by Madeline Laughs
I love what this particular meme says, because this is very true. When you’re much younger, having oodles of friends from different and varied walks of life is crucial. You are developing your own certain style and discovering who it is you want to include in your life. As you age, those groups will start to whittle away and the numbers will decrease. This is you coming into your own. This is you realizing who your true tribe will be until the end of your days.
There have been times in my life when a friendship has just ended without any explanation at all. I am always hesitant to question them when this occurs because unless I know I have offended them, then I’m never exactly sure what’s really going on. I know my reasons for quietly ending friendships and if that’s the case, then I also know it can’t be fixed. When I have stopped being friends with someone and took a quiet exit, I always hope they won’t notice and confront me. I’d like to just fade away. I can certainly do that too when the roles have been reversed and I’m the one that gets left behind.
When you finally notice that a friend has basically disappeared from your life, it can be upsetting at first. You wonder what you did or said that could have caused them to stop participating in your life. You notice they don’t call, they don’t text and they take their time returning your calls, if they ever do call back. You also start to notice they no longer include you in dinner parties or festive outings. They leave you out of the important life cycle gatherings like a new home, baby or getting married.
Suddenly you realize that they just aren’t there, even though they probably haven’t been there for a very long time and you are just becoming aware of it. All those quaint sayings like; “A really good friend is someone you can go for six months without talking to, and you start up just like you saw each other yesterday.” kind of fall flat when a friend has taken an exit with no intention of returning six months later to chat with you again.
What should you do once you realize your friend is not your friend anymore?
There are oodles of advice on this subject on the Interwebs. Most of them suggest talking to your friend about the problem, but it has been my experience that if you point out their absence, most people that have decided they don’t really like being around you will take the easy way out. They will tell you nothing is wrong. They’re just been busy lately. They’ll call you soon and make a date.
Don’t hold your breath.
Don’t waste your time.
Unless you have offended them and you owe them an apology, there is nothing you can ever do to make someone want to be your friend. The solution is as plain as the nose on your face.
It’s fine to be sad that the friendship ended. It’s also healthy to consider what you possibly did, or didn’t do, to contribute to the demise. But whatever you do, do not sit around too long and invest yourself in a situation that you really have no control over. The only person you do control is you and how you react. Once I stop to consider if I did something wrong and try to make amends if I did, and that doesn’t change things, then I move on.
Most often when people drop out of our lives it has nothing at all to do with us. More importantly, if it was their decision to drop out then what you should be telling yourself is that not being your friend is their loss, not yours.
On the other side of this, if it was your decision to drop a friend then do it respectfully. Don’t play games with people’s hearts and don’t purposefully try to hurt their feelings just to get some attention from them. If I see someone out that I was once close to, but I had dropped them because I realized I didn’t like them very much after getting to know them, I am always cordial. I treat them just as nicely as I ever did, but when they press me to get together I always tell them I’m busy. If they ask me if there’s a problem, I always tell them no, because the one thing I have learned from experience is that if I don’t like someone, then there’s no reason to ever hurt their feelings by discussing why. Besides some people can get crazy.
If the person was ever a good friend in the beginning, wouldn’t you have known there was a problem right away? A good friend, one worth keeping, is someone that has no problem communicating with you, rather than quietly fading out of your life, or allowing you to disappear from theirs. I know this to be true.
The great thing about people is there are literally millions of friends waiting to love you and who knows…the next friend may be the best friend you’ve ever had!
I recently wrote to someone that never engaged me at all on social media. I was intrigued why they would want to be connected to me if they were never going to say anything to me. I could see them engaging with other people, or else I wouldn’t have noticed they never said anything to me. I genuinely love this person with a piece of my heart and have shared meals and good conversations with deep respect. So, I had to know why this was the way it is.
What this person wrote back to me is so incredibly profound that I’m going to share it with you verbatim. I hope reading this changes your life and the way you think and feel about friendships. I know it surely changed mine.
“Noted, and that is not a good thing on me. I like your food stuff always and your thoughtfulness in your life observations I often find envious. I read them and respect them. Just like now when you have made an observation and properly acted on it. I feel valued. You have a blog I think with even more of your thoughts. You are more daring than I am. Friends confront one another. Thank you and I like it.”
Even though I have had days to process this nugget of pure wisdom, reading it today still makes the tears press hard behind my eyelids until they spill down my cheeks. Not because it makes me sad though and not because it is even about me. I feel this overwhelming flood of emotion because this gives me hope. Reading this again and again will continue to renew my faith in human beings for a very long time.
Dare to tell someone you love them and that you miss them being in your life, because this is the most valuable of all treasures we have to give one another. Should you be on the receiving end of such love, open your arms wide and let the love rush in. To be a friend is to be the best you can be.