighter bond that had been formed off of tragic circumstances.
The bottom fell out years later when I had grown through the bad times and was resurfacing as a more confident and forgiving person. I had found a way to let go of the times that had been so devastating to deal with. I realized I had to move on in a positive direction if I ever wanted to get to a better place in my life.
The end of our friendship evolved over a two-year period when it became obvious that my friend had gotten stuck in the misery. Discussions that used to start with a bad experience but could end with hope and strength had become a doom and gloom situation. No matter how hard I tried to pull my friend to a place where she could feel hopeful and regain some confidence was something I could no longer do.
Conversations became tedious as I was only contacted when there was bad news to report. Our relationship had become like a broken record. We could get so far in a conversation and then it would hit the scratch. The record would skip, playing the same piece over and over without moving ahead.
I hated and truly began to dread these conversations. I never got the pleasure of hearing good news. There was much good news to share, but I only became privy to it second-hand which was heartbreaking. How did I become the person who was titled with only dealing with the bad without being able to celebrate the good?
The fallout came gradually. The friendship had reached a place where I felt like a therapist. What was going on in my life was never discussed. I began to dread phone calls or the few visits because they became long poor me sessions. It was awful to see our friendship falling apart. It was even worse knowing I was unable to pull my friend out of her dark moods and focus on the bright side.
I held onto the hope that things would turn around. That my friend was just going through a rough patch and needed support. After two years it became obvious that a pattern had formed and it was draining the life out of me.
The final straw was finding out that the relationship that I was enduring was mine alone. I found out that when my friend was feeling good (and there were many of these moments) she was whooping it up with other friends. I had been tagged as the person to pour out the negative onto, but wasn’t allowed to share in the good times.
There were a few conversations about how I felt. Unfortunately, they fell on deaf ears. I had to walk away. The sad part is to this day, my old friend doesn’t understand why I walked away. Explanations have not helped. It was just a sad end to what was once a brilliant friendship.
What about you? Have you had a situation like this? Were you able to walk away or are you still stuck playing out a miserable situation? I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please leave a comment and let’s discuss.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org