Wednesday, 4 January 2012

How do YOU break up with a friend?

So riddle me this peeps: what do you do when a friendship dies?  What if it's only died on your side?   Have you ever been able to sit down with the person and amicably end it?  Or are you like me.  Do you just stop responding to emails and very slowly cut them out of your life.  All the while praying to Buddha that they get the picture and the uncomfortable conversation never has to take place...

Not unlike parenting, I feel out of my depth here.  Friendships don’t come with a handbook and I have no idea how to handle situations such as these.  I would prefer to address the elephant in the room and say “hey, this just isn’t working out, and it hasn’t been for the past 30 years” or “your negativity is sucking the life out of me and I think it’s over”.  Or “I find your sense of humour offensive and it’s not fun listening to you poke fun at me, my husband or my kids”.  Negative ghostrider, the pattern is full.

The people-pleaser side of me would just say to retain the friendship and keep the peace.  And who knows?  Maybe one day they’ll ditch me!  But the people-pleaser side of me is what got me into this situation in the first place.

When I was younger (read: up until last year), I couldn’t say no to people.  I would accept a playdate or catch-up from {pretty much} anyone who asked.  I understand sometimes it takes guts for people to ask, and I had never felt comfortable saying no to someone’s face.  But something happened last year.  I’d had a gutful.  I’d had a gutful of toxic relationships, specifically friendships.   And I’d had a gutful of watching myself making the mistake over and over.   It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  There was a lot of soul-searching, a lot of tears and confusion, but I did it.  And I feel lighter, freer and definitely happier for it.  My first thought was “why the fuck didn’t I do this sooner?!”.

Nowadays I feel a lot more comfortable in my skin.  I have a definite “take it or leave it” attitude and I wish (I wish, I wish) that I had been like this back when I was in year eight.  If I had had this confidence back then, I think I would have lessened a lot of anxiety, I would have had more quality connections and I probably would have valued myself more.  The lesson I want to pass on to my little ones is that you don’t have to please everyone.  If someone’s sapping your mojo, get away from them.  And stay away.  And don’t feel bad about it.  It’s not your job to ensure people’s happiness.

It’s theirs.

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /

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