Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ex-Friend: Signs That it's Time to Let Go
I think most of us have that one "friend" in our lives that we sort've don't know why we keep. Maybe this person was a bona fide compadre at some point, but not anymore. S/he annoys you or makes you feel bad, or maybe you just don't have a single thing in common. Whatever it is, life is too short to waste each others' time. We are human and that means we grow and change over the years: your best friend since elementary school may someday be a person you want nothing to do with. And that's okay. It's in everyone's best interests that we assess our friendships every once in awhile and decide: is this person my friend or is it time to let go?
You Never "Hang Out Sometime"
We all have someone in our lives that we interact with like this: we see them at the mall or stumble across them on Facebook and say "oh my gosh, it's been so long, we need to hang out sometime!" And the person it's said to usually goes "yeah, totally!" and maybe even proposes to call you or something. It never happens. You might not even get to the Making Plans stage of the operation. These people are usually people we feel we should be interacting with because we have some sort of bond with them-- maybe you used to be close pals-- but don't actually have any genuine desire to see anymore. The sooner you admit that to yourself, the sooner you'll stop having awkward obligatory let's-hang-out conversations.
When You Do "Hang Out Sometime" You Feel Worse
I used to hang out with a girl who, whenever we were together, she'd make fun of me relentlessly-- and by "me" I mean me and my choice in men and wardrobe and various other things. By the end of our visits, I'd always feel like I'd been through some terrible ordeal. No one needs a friend who is constantly sniping at them. Once those feelings of general awfulness, of being attacked, demeaned, etc. creeps up more often than they don't, it's time to say "bye bye" for the sake of your sanity and self-esteem.
You Make Excuses for Their Behavior
"That's just the way she is," I'd tell my other friends about Negative Friend. "It's her humor." "She's just being sarcastic." "She doesn't mean to hurt me." "Well, we really do both like these things and that's nice...." But why should you be friends with anyone who's so regularly less than pleasant that you have to start justifying their behavior? In a romantic relationship, this kind of excuse-making would go right along with that of a person who's been abused-- and that's not friendship, my friends.
They Never Put You First
We all go through stages in our lives where certain people and things aren't as important to us as others. Maybe they can't be, like if you have a new demanding job, or you're raising a child, or you have a brand new significant other that you need to bond with. There can be any number of perfectly fine reasons for putting friends on the back burner, but what is truly a sign of ex-friendship is when you're always on the back burner. My boyfriend has an ex-girlfriend who would always, 100% of the time, choose her friends over him. He never came first, and he always says that was one of the big immediate signs that their relationship would be brief and unfulfilling. We always say that girls in relationships need to remember their friends, but it goes both ways. Anyone who you're committed to-- gal pals included-- needs to be the top priority at least some of the time. If you have a friend who always puts others over you, you know s/he just isn't that into you. A true test of this is how a friend reacts when something goes very wrong in your life: the people who are willing to make time to be there for you are friends. The ones who refuse? Not so much.
You Try to Talk About it, But...
...s/he won't listen or doesn't seem to care about affecting any actual change. It's hard for anyone to fess up to their wrongdoings, but if you've got a person on your hands who just won't hear it or flat-out denies it, there's really nowhere to go from there.
Have you ever had to let a friend go? What was it like? Do you feel it was the right decision?