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Letting a friendship fade away

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  • Letting a friendship fade away

    Over the past few years, the tone of a friendship of mine has changed. We have a mutual friend, and last week, we finally had an honest chat about how we feel about this mutual friend and how she's changed.
    I'm glad we finally discussed it, because I think it sort of validated my friend's feelings that this 3rd friend needs to be put on pause. I had already decided that this 3rd friend was getting very little of my attention going forward. I always feel used, and I simply no longer enjoy the time I spend with her.

    Sometimes people are not meant to be lifelong friends. I've let this go on long enough that it really isn't bothersome for me at all to let this relationship go. I think for friend 2 though, this is going to be a very painful separation. They've been friends since they were kids, and she said she'd felt like she was another sister until recently.

    Women's friendships in particular, I think, can be very deep and complicated. Ending one, or at least setting some boundaries, can be painful and even a devastating decision.

    Do you have friendships that have been long, meaningful journeys in your life? Have you had to set boundaries or sever a valuable friendship?
    If you're a man, what have your friendships been like?


  • It is hard to stand by and watch as people change or evolve in a way that no longer fits with us. Life deals everyone their own cards and sometimes, for whatever reason, they negatively impact the relationship dynamics between friends.

    It is a challenge for women, in particular, I think, because we tend to share so much of ourselves with our friends – our feelings, our problems, our deepest secrets. That makes it especially difficult to sever a relationship later on because you feel like this person knows you so well and you know them on an equally deep level, and there is a real loss happening when that relationship changes or ends.

    But at the end of the day, you have to do the thing that is right for you — even if it means setting boundaries or cutting ties completely. It hurts, and it sucks; I’ve walked away from people I no longer “fit” with for that reason.

    One of my friends went off the deep end a couple years back (not drugs or anything, just really radical thinking/behavior in a sort of way where only her opinion on anything was the “right” way and anything else was incorrect) and I had enough — we went our separate ways. I didn’t announce it formally or anything, just let that friendship drift out to sea where it belonged.

    And sometimes that’s just what you need to do. It sounds harsh to put it that way, but we need to take care of our own mental and emotional health, too.

    Comment


    • That's where I am with this. I just intend to let it drift away, fade into the background as much as possible with so many mutual friends. This has been coming on for awhile for me, and I've been attempting to distance her. Recently things happened that just ramped up my efforts to avoid her 100% going forward.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
        This has been coming on for awhile for me, and I've been attempting to distance her. Recently things happened that just ramped up my efforts to avoid her 100% going forward.
        I'm really sorry for the loss of your friendship, though. It is never an easy decision to make. Sometimes after time passes, people change down the road — but in the here and now, you've got to do what's right for you, even if it means avoiding that person entirely.

        Comment


        • I wish I could say this was tough...honestly, it's not. It's kind of a weight lifted for me. The past couple years especially, the times I've tried to avoid her, or attended her functions out of obligation, it's caused a lot of hard feelings for me. I've felt used and abused at times.
          Dumping her is long overdue, and any sense of mourning the friendship, is just not there for me! lol It's a relief.

          Comment


          • I agree with Alison H.'s post.

            Some friendships are not meant to last a lifetime: but we can still treasure the time we did have with those friends. Some friendships are right for us in our 20's while other friendships are only right for us in our 40's. This is because people grow and change. Change in part of life: hence why friendships can come and go. No one stays the same forever. BUT there are friendships that do last a lifetime. Maybe because those two friends grow and change together.

            For instance I have two best friends: Frances and Vicky. I will not desert them or hurt them. I am always there for them and always listen to them. They reciprocate. Not all the time, but every friendship has its ups and downs. I also have a close male friend: he is a good sounding board and approaches friendship differently. Being male perhaps: but that is not to say all men think the same. I had another - very close - male friend called Michael. I lost him to dementia. Even today I miss him terribly. It wasn't either Michael's nor myself's fault that he became sick with dementia. But I am heartbroken today. And two or three years have gone by. I will never have that bond with Michael with anybody else. That friendship can never be replicated. But I knew he was getting older. Still, I miss him terribly. I always will.

