Sometimes people aren’t who you think they are. Sometimes people change. Or maybe it’s me who is changing, and those people just don’t fit in my world anymore?
We all have acquaintances. People who we aren’t terribly close with but we know through a friend of a friend, people who we think seem nifty enough but we don’t know them that well. Some of us have a large circle of “friends” - close friends and acquaintances all interwoven through the convenience of social networking.
Sometimes, you’re friends with someone and then suddenly you aren’t. What I have trouble wrapping my brain around is how you can be so close with someone, share everything with them, and then something happens and the friendship just goes away. There are 3 sides to every story...yours, mine and the truth...I really believe that. And chances are, the person you suddenly aren’t friends with anymore just doesn’t get it either. They’re sitting there wondering why you did what you did, how you could have done or said whatever it was the ended the friendship while you wonder the same thing. Perspective is an interesting and illusive beast.
But...how do you just stop being friends with someone that was a huge part of your life? A part that you thought was irreplaceable?
It’s almost like a break-up. It’s definitely a loss. In the course of a friendship, you tend to develop inside jokes and oftentimes you bond over shared interests. And then the friendship ends and you’re left with reminders...a song, a tv show, a quote...things that are already inextricably woven into your life. And when those things come up in the course of a day you’re left with memories, reminders of the loss. I can almost feel it sometimes, like a little pinch of sadness, tugging at my heart.
Sometimes, through that convenient social networking, you see those acquaintances interacting with the people you suddenly aren’t friends with anymore. And then, the really dark, sad part of you - the part that you that you usually try to ignore and squish away somewhere - that part wants to scream at those acquaintances, “Why are you talking to them?!? Don’t you know I’m not friends with them anymore? Don’t you realize what happened? Don’t you know how it all went down? They acted like big fat buttheads! How dare you casually interact with them?!?!”
But that’s not really fair, is it? Everyone is different, even when we’re the same. Everyone interacts in different ways. Your situation has nothing at all to do with how other people interact with the people who aren’t your friends anymore. It’s all enter-at-your-own-risk, befriend-at-your-own-peril.
In the course of the last few years I’ve had more than one friendship end for various reasons. It still hurts, and in some small way it probably always will. In friendships and relationships you make yourself vulnerable just by opening up to that other person and letting them in. When the friendship ends, everything you shared ends up feeling like a betrayal. Especially when the really deep, dark, personal stuff gets used against you.
So how do you get over it?
I got some advice from a very smart person recently. He told me that maybe I need to redefine what I call a friendship. Maybe I need to approach a friendship as just a friendship and not a relationship. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that was sort of a revelation for me. It really made me think. I’m an open book. I probably share too much of myself with friends too easily. And I’m fiercely loyal and probably more than a little naive.
I guess the only thing to do is get over it and move on. Live with the loss, because that doesn’t go away. But don’t let it run your life. Don’t hold onto it like a betrayal - in my experience, playing the victim doesn’t get you anywhere except maybe in the annoying-other-people department. And there’s no sense it. Just get over it and move on. And maybe be a little more guarded next time.