Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Breaking Up With A Friend

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I read a post the other day that resonated. As I writer I credit my inspiration from lots of sources, and that’s part of the reason why I love what I do, because there’s no limit to where I can draw my ideas from. This particular piece was by Katy from Little Winter and the post (which you find here) was about friendship. As Katy points out, it’s a topic that not many people write about and it got me thinking why. Relationships are discussed freely, yet friendship seems to be off limits which is kind of ironic when you think about it as you’re in friendships most of the time when you’re young longer than your relationship. 


With a relationship, once it’s over, it’s over (unless you’re a Ross and Rachel kind of couple) and it’s usually for a good reason. You can fall for someone else, hurt them or just naturally fall out of love with someone. And I’m not saying that doesn’t hurt because it damn well does. But with that break-up comes an immediate (and quite right) sympathetic reaction from your friends, family, colleagues, social media and the whole village you live in. And great, that’s what should happen. You need time to grieve the loss of someone you once loved from your life. Yet friendship isn’t granted the same gesture. Friendship is viewed as quite fluffy and childish, as if “you’ll make other friends” - we’ve all been told that before, right? 


Sure you’re not physically intimate with your friends but you share your whole lives with them just as you would with your partner. In fact they’ve been by your side throughout all of your partners, through thick and thin, through every bad choice, every adventure, every tear, every laughter and enough memories to make a film about. Yet when those friendships stop being just that, we’re expected to sweep it under the carpet as if it never happened. No-one comes round with a box of tissues and every rom-com ever made when you and your best friend break-up. You’re just expected to move on. In my eyes, you’re not meant to lose your friends, unless something happens beyond repair. 


So yeah I suppose what I’m getting at is: hey it’s okay - to consider it a break-up. Because it kinda is. If you stay looped on social media you’ll feel yourself slowly getting more distant and after a while you’ll even convince yourself ‘life’ was to blame for drifting apart when you’re asked by other friends “what happened?" And sometimes it can naturally do that, but then sometimes we can get lazy and allow ourselves to put the blame on ‘life', when deep down we know it’s not. Some friendships you’ll fight for and others you won’t. Sometimes you lose the energy to fight, or like a relationship, question how many occasions you can expose your heart and feelings to someone to not get that time and effort back. 


Life gets in the way, of course it does. You grow older, your priorities change, the goals you want to achieve, the places you want to go and the person you want to be evolves and moves onto its next chapter, I get that. And time is a tricky one. On one hand we’re taught to believe time heals things and if you’re at a point where you’ve decided to close a friendship, sure, yeah, only times does help. But if you’re in friendship break-up limbo where you’re not quite sure what’s happening - time can be the reason that relationship fails if nothing’s done to fix it. Weeks pass, overthinking happens, assumptions are made and you’ll silently resent each other. 



Just the other day my friend was worrying because she’d ‘flipped at her friend and gone psycho.' Whilst I’m not advocating ‘crazy girl syndrome’, I told her, and I know this may seem strange so bear with me, that they should view you kicking off as a compliment. Sure if you’ve gone out of line, pay your dues and apologise but having fights are healthy. For one they air any issues you’re having and the relationship can then be stronger following and for me, and hopefully some of you will agree, I only fight  with the people I love, the people I care about and the people I want in my life. If I don’t want to fight back and resolve, that’s how in my head I know it’s over, because the emotional connection is gone. 



I’m as stubborn as they come and struggle to admit when I’m wrong but what it ultimately boils down to and what I tell myself on the regular is whether you value your relationship more than your ego. Because if it’s the latter, you need to prepare your heart for a whole lot of break-ups. Fight for the people you want in your life, and let go of the ones you don’t, because it’s sometimes those relationships that are damaging you rather than enhancing your life. And that’s okay too. Have a cry if it helps and don’t do the whole “I don’t know why I’m getting upset” scenario because let me let you in on a little secret, well actually John Green’s secret: “It hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered. And that’s an important thing to acknowledge to yourself."
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© STACEY JOANNE MARIE

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