Around this time of year, along with extortions of ‘do this, do that’ to make yourself a better person, there is one thing that I often hear – ‘Lose people from your life who…’. I actually think it is sound in principle, however it can have negative impact in practice.
I write this from personal experience. My husband and I are the friends who have been dumped. And I’m not sure why. It could be any number of reasons or nothing specific at all, it could be that we have caused offence, or that the other party feels that we have grown apart. But at the end of the day, I am not entirely sure why.
I accept I am not perfect, I don’t profess to be the perfect friend, although I think that could apply to most people. And I think I have a good handle on my character faults, to know them and to counteract them.
There are friends who have come and gone over the years, who were not particularly close or who were much more specific to a time in my life. On which, the parting has been a much more mutual affair. That happens. I can’t really explain the dynamics of that but it does.
This is different. I struggle with it, it lingers over me.
Our friend was a big part of our lives. We liked and valued our friendship. But from about 7 or 8 years ago any effort made to arrange socialisation started being rebuffed and gradually contact has dried up. That’s how important to us this friendship was, that we have hung on to it for so long.
In the face of being ignored we have had to conclude that we are ‘no longer required’. It makes me incredibly sad. It feels that there is a hole in our lives and we have been abandoned. Any unintentional error on our part has been given no chance to be rectified or at least apologised for.
I considered telling this all to the person directly but I realise that we can never go back to where we once were, trust and intimacy has been lost and doing so would be looking for a reconciliation that won’t happen, if our friend has let this go this far without communicating with us.
Each time in my mind I think about it, I try to explain it, I can’t help but create reasons for how things have turned out. And that is not really right, I cannot second guess and I think this is the particularly harmful part for me. I simply do not understand. It is a weight around my neck.
This issue has been on my mind for the last few years, but I haven’t known how to deal with it. I feel that I need to do this finally now, to get it gone from my life and move on. That involves cutting all contact, removing them from Facebook, numbers from phones, crossing out their address from our address book, and that all seems so final.
I accept that this is partly my choice, although I do feel that my hand has been forced. I am not sure that the act of doing so will actually clear this person from my brain. But I need some catharsis. And maybe this is it. I need to now take a big breath and walk away.
My only caution to those considering cutting a friend out of their lives is to consider how much of the separation is your friend’s issue, or your own, particularly if it is not a mutual friendship split. And to at least consider being honest with your friend if there is more than simply a circumstantial reason for you to abandon your friendship.
Marie Kondo and her tidying method (that I have been practicing of recent times) has taught me two things pertinent to this situation, that makes it easier to bear. That when something no longer brings you joy it is time to let it go. And that when you let something go, you must thank it for what it has done for you. I see no reason these could not be applied to friendships.
So I thank our friend for once being a part of our lives, and the enjoyment we had of our time together. I thank them for this difficult lesson.