Friendships are tricky. Sometimes we grow into them and sometimes we grow out of them. Sometimes we give more than we get and sometimes we get more than we give. It’s a bit of a doozy.
We live in the age of what I believe to be “over friendism” meaning that to me, the line between acquaintances and friends has become increasingly blurred. The dictionary tells me that a “friend” is, “a person who you like and enjoy being with.” While Urban Dictionary tells me that a “friend” is, “some one who knows you but loves you anyway.”
And, maybe it’s a mix of both.
Being a friend, a real friend, is a big dealio. It means making sacrifices – time, love, and energy. Being a friend is not always easy. It’s really not. It can be work, a balancing act, just like being part of a couple can be. It’s a relationship, and that’s where friendship deviates from just being an acquaintance for me.
Recently, I have been thinking about when it’s time to let go of a friendship.
I have always been reluctant to see someone as a friend until I am really sure of it, and I think some of that has to do with the fact that when I accept someone as my friend, I consider them as having a pretty major role in my life. By this, I mean – I get invested.
I see my friends as the leading roles in the Broadway adaptation of my life. They are the people that I trust and the people who I would do anything for. I don’t want to “fire” any of them from their role.
In fact, I feel really guilty when I decide to end a friendship – incredibly so. Every part of me thinks how horrible I am for giving up on the person while the other part of me argues that whatever the person has done or has continued to do is really lame.
I sound like middle management.
Honestly though, when is it time to end a friendship? Is it when the friendship becomes more bad than good? Or is when both people just decide to quit?
I guess what I am getting at is, letting go of a friend can be as tough as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You remember all the good things about the person and you want to forgive them, and then you remember your reasons for letting go. It’s an internal war of forgive them versus forget them.
It seems that letting go or being let go is always the risk you assume when you let someone in. The middle ground between being a doormat and putting up with bad friend behavior is gray area, and letting go is a decision that only you are qualified to make.