I heard something earlier today about a former friend, and it gave me pause to consider how transient some friendships are, and what a difficult thing friendship can be.
The friend I heard about dropped out of my life several years ago, for reasons I am still not clear on. I suppose it doesn’t matter, really. We have both moved on with our lives and I’m glad we were friends for awhile.
Friendships fascinate me. When you find yourself drawn to someone as a potential friend, there is no societally-approved line, no “I’d like to see you again,” to mark the beginning of a friendship, nothing we say further into the friendship to cement it, and certainly no graceful way to get out of it.
How do you break up with a friend? I rarely shed friends without cause – heck, I’m still friends with most of my ex-loves – but sometimes there is a reason. I’ve tried the direct way, and I’ve tried the just-slink-away-and-hide approach. I’m not convinced either one is right or wrong. In their own ways, both kind of suck. But if a friendship has taken you to the point where you even have to consider severing it, is there any reason to try and keep it alive? I don’t think so. The moaner, the drama queen, the taker, the opera singer (you know… “Me me me me meeee!”), the backstabber, the pessimist… all of them are psychic drains. Toxic friends are worse than no friends at all.
If my former friend had told me what was bothering her so much, would I have tried to fix it? Probably. But given that I’ve truly no idea what could have set her off, I’m left with the realization that if the relationship was that tenuous, I don’t really want it. While I was heartbroken when she first disappeared from my life, I never think of her now until someone mentions her.
So what makes a good friendship such a valuable and precious thing? I have friends now I’ve had since I was a child. I have friends I made in high school, in college, and throughout my career. I have friends of both genders. I have church friends, book group friends, yoga friends, writer friends. My favorites are the ones you can go for weeks without talking to, and when you reconnect, it’s like no time has passed at all. I’m not always a great friend, I know. I often get so absorbed in my work that I forget to lift my head and tell my friends I love them. My only hope is that during the times I’m not hibernating (writernating?) I show them enough love that it carries them through.
Friends, true friends, are one of our most valuable resources. Tell one of yours today how much they mean to you. With all the negative and bad bubbling around us, we can never love too much.