I think about losing friends much differently than I did five or six years ago. I think about how I lose them, and the way they end it. I ask myself about the common denominators. Maybe there’s some comfort in it that I can share with you all.
I bet just about everyone out there has, at one point or another, broken up a friendship somehow. Either you did it, or the other person did, or it was mutual. Sometimes, distance divides people, or people’s schedules change or marriage makes it inconvenient to see each other. Time changes many things. Sometimes a person changes their religion and that makes a friendship seem less meaningful, because it’s like the two of you are now speaking a different language. Even a dietary change can jolt a friendship. You can’t go out to eat at that steakhouse anymore. Or one person sobers up.
Sometimes, though, it’s far more complicated. Have you ever gotten that scathing email and wondered why? Have you ever been left hanging…for months, and finally just dropped it? Have you ever simply not heard from a person ever again? Has someone ever gotten mad at you over something trivial and then, not even allowed you to say you’re sorry? Were you ever scapegoated for something that wasn’t even your fault?
Yes, it’s complicated. I’ve come to a conclusion about that scathing email that comes out of the blue. YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT.
Of course not. If it comes out of the blue, how could you be?
I’ve concluded that if a scathing email comes out of the blue, the person wanted to end the friendship. Period.
Okay, so you might be asking why. I invented one, not having a reason, but just listen to this one and tell me how it sounds. The person is unhappy. The person deeply dislikes him/herself. Are you okay with that so far?
Now, the person sees the very same thing he/she loathes in him/herself mirrored in you. So that same thing that he/she hates so, so much is sitting right there in you. Oh boy, you’re gonna get nailed now! You’re gonna get purged. So this is why you’ve just been attacked. He/she wants to eradicate that part. Kill it. Get rid of it! Stamp it out!
So that person is so, so self-loathing that he/she has to do this. This explains the scathing email you just got. Whether you dismiss it, shrug it off, cry, or laugh, I suppose doesn’t matter. To your friend, you’re gone.
But really, life goes on. I think it’s a lot easier to think of lost friendships when framed this way, when realizing you’re not to blame, that you’re just an object here, not the subject in your friend’s life. You are the subject in your own life. Now, go live.