Friendship Follies

I have had (and still have) some amazing female friends in my life and still do. Most of them have been glorious, intelligent empowered women, unlike my romantic male choices. Breaking up with my female friends can sometimes get as painful as a break up with a boyfriend, but sometimes it’s necessary for preservation of self esteem and mental health.

I’ve gone through life always seeking advice from others, and being very forgiving and “nice”. Approaching a birthday in my late 30’s, I think it’s really time to grow up and quit this nonsense. If something feels rotten, it’s better to avoid it. It’s better to be a recluse than be around people who make you feel like crap.

In some friendship “breakups”, it is very clear who did the misdeed, and in others, even with the best of love and intentions…misunderstandings and resentment slowly build up a wall between previously close friends. If there is enough care and love, the friends will “work it out”, but for avoidant personalities such as mine, it is just easier to not rock the boat further and end the friendship, over the sickening prospect of hearing what a fuck up I am again to yet another person. Another beloved friend pointed out to me today, that like any other relationship, friendships need to be repaired and maintained as well. I definitely agree- though up to a point. Go with your gut on that one, and gauge whether the repair is worth the investment.

I had a friend I truly loved. A gorgeous Iranian who loved running marathons. We were very close, she knew my innermost secrets and shared hers with mine. We met in our late 20s, were both single, foreign women, working in technology fields in Texas. I could not mess up in front of her, she let me be me, and problems between us were quickly resolved.  The love I had for her was undeniable. Right before her father passed, I drove an hour to the hospital everyday and stayed with the family till the late hours making sure they had everything they needed. After some mourning period, she suggested a road trip- just the two of us.  She said she really needed it, she was in a lot of pain. What she didn’t know (and I was too embarrassed to tell her) was just how broke I was. She made 3 times my salary and I had a low self esteem. So I made up a reason why I couldn’t go at that time, which made her very angry with me. There might have been other reasons, but she used this one to break up with me. That was a great loss to me, I still miss her and that kind of closeness with a reliable friend. We have reconnected on social media since then, and we live in different countries, but I can’t get myself to be okay with how she discarded me.

BUT it is a fact of life that friendships can be seasonal, and stay in your life as long as they are meant to. You should trust your inner guidance, i.e. feel out when a friendship just no longer feels good. And then disconnect. It’s not a commitment or a marriage. It is a choice. Make  a space for something else, more time to yourself, or exploring new friendships that may make a lot more sense. But don’t become someone’s obligation nor let someone become yours. Remember friends can become the family you choose, and be closer than family and a crucial aspect of a happy life. Friends, like a partner can also affect how you feel, and nothing is more important than how you feel. Treat your friends well, they are much more important than we give them credit for. And breakup with the ones that don’t treat you with love and respect. It’s completely fine to do that. And this practice is worth consideration as well.

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