Thursday, June 2, 2011

Friendship Divorce

I was reading a post this morning about things we learn in our 20s, lessons and wisdom, etc. It got me thinking about friendship and forgiveness. How long do we keep trying?


Let me explain a little better. When I was in college, I had an intense friendship with someone with whom I no longer have contact (by choice). We met through a mutual friend, and instantly became close, namely because we shared the interest of going to hipster bars and people watching. We loved cosmetics, clothes, and talking smack. As I look back on it, that was an incredibly shallow time of my life, but I did learn more about my physical appearance and how I wanted to present myself. I also admired her sense of humor. She was a fan of the ridiculous, and the two of us were a comedy team of sorts. Again, I feel that much of my comedic timing and abilities came from this friendship.

There were so many good times and memories involving this friend, but there was also a lot of drama. This friend, despite all of her great qualities, was often derogatory, seeming to get a high off of others’ suffering or misfortunes. She often seemed to create drama. Soon enough, I realized that I was becoming the target of her barbs, and that felt lousy. I won’t go into any more detail about the particulars of the abuse, but I decided after over a year of passive aggressive bullying, that I was better than this, and that I deserved more from a person with whom I chose to spend time.

And so I ended the friendship. It had run its course, and then some. I truly believe that we each had gotten everything we possibly could from one another. We went from best friends to basically bringing out the worst in each other. It hurt. It was tough to get through, particularly when my friend wanted to continue being friends, but I knew from past experience that it would only end the same, and draw out the inevitable.

So I cut things clean. I have not spoken to her in over 10 years now, and although I do miss her, I know that a relationship is simply not possible.

This case was very black and white, at least for me. It hurt, sure, but I saw it as ripping off a Band-Aid. Rather than waiting around to see how bad it could get, I decided to just cut things off. It may sound like this was a rash decision, but it was really a long time coming, spanning over 6-8 months of extremely abusive behavior towards me.

I guess my question is: how much should we take? Yes, I know that I’ve hurt my friends terribly before, and I am lucky that most of them have forgiven me (some have not, and let me say again, I am sorry). However, when is it better to end a friendship? Is it when the toll of the friendship outweighs the benefits?

2 comments:

Cate said...

If a friend is occasionally in a bad mood, that's just a bad mood. If they're always in a mood and they take it out on certain people repeatedly, that's abuse. I think they should be called to account, and if their behavior doesn't change permanently, the friendship should end. Just because it's a friendship doesn't mean any sort of abuse is allowed. That's not what they're for.

Catherine said...

Absolutely. Friends are chosen by us to enrich our lives. When the drama and trauma greatly outweighs that enrichment, it is time to cut the cord. Seriously, life is too short.