This hashtag has been trending on Twitter for several hours now and I’ve spent some time reading hundreds of responses. Some, as is to be expected, are funny (but not to be taken seriously)… Others, however, I found to be quite poignant, and in some ways, very relatable.
My friendships mean more to me than most things. I have friends from lots of areas of my life, from acquaintances that I know through others, to those who know my deepest, innermost thoughts and who have been with me through my happiest and darkest times. Some I have known for over twenty years, others I have met in the last year. A few are school, college friends or university friends, some are former colleagues, one or two I even met randomly while standing outside a pub having a cigarette. I will speak to some just four or five times a year on the phone and we’ll talk like we saw each other yesterday, while I will meet others every week, month or half-term. I’ve celebrated with them as they have married, bought houses, had children. I’ve looked after their homes and pets, picked up prescriptions, lent money, got drunk with them, helped them move, seen shows and concerts with them (who could forget the great New Kids On the Block revival of 2009!), played in hundreds of gigs with them, watched them play in ice-hockey matches, been in the audience of their comedy stand-up, been on holiday with them. I’ve been to funerals of their family members, who I loved and respected dearly as if they were my own, and in a way, they were.
And they have done the same, if not more, for me, and I am reminded regularly just how lucky I am to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. Admittedly, I can be rubbish at keeping in contact and remembering birthdays, but they’ve stuck with me, and I love them for it.
Unfortunately, there have been many times where I have found myself hurt by people that I considered to be real friends. It used to really bother me – as someone who can be quite irrational and quick tempered, I would become angry and lose sleep obsessing about what I felt they had done to me and how wrong they were in their actions. I made myself the victim in every scenario, blowing up every part of an argument out of all proportion in my mind.
It took a long time to realise that in every disagreement there are usually three versions of an event: theirs, mine, and what actually happened. In most cases I generally follow the same process in the rare occasion that a confrontation occurs:
1. I take some time to calm down. In the past, I have said things that I have later regretted, and don’t wish to be in that situation again.
2. Once the anger has subsided, I try and think about the situation from an outside perspective. Am I being irrational? Was my behaviour hurtful? Is there something I need to be apologising for?
3. In the inevitable follow-up conversation, I will usually take the time to apologise for hurting their feelings or letting them down if I truly believe it warrants it and my apology is sincere. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, and believe me when I say that I’ve made many in my time.
4. I accept their apology, and do not bring up the argument again.
However, there have been certain times when I have had to adopt a ‘removal’ policy. It may sound harsh, but in extreme incidents something in my brain switches off and I stop wanting to have any form of contact with them. This involves immediate and complete removal from all aspects of life, including social media and some have done the same with me.
Isn’t it strange that the ultimate statement of ‘we are no longer friends’ is a deletion from Facebook?
This usually happens at the point of no return:
- When dealing with narcissists – and by this I mean those who could genuinely be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, not people with slightly inflated egos. I have unfortunately been suckered in by two or three of these types and taken several emotional beatings over a long period of time before I have finally decided that enough is enough.
- When dealing with someone who harbours a grudge about a mistake they feel you may have made and will bring it up when it suits them.
- When dealing with those who consistently take without giving anything back.
- When dealing with someone who has consistently proven to be untrustworthy in what they say to and about you. Unfortunately, I have also had my fair share of experiences with pathological liars.
- When dealing with someone who cannot differentiate between laughing ‘with’ and ‘at’ someone – those who get a kick out of being cruel, often at your expense.
- When dealing with those who have deliberately done something to cause trouble. Even in my ’30’s I’m still amazed at grown adults who will go out of their way to hurt someone else without any provocation. It’s happened to me on a few occasions and I’m still surprised at how floored I feel when it happens.
- And finally… When dealing with those that you just don’t want to connect with anymore. I was quite surprised a few months ago when I received the second friendship request in six months on Facebook from someone that I used to know years ago who hurt me very badly. We haven’t spoken in nearly ten years and while I have forgiven her for her actions (you wouldn’t believe the stuff she got up to) I haven’t forgotten what she did to me – why would I want to reconnect now and reintroduce the chaos that follows her everywhere she goes?
As vomit inducing as it may sound, a friend is there because you want them to be, and because your life is enhanced positively by their presence. Some may leave along the way, but that’s not the end of the story… It’s simply the end of their part in your story…
What about you guys? Why are you no longer friends with someone?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.