by Madeline Laughs
Right around the time I started changing the way I viewed relationships with friends, I was in the throes of a personal crisis and feeling very insecure about who I was and how I handled personal dilemmas. So much seemed to be falling apart in my life and everything felt like it was spinning out of control and into complete chaos. I had no idea how to regain a grip on friendships, old and new, and no idea what I was doing wrong and how to stop doing it.
Making personal boundaries seemed like the solution, however the ones I made weren’t working either because I really had no idea how to make them work for me. Essentially I was just putting a lot out there, and getting nothing back.
An old friendship being rekindled was one I concentrated on briefly. A personal crisis involving a mutual friend drew us together again. Honestly, she was someone that I never really felt a kinship with and thought the person hadn’t liked me when I was younger, so why did they seem to like me now? What I would soon understand was not the happiest moment in my life, but it was definitely a defining one.
I was generous with my time, my understanding and my offer to be a support system if she ever needed a friend in her corner. I didn’t think about it at first, but after many months of never getting a call or a message unless I initiated the contact, I began to think I was being overly solicitious to someone that probably had no need of my friendship at all.
One night, thinking she was one of my top buds, I sent a mass text and included her. I was at a concert and wanted to share a photo of the band with my dear friends. A few days later on Facebook she asked me if my cell phone number began with a certain prefix and I told her it did. I asked her if she had a new phone and she replied that she did not. She said she received this text picture from an odd number and was wondering who it was until she saw my pictures of the concert on Facebook.
I stared at the screen in disbelief. All this time, and all the phone chats, and she didn’t even have my number saved in her Contacts?
Standing back and remembering the amount of time and effort I put into trying to show this friend that I cared. made me queasy. I didn’t want to think she was ungrateful, but what else could I possibly think? I didn’t rush to have the “In order to honor our friendship I must tell you that it hurts me when you do this…” conversation with her because at the time I had no idea how to have that kind of conversation with anyone.
There were other clues there that I ignored. When my family was threatened with physical violence and I was trashed by the same maniac on Facebook, she decided to remain friends with both of us. I was uncomfortable with her decision, but not willing to make waves about her choice. Then one day I’m reading that she finally deleted the maniac because he called one of her other friends a name. That was it for her. The maniac was deleted and blocked.
Again I was floored, but once again I didn’t rush to have the “In order to honor our friendship…” conversation. What was the point? How does name calling trump with what I was put through by that idiot? If it’s a straw you’re looking for in order to break the camel’s back, well hell, I gave her an entire forest!
I think the proverbial straw landed squarely on my back that afternoon. Without a word, I ended my connection to this person and I am not looking back. It was as clear as a sunny day to me that there was no respect there and that my presence would never even be missed.
There is something to be said about confronting your toxic relationships in order to make your own personal boundaries stronger. I heartily believe and support being transparent about where I stand in any given situation, however there is also something to be said for having enough respect for yourself to know when a confrontation is nothing more than a waste of your time.
A good friend told me that no matter how I feel about a situation when it’s happening, that I need to consider myself first. I need to think about why it bothers me. I need to consider what it will cost me to pursue it and I need to walk away from it with love and with grace.
So when you get a wake up call about how much a friend devalues your friendship, don’t spend any more of your time trying to make them value you. That’s time you can spend honoring the friends that already think you’re the best and those are the ones that will not only have your name in their Contact list, they’ll text you back that night with a “Woohoo girlfriend!”
- A word on virtual friendships. (talkaboutcheesecake.wordpress.com)
- Drawing a line in the sand (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Friendship – An Emotional Relationship Between Two Persons (nonaknowsbest.wordpress.com)
- Friendship (skittishsmittish.wordpress.com)
- Friendship Defined (auroramorealist.wordpress.com)
- Friendship, Hateship by Eva Wiseman (lazybookworm.wordpress.com)
- Friendship – what does it mean? (saphor6.com)
- Following, Friending, and Fighting: The Rules of Friendships Online (blogher.com)
- Confidence – the magical ingredient (earlyinitiative.wordpress.com)
- acknowledge and move on (bugandthesweetbanana.typepad.com)