Ups and downs of friendships … My own story….

It’s actually very common for friendships to end. The main reason is usually you’ve simply grow apart. This can make it challenging when you were once joined at the hip. What makes the end of a friendship hard to swallow is the closure aspect. How did the friendship end? Did it end with an argument over differences or was it an abrupt ending? Sometimes you actually do not even know why a friendship ends, it just does. Whenever something traumatic happens to us we tend to need closure and in some situations though we are not able to find closure.

I recently went through this with one of my friends. The months leading up to the fallout were confusing times because I had reached out several times trying to mend the relationship. Here my story and maybe you can relate to it.

I had this friend who moved here from out of state in 2013. We instantly hit it off and became instant friend spending every Monday together getting margaritas at our favorite place. On Thursday we ventured out to different spots in the city. With her being new to Chicago and not knowing anyone and me struggling with other relationships we certainly leaned on each other. After about a year or so I moved away to Nashville and the friendship didn’t end. In fact we got closer and were each other’s rock. I decided to move back to Chicago 6 months later and we picked up where we left off. In fact we got even closer after she went through a terrible breakup with her now ex-boyfriend.

It was at this time our friendship really shifted. For months after her breakup we became inseparable spending 3-4 nights a week hanging out and having sleep overs. We even discussed moving in with each other. We would make plans to go all sorts of places but mainly bars and restaurants because we loved our cocktails. We ended up scrapping the idea of moving in with each other to avoid issues in our friendship. A decision now I am so grateful for.

Around the summer of 2016 we both moved into the same neighborhood and both started new jobs. We kept saying to each other that our new lives were going to be so much better. She was doing a lot better after her breakup and even started dating again. We slowly started to see less of each other but still hung out 2 times a week. I actually was feeling a bit overwhelmed with our relationship and how much time we were spending together so I had a conversation with a friend and decided to scale it back just to protect our friendship. I wasn’t trying to disconnect, but further develop this new life I was about to have. I wanted to put myself out there and she wanted to put herself out there.

Right before I moved tragedy struck at home and in my own personal relationship. Now