After more than a decade, it was over.
This friendship. This place that at one time had been practically my only solace.
Finished. Done. The end.
It felt awful.
We met when our girls were in 2nd grade. At the beginning our friendship was like magic to me. Here was a person who understood me. Here was a person who I could tell anything to and she would commiserate with me and assure me I wasn’t crazy to feel the way I did. She was having many of the same struggles that I was so were able to be there for each other in a special way.
Before I met her, it felt like I was barely keeping it together. I was crushed under the duties of wife and motherhood–mostly because none of it was what I had expected. So I constantly fought with the emotions and disappointments of how I thought it should be.
But now I had this friendship. I had found someone who I could truly speak my mind to and having her as my friend was like my own personal life preserver—I didn’t know what I would do without her.
We would meet regularly just the two of us. We would vent. We would bitch. We would moan. It was such a relief. Such an outlet. We would laugh a lot too–but usually at the expense of others…..ahem, our husbands.
Looking back, it is clear to me what was not happening. We weren’t trying to fix anything. We were simply stewing. Stewing in our negativity and our lack and everything else we said we didn’t want. But stewing in it kept us stuck there. Very, very stuck.
Sure we were supporting each other, but there was no resolution or moving toward making it better.
We believed that we were right and the world was wrong, and that was the end of it.
It’s so easy to see now how focusing on all the bad stuff kept us paralyzed. We were spinning round and round in a negative vortex that we didn’t have a prayer of getting ourselves out of.
Unless something changed.
And then for me, it did.
I realized how unhappy I was. I realized that I was not living in alignment with what I said I wanted for myself. I started seeing how life could be different and started moving in that direction.
I desperately wanted to take my friend along.
I told her at length about every book I read. I dragged her to transformational classes. I tried to show her how bright and shiny this new path could be. I couldn’t understand how anyone could see it and not want it for themselves.
Personally, things were great. My life was truly starting to feel different. I could see happiness and peace gleaming off in the distance and I was determined to get myself there.
My friend on the other hand, resisted every step. She loved playing devil’s advocate and telling me all the reasons I was being naive or that the change wouldn’t last.
This was hard for me. But even then I knew I couldn’t blame her for where she was. I myself had been there for many years.
How could I judge her for being in the space that I had occupied for so long? Especially because here was the person that I had been so enthralled with, who had helped me so much. Who was I to say what she should be doing? That was up to her.
One day at lunch she said, “You are always such sunny sunshine these days!”
This was delivered as an accusation, not a compliment.
I was different and she didn’t like it. I had broken our unwritten contract to stay angry and blaming.
Despite this, I hoped we could stay friends. I thought that even though I was different, we could still find common ground and work out a new normal.
We tried for a little while, but I think we were doomed from the sunny sunshine day.
One night something happened in her life. Something similar to what had happened many times in the past.
This time I saw it differently. Instead of commiserating with her position, I saw the ways she was helping create the drama and making it worse than it needed to be.
Because I believe that friends should share this type of information, I said something. I told her that maybe it didn’t need to be such a fire drill all the time. Maybe there was a different way. (While I don’t remember specifically, I am sure that I conveyed this with either understated or outright judgement and attitude).
Needless to say, my observation did not go over well.
We had a fight over the situation and then supposedly worked things out. But I knew we hadn’t.
During the fight I had said to her “I’m afraid you aren’t going to want to be friends with me anymore.”
But that wasn’t true.
What was true was that I didn’t want to be friends with her anymore. But I was still having a hard time fully admitting that to myself.
And though she didn’t say so, she had decided during the fight that she was done with me. She felt my words that night had betrayed her and that I wasn’t a true friend.
We were involved in a project together and were both committed to finishing it. So my friend outright faked things with me while I pretended to myself and to her that things between us were alright.
After the commitment wrapped up our contact quickly dwindled and then stopped altogether.
She moved North about a year later.
We are not in touch.
This all went down over three years ago.
It took me a long time to get over it. I was mad that she had faked being my friend. But I knew I had faked it too. I was just as guilty. How could I be mad about that?
I was sad that what we had for so many years was gone.
I was upset that she thought I had betrayed her when I thought I was being a friend.
It was messy.
These things usually are.
It was over and it was sucky.
But it was the right solution.
For both of us.
That I know for sure.
We came together at the start because we shared a lot in common. As the years went by, things changed. We grew apart.
There is no right or wrong here. My friend was happy staying where she was and I was happy stepping into a different space. We simply weren’t compatible anymore.
I now remember our times together fondly and I will be forever grateful for the years that she helped me get through. I wish her nothing but the best.
Letting go of the friendship allowed space for new people in my life. People who are similar to how I am now and that share my thoughts of the world.
I am sure that she had a similar experience.
Our friendship served a beautiful purpose for many years and then it ran its course. And that is ok.
Are you holding onto friendships that are no longer in alignment with who you are? Is the energy of faking it dragging you down? What might open up in your life if you were able to let go?
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind.