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.
Here’s a good one: I’m no longer friends with someone because they stiffed us on 6 months worth of rent, and because their cat clawed up and sprayed everything nice we owned.
Oh dear I can relate to being stiffed for money! Sorry you had to go through that!
No worries. We definitely learned from that experience.
Excellent, excellent post, Suzie! I can relate to soooo much of what you are saying! I am not friends with a number of people primarily because I finally (and it took years in some cases) got tired of being taken advantage of by those who took my kindness for weakness. I suppose as I am writing this I realize they weren’t friends at all. I find that when you allow people to treat you a certain way, when you put a stop to it, they get very defensive. It’s almost as if (and I am speaking about myself here) they prefer it when there isn’t an argument about anything; they get their own way. Sorry to go on! Cher xo
I couldn’t agree more! When you are considered to be a doormat and then stand up for yourself people insinuate that it’s you that has the problem, not the fact that their treatment of you caused the problem in the first place!
Brilliantly stated, Suzie! That is precisely it! I know the doormat feeling all too well. Yes, isn’t it ‘interesting’ how people do that? They don’t like it when others begin to stand up for themselves!!
And then accuse you of making it a problem!
Exactly! Which is bloody well why I am not friends with them anymore! *LOL* 😉
1. They only wanted to use me and moved on when they were done.
2. No longer “good enough” for them as they make changes in their life or career, etc.
3. Always taking and never giving.
Yup, I can totally relate to that!
I try to differentiate between “friends” and acquaintances that I happen to be friendly with. This may be a guy think but I only have a handful of people who I truly consider friends, and those are people who I feel I can always rely on, and who can always rely on me. For those people, the loss of that sort of friendship is always very difficult to process.
But I think your list is a really good one. One of the items that stands out for me is “dealing with those who consistently take without giving anything back”. I don’t think any relationship is ever 50-50, but there needs to be effort and value placed on the relationship by both parties. If that’s not the case over an extended period, eventually I will walk away.
Absolutely – you can only give so much before you take a step back and realise that you’re being taken for a mug…
Looking back through the lens of times, it usually boils down to someone I thought was a friend didn’t back me up when I needed their support.
Totally – or I’ve backed them up and they’ve turned on me…
I really found this though-provoking and had me thinking about friendships that have ended in recent years. I’m very nostalgic for friendships, I do not like letting them go. However, I found that when morals are involved, I can quickly let it go. Most of my friendships from high school ended because although they were great fun and we tried to stick by one another, the drama and rumors of the group got to be too much (basically, they had a bad reputation among the parents of our small town) and I just found that having fun, does not mean that they are good for me or my future. So, we went our separate ways and although our parents are friendly, and we are nice to one another, that closeness just isn’t there. I think that I’ve gotten to a point where I have an amazing group of friends from each stage of my life, and although I’ll never turn down making a friend, I know where to draw the line with how tight I want that relationship to be, I’m better at reading where they’ll fit in in my “friend circle” (we all have one: acquaintance, friendly, work friends, close friends). I hope I do not have to cut anyone (or that I do not get cut!) anytime soon, I’m very fond of the group I have surrounded myself with.
I think if they are true friendships then you’ll never have to worry about cutting anyone out… My school days were a bit traumatic and although I’m still in touch with some, there are only two that I keep in touch with regularly
I agree that there comes a point when it is better to just cut people out of your life altogether, esepcially those that put you down to make themselves look good! 🙂
Absolutely! I’ve done that a few times and have never look back! Removing the toxic makes life so much more simple!
I only have a small circle of close friends, so for me, it mostly comes down to whether or not I believe the friend is putting in the same level as I am to maintain the friendship. If I feel that I am the only one pulling the relationship along, I will eventually let go.
Breaking my trust is another quick way to do it as I do often forgive, but I don’t always forget.
I’m with you – once trust is broken I find it very difficult to come back from that…
Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
Suzie speaks published an extraordinary blog post which I personally think is important to all of us who love their friends. I admire her writing and her efforts to explain her personal feelings in this article.
Thank you for the reblog!
It’s my pleasure! 🙂
I’ve lost friends due to time and distance but often reconnected. Being a true friend is work, but the repayment makes it well worth the effort.
I know what you mean – there are a few friends that i value dearly but never seem to make the effort to stay more in contact with them! I think I need to do more of that this year! Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
Three of my five closest friends I’ve known since we were teenagers. And now we are old enough to have teenagers of our own! We talk several times a month and hang out often. I really would do anything for them.
I wish there was a hashtag #IwishIknewwhywearentfriends. I have a former friend who I also met as a teenager. We were very close and did everything together. I was in his wedding. One day he just stopped taking my calls and totally shut me out. There was no fight, there were no issues (that I was aware of) between myself and his new wife. Everyone got along. There was no clear reason for his shunning me. I sent him a hand written letter asking for a chance to apologize for whatever it is I did to offend him, because honestly, I have no idea what caused this. He never replied and I have not spoken to him in about 20 years.
He now owns a successful local business and has a social media presence. I could contact him anytime I want. But I don’t, because it would be stalker-ish and creepy. He does not want me. I accept that. I do wish he would reach out to me. I would love to hear from him and embrace the chance to restart the friendship.
I don’t expect I’ll ever figure out what I did that was so horrible that he abruptly terminated a ten year friendship. But for my own personal growth I sure would like to know.
I totally understand why you feel like that Chris – I had someone do that to me after a very long friendship and at first it ripped my guts out… I came to the decision that after everything i had done for them they weren’t worth my time. Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
Reading this got me thinking about my BFF of twenty-plus years. We were in grade school together, and I am (was?) godmother to both her boys. We stopped speaking ten years ago over something that shouldn’t have destroyed a friendship like ours. She was a workaholic, often working 80+ hours a week, and in her early 30s, she had a stroke. She vowed to slow down and enjoy her life but it didn’t happen. I tried everything (along with other family members) to get her to take better care of herself. She got angry at me one day, because I was trying to plan a vacation for she and I, and our spouses. She was too busy working to call me back to confirm a date, and the reservation fell through. I got angry, and she got angry, and we stopped speaking. A month or so passed, and I sent her a card. It said ‘what happened to us, please call me’… Her husband told me she received it, opened it, and threw it in the trash. I miss her still, every day, and remain hurt and confused. I think there must have been other issues at work, but I’ll never know what they are, and what could have destroyed a friendship that, until then had gone on without even a slight disagreement. I think in spite of everything, if she were to reach out, I would definitely want to reconnect.
That’s really sad, and I’m sorry you had to experience that! I think you’re very nice to want to still reconnect – I know that after being treated like that I wouldn’t want anything to do with them ever again. Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
Great post, Susie! I have seen many friends come and go. Some of the situations were hurtful, but some of them were just a result of us drifting down separate streams. There are some people I refuse to reconnect with, even on social media, because we just don’t have anything in common anymore. Fortunately, I have only had a few major partings, one of them as recently as last year. That relationship had been going on for 10 years and losing it was like a punch in the gut. Looking back, I still don’t understand exactly what went wrong, but the emotional abuse that was being doled out on me was simply inexcusable. When it ended, it nullified both a business relationship and a friendship. That was tough, but necessary. I still have not gone back to that person to apologize or even attempt to make heads or tails of it. The thought of letting that back into my life in any way makes me feel physically ill. Anyway, all that being said, I can take a lot of things, but someone who claims to be a friend, yet verbally and emotionally abuses you, is not a true friend and has to go.
I totally agree, and I’m really sorry you had to experience that! It’s so tough when long-term friends feel hat they can treat you like that, and there has to be a point where you turn round and tell them enough is enough. I can think of several people that have treated me very badly and i wouldn’t want them back in my life either… Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I ended a 15 year friendship about a year ago. Just ended it. Boom. No explanation. I got tired of her using her tongue to slice and dice me after her divorce. Her husband used to be the target — I guess I was the next closest thing.
So sorry about the late reply, I’ve had a mountain of comments about this and I’m just catching up now! I did sort of the same thing with someone a few years ago, but i told her in a single conversation after she’d behaved particularly badly that I had no interest in being in contact with her anymore.
Great post Suzie. My solution is simple. My friends need to be furry and have four legs. 🙂
Couldn’t agree more!
Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
Gautama Buddha came up with the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; Sangha pretty much means that it is critical that we keep the right company. What does that mean to me? That my friends support me on my highest path, and vice versa.
Please read Suzie’s interesting post on the reasons she decides to “unfriend”….and let us know what drives YOU to “unfriend”. (That said, whenever I am forced to do such a thing, I make it a point to send that person light especially during my daily formal spiritual practice – that way I don’t feel guilty for doing what I felt I had to do!!!)
