“In the end, we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have never been the kind of girl who found it easy to make friends. As a little girl, I would play with the other girls in my neighborhood from time to time, but more often than not, I was content to immerse myself in my own little world. I would spend hours playing with my Barbie dolls, or playing pretend along the creek bank. As an only child, I had developed quite an extensive imagination and grew up fairly independent. My extended family was very close, so I spent a lot of time playing with my cousins and I never felt like I was missing out on any particular element of childhood.
Throughout my life, I have learned many lessons, most often the hard way. One of the things that I have learned is that sometimes we have to say goodbye to friendships. Our childhood friends move away. Our close high school friends go to school across the country. Sometimes, we make mistakes and hurt people with our words or actions and, as a result, our friendship never fully recovers. Sometimes we grow in different directions and someone who was once a solid presence in your life, becomes someone you used to know. I don’t think it matters if you are five or thirty-five, this lesson can be tough and sometimes even painful.
I think one of the most important things we can remember is that people often come into our lives for a reason and sometimes only for a season. But how do we deal with the hurt or feeling of letting go of someone who was once so important? I can think of four important things to keep in mind when going through a season of letting go:
- Take responsibility for your part in the end of the era. Maybe you said something you can’t unsay. Words can hurt afterall! Perhaps you were too busy to make a phone call. No matter what your part in the end of the relationship, it’s important to take ownership over what you can control, your own actions. This may or may not involve an apology to your former friend. Sometimes we have to deal with these things on our own, because no matter how much closure you might like to have, you cannot make the other person respond to your messages!
- Let go of the guilt. Once you have taken responsibility for your own actions, you have to let go of the guilt associated with it. Again, you may be going through these steps on your own so you may never hear an apology or be offered forgiveness or closure. But it is important to find closure on your own, otherwise the guilt you feel can seep its way into your current relationships.
- Let go of the hurt. If you’ve been hurt by a former friend, I think you have to accept that you may never get an apology. Holding onto hurt will only cause damage to the new relationships that come your way.
- Be open to what is next. When we lose a friend there are many feelings associated and one of those can be fear of forming new bonds or relationships. But, I think it’s important to maintain faith in people, that ultimately people are good and have good intentions.
I have lost friends along the way. I have had close friends become acquaintances. I have experienced the pain of a best friend becoming someone that I used to know. Sometimes it was my fault. Sometimes it has been a side effect of life. Sometimes two people just grow apart. Lately, a few former friends who were once my anchors in the storm, but have become strangers have been on my mind. I tried reaching out in hopes of finding closure, but alas I didn’t get a response in return! So, I walked through the above steps…again…and I finally have the closure I was looking for. But, no matter what, I would like them to know that I wish them love and light and happiness, even from afar.
I’ve always thought that the idea of “making friends” is weird. It’s like oh hey, I see you like the same bizarro crap I do, let’s hang out! We should be friends! Which can be super easy in the right settings, like school or church or even some jobs. But I think it gets a little harder as you get older, or maybe I’ve just become more jaded! I guess that’s one of the reasons that The Hubs is my best friend…we like the same bizarro crap and he loves me for free…so I don’t have to pretend when I’m just not feeling it!
How have you handled friendships that have fizzled out or ended all together? Drop me a comment below, I would love to hear your take on the situation!
Until Next Time: Peace, Love & Adventures