But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other, gold.
It has no end
That’s how long
I’m gonna be your friend.
It warms the heart.
We’ve been friends,
From the very start.
And I’ll help you
We will see it through.
The Earth is green
I can help
To keep it clean.
Across the sea
We will always be.
The topic of friend breakups has been showing up a lot in my life lately. Is it the same for you? It’s a topic that friends are discussing. It’s a topic a book author just asked me about in a recent interview. It’s a topic I’ve discussed with close family and friends alike, and strangely enough, it’s still a topic that doesn’t get discussed in depth the way partner breakups do. Even though, for a lot of people, a breakup with a close friend can be more traumatic than the breakup with a partner.
Now that I’m in my 40s, I’ve had my share of friendship breakups over the years (and I think most woman by this point in their lives have had some as well). I’ve had the “we don’t have anything in common anymore, have slowly grown apart and finally gone our own ways” friendship breakups as well as the ones where one of us has moved away and we don’t want to stay in close contact anymore (although we may or may not choose to stay “friends” on social media, occasionally liking of commenting on each other’s posts, as social media makes things easy in that way). Also the “I find you kind of annoying and don’t want to spend time with you anymore” or the “you said or did something hurtful, and although I have come to forgive you (more or less), I don’t want to be friends anymore” breakups. Some of these friend breakups have been initiated by me, and some by the other friend, but I would say we both generally knew when things were not clicking any more in the relationship, and so the ending of these relationships were not overly shocking to either one of us.
As I’m writing this and reflecting on the friend breakups I’ve experience throughout my life, I realized that the ones that I almost always initiated were the ones where my time was not valued by the other person. Have you experienced this too? Time really is one of our most precious commodities, so if it isn’t being respected by a friend, over and over and over again, it’s really worth looking at that relationship more closely to see what you’re really getting out of it. These are the relationships where the other person is always late. I’m not talking about occasionally being just a few minutes late (as I’m often guilty of this as well), I’m talking about the people who show up to an important event over an hour (or more!) late. The people who talk and talk and talk some more and don’t give you any air time to talk about your life and how you’re doing. The people who ask you to do one favor for them and then another and another, and when you ask them to return the favor, they look at you like you’re crazy and have no problem saying no they just can’t help you out.
Yes, some of these dynamics are the givers versus the takers in life, but it also goes so much deeper than that too. If a friend only see you from the angle of what you can do for them, such as run their errands, listen to every single little detail of their latest life drama and put their wants and needs in life in front of yours, every single time, then it’s time to reevaluate things. As scary as it can be to end a friendship, especially a friendship with someone who has been in your life for a LONG time, these endings can also be beginnings as well. These endings can open up space in your life. Space that can be filled with healthier, more fulfilling, more balanced friendships; friendships with people who want to spend time with you because of the person you are, not just because you’re a nice and kind and helpful person who will help someone out when they ask (again and again and again).
So, what is it you’re really looking for in your close friendships? As you look around, are these the people you surround yourself with in your life? If not, how would you feel about making some changes? Scared? Worried? Sad? What would it be like to look this fear in the face, and make these hard changes anyway? To open up space in your life for the right people, and the healthy and supportive friendships that you truly deserve in your life!
Today, I’m thankful for the friends who have come and gone in my life, as I’ve learned something profound about myself from each and every one of them; I’m thankful for the new friends in my life, the people who made space in their lives for me, as I did the same for them. I’m thankful for my forever friends, the ones from childhood and school and adulthood and motherhood, the ones that are here for me when I need them (and vice versa), the ones who truly helped to shaped the person I am today.
In the book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink, the author talks about different aspects of our lives and how timing can make a huge difference. I think this is so true about friendships that last and those that don’t, they can be very dependent on where we are in our lives at that given time.
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