I had a very dear friend once. Someone I would have said was one of my best friends. She was the partner of one of my husband’s friends. When they broke up (after seven years together), she basically turned her back on me in favour of her new life (she already had a new partner). It was a tough time, but the silver lining was that I realised how wonderful my other friends were, as they rallied around to support me. She approached me through FB a little while ago – I accepted her friend request simply because I was curious about her life now. She has liked some of my posts, I have liked some of hers, but that’s as far as it goes, as it turns out I still had some unresolved feelings about the whole thing. So it was good that we reconnected, even superficially, as it forced me to confront them.
I think this hashtag is quite poignant, as broken friendships are painful things.
I think that you were very good to accept them on social media – I certainly wouldn’t be mature enough to do that haha! Are you going to confront the issues with her or just leave it? Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I thought about asking her, but then I really feel that it’s up to her if she wants to make the overture to discuss it. In some ways, her contacting me felt like a sort of apology – maybe that’s just me though. So for now I’m content to leave it 🙂
Probably best… To be fair, she probably is the sort of person that doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong…
Yes, I found out later it seemed to be a pattern of behaviour in her life. Her ex-partner and I discussed the fact that she broke up with both of us, really. So while I was intrigued to see what she’d done since, I don’t think I can take it any further at the moment. However, I think it’s been a lesson for me, and a reminder that I had some unresolved feelings I needed to address, so that’s positive 🙂
Absolutely – everything is a lesson learned!
I guess by my age I’ve whittled the list down to those who have a sense of humour. I’ll pretty much forgive most things if they laugh at my jokes or they make me laugh. I don’t have enough years left to be bored. On a serious note (shame!) the main reason I stop involving myself with someone is because I find their opinions on certain topics intolerable and rather explode with what I’d consider righteous indignation I just fade into the background.
Thanks Geoffle! I know what you mean – I was having a discussion with a friend the other day and she had been quite put off someone because of their views on things… Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
Silly billy. There’s no such thing as a late reply, only a deeply considered one!
Haha! I like that – I’m going to use it in the future!
Yes, “enhanced positively.” That is so very true. I hold on to friendships that no longer serve, but am going to change my ways.
Thanks so much Carol, and please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up! Have you made any decisions about what you’re going to do?
The hardest thing to was to face my attraction to narcissists. I had to face that my problem with friends was them, it was who I was attracted to.
Ooh don’t even get me started on narcissists! The problem is with narcs, they’re so charming and friendly to start with that they sucker you in and then slowly get their claws under your skin to a point where it’s you that ends up apologising for their bad behaviour! Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
A very good post. There is probably several people I should not be around or talk to. Unfortunately some of those people are family. Makes it hard to just walk away at times. And to know just how to handle things.Stay safe and have a good week.
I think it’s so difficult when it’s family members. I experienced a similar thing for years with some o mine, and it took me saying I didn’t want any more contact for them to start behaving themselves. Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I am always playing catch up. Especially since I took a break from the computer and blogging until now. I am just now getting back on.
I have had friends with whom I lost touch for YEARS, but when we met up again we picked right up where we left off. I’ve also had friends who asked me for counsel but didn’t like the counsel I gave or didn’t like that I sought a solution rather than taking sides, thus, the ‘friend’ removed me from their social circle. The reason I choose certain people to be friends is because they give the impression that they will be your true friend for life. Many times that doesn’t work out, but for a small group it has been true. The biggest reason I’m not friends with some, is because they have decided I wasn’t worth their time (sincerity, after all, can be time intensive).
But that’s just me.
I think strong friendships develop with time, but unfortunately time also shows the faults that a friend has and these can build up… Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
No worries. True friends might point out our faults and allow us to point out theirs, but true friendships grow through the storms of relational ups and downs.
A great thought provoking post. Regarding the question no longer being friends with someone – as I get older, I find time is more valuable to me than money and I hate it when someone tries to waste my time. I ditched a friend a couple of years back because she would turn up at my house unannounced with some new drama that she wanted to talk about for hours and hours. I used to drop whatever I was doing and allow her to waste my time with whatever drama it happened to be on the day. She would sit there quite happily while I made phone calls on her behalf trying to sort out stuff she claimed she couldn’t deal with herself. But nothing I did ever lead to her moving forward because she wasn’t taking responsibility for herself and her actions. Then one day, as I saw her car pull up, I decided I’d had enough. I opened the door and said ‘I am really busy, I can give you ten minutes a then I must get on.” She looked at me as if I had slapped her. She came in and started another drama story and I simply stopped her after 10 minutes and said I wasn’t able to devote any more time to her life and she left. I only have people in my life now who are emotionally mature, drama free and understand that conversations are a bit about me and a bit about you. Enjoyed your post and the comments it prompted.