            Anyhow, I have had best friends and they were great for me at the time and helped me mature. But today they have scattered. Still, I've got close friends that never leave me alone and isolated. Friends will be friends.

            Comment


            • A lot of times we can think that we have nothing to mourn over when it comes to friendships that are no longer alive but sometimes that can also be our pride or our ego that refuses to want to mourn. I know that is how it felt to me when I lost my best friend after college when I discovered that we were simply incompatible. To this day, I notice that while I don't have much in common with her, I still get irked by that fact. Why didn't she try harder? Why didn't she care more? Although I have not wanted to admit it, I know that it is a wound that requires healing and for that, I will need to at some point, take a moment to mourn the loss of us only because not doing so is continuing to cause me pain. So yes while friendships change and morph and not everyone will stay for the long run, it is important to listen to oneself and also try to see if there is more work that needs to be done, so that the heart is healed and not bitter and one can move onto creating or deepening more loving friendships.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Jameela A. View Post
                A lot of times we can think that we have nothing to mourn over when it comes to friendships that are no longer alive but sometimes that can also be our pride or our ego that refuses to want to mourn. I know that is how it felt to me when I lost my best friend after college when I discovered that we were simply incompatible. To this day, I notice that while I don't have much in common with her, I still get irked by that fact. Why didn't she try harder? Why didn't she care more? Although I have not wanted to admit it, I know that it is a wound that requires healing and for that, I will need to at some point, take a moment to mourn the loss of us only because not doing so is continuing to cause me pain. So yes while friendships change and morph and not everyone will stay for the long run, it is important to listen to oneself and also try to see if there is more work that needs to be done, so that the heart is healed and not bitter and one can move onto creating or deepening more loving friendships.
                It is unfortunate about your friend but the reality is that each of us cannot truly change others, only ourselves. Trying harder and caring more are things she had to do if she valued the friendship and wanted it to continue. Could you have done more to get her to do those things? Maybe and maybe not, but most of it was up to her. Even if you met later and she said it was you, it was her and she would be trying to pass the "blame" (I'm not sure that there is any real blame). If she was not getting enough out of the relationship, she has to communicate it to you in some way if she values the relationship. Is it possible that she saw the relationship as a temporary thing at college?
                I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                ...
                Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

                Comment


                • Jameela A. I agree with you, and it's great that you had the self-awareness to identify this in yourself, and the guts to address your own emotional needs pertaining to any residual effects from the loss of the friendship. It can be so easy, while we have friends, to take it lightly, and not fully recognize their meaning in our life. I think, as you alluded, that the friends we have for just a season of our lives, can help us learn the value of friendship, and foster more meaningful, deeper friendships for us later. It's a 2-way street, as jns discusses above. Each person must be contributing to the success of a relationship, whether friendship, or romantic relationship, or working relationship, etc.
                  I hope that you find some peace, and reconcile the loss for yourself.

                  As for me, this has been such a long time coming, and I've tolerated so much that I have really gone through those stages of letting go over the past couple of years. It was more than having nothing in common, I finally realized that she's a "taker", she's probably "toxic" and she contributes nothing to anything, unless there's some direct and obvious benefit to her. There came a point when my own peace came first. The most difficult thing now, is watching our mutual friend struggling to reach this point.

                  Comment


                  • atskitty2 that's good that you were able to talk to your other friend and set boundaries with your third friend. Even if it's expected or you felt like it's been a long time coming, it's still hard to sever certain friendships, especially if they've been long friendships that have lasted for years.

                    I've had several friendships sort of naturally fade (first friends from high school, now friends from college), and it's taken time to be okay with that. I'm someone who's always had a small group of close friends, so losing anyone in that close group has been hard for me; I initially tried to keep up with one person in particular, but it became clear that she wasn't interested in maintaining the friendship.

                    I do have friends I still consider myself to be close to in the sense that we can talk about deep/serious topics, and even if we don't talk for a little while, we can always pick up right where we left off. I'm constantly realizing how precious those people are, as well as other close friends.

                    Kudos to you for coming to peace with your decision and putting yourself first.

                    Comment


                    • Emily D. thanks.

                      Comment

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