I think that’s certainly the best way to deal with it. I’ve done similar things and then realised that when I needed them, it wasn’t reciprocated! Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
Amazing post! It took me years to let go of the people in my life who were seeing my kindness as an invitation to take advantage. So many who when I changed my behaviour and stood up for myself, I got anger and nothing else directed back. I had an encounter today which made me realise I have to let someone go and I was feeling guilty over that. Reading your post has reminded me why it needed to happen. I’m so glad Cher’s Blog Party directed me here. Thank you so much!
Thanks Laura! Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up! How are things now? What happened?
I am no longer friends with a person who betrayed my trust. I didn’t seek retribution in any form. I didn’t actively hate them or wish them ill will. I just hit the “unfriend” button and erased them from my mind.
I am no longer friends with my ex-husband who lied, cheated, gave me an incurable disease and treated me like garbage. He is the father of my four children but there is no room for friendship.
He wouldn’t talk divorce but he wanted the kind of friendship that would allow him to bring his OW to my house, sleep with her in my bed and “hang out together.” I hit the “unfriend” button and erased him from my life. Works for me.
Wow. What a truly horrible person. So sorry you have had to go through all that, and thanks so much for being brave enough to share it! Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I went through a really bad patch of depression a while back and a group of women who I thought would support me, turned their back on me. I am still not sure to this day whether it was because I was being a horrible cow (I was) or whether they were being bitches. Either way I removed them from my life,
So sorry about the late reply. I’m really sorry you had to go thorugh that. do you feel better now you have go rid of them?
I do now, I was honest about what I was going through and when I deleted them, not one of them got it touch and so I think it was for the best. I did the same to lots of people and some have made sure they remained a fixture in my life
Sounds like it was the best thing to do… It’s a shame though!
It is, but I was given the advice, when you go down into the lowest place you have ever been, would those people be there to pay your bills. Its not worth your mental health, it sound selfish, but it is true
Couldn’t agree more
Most of the time, friendships expire because we both change so much and no longer have anything in common. We stop communicating and I realize I don’t miss that person. Or at least, I don’t mind who that person has become. But I’ll always think fondly of them and of the relationship we once had. Just because it’s ended doesn’t mean I must carry a grudge.
However, one friend betrayed me so badly that I can’t forgive her. We’d been friends for many years. Then I found she used me to hide from her husband the affair she was having with another, also married, man. It cost me dearly, the loss of friends and respect of a large group of people, all of whom knew about the affair months earlier than I knew. Guess I’m naive and too trusting. Still, I stood by her side for several more years.
What finally broke me was the realization that she couldn’t tell me the truth about anything.She fabricated the most outrageous stories and the most ridiculous excuses. I probably should have gathered that someone who used me to hide her affair had no respect or any real affection for me. I’d been handy. And when I didn’t want to be handy any longer, I broke off the friendship and have not looked back. Until you posted this, I hadn’t thought of her for years.
Here’s to sincere and trustworthy friendship. All others find the door.
Oh my gosh that’s awful! How did she use you? Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
She told her husband, also my friend, that she was with me when she was with her lover. Disgusting behavior all around. I’m too much of a deer in the headlights, still stammering in the glare after I’ve been run over.
As usual your timing is perfect! I’ve been driving myself crazy about a friend who let me down. Every tiny thing is now inflated to an elephant sized issue! I’ve spent years making excuses for her ’emotional vampirism’ but not any more! Thank you for giving me some clarity X
So pleased that I could help. I know what you mean – sometimes things build up far more than they would have normally because things haven’t been resolved and they just get added to! How are things now? Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I’ve had to unfriend a couple of family members specifically for five of your bullet items. I’m the one with the problem, of course, not them. That backbone I grew interfered with their plans to treat me like usual.
Good on you! I always find it strange when you get the blame for changing the way you allow someone to treat you, rather than them looking at their own behaviour!Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up!
I’m just now seeing this, so we’re good. 😉
Very interesting reading all your post Suzie It is wonderful tor have Friendship with as many as you can it makes your life interesting and feeling you a part of there life is even nicer. You Friend
Because they didn’t believe my anxiety was real. They didn’t think it could get as bad as it did. They thought “we’ve been friends for 3 years, how could you suddenly be anxious around us??” When I tried to explain, they just didn’t buy it. One of them unfriended in life, but also on FB, on her birthday. Guess it was a gift to herself.
Please forgive the late reply – I’ve had an epic amount of comments on this post and I’m still catching up! So sorry you had t experience that – you would think that friends would be the first people to understand and ask what they can do to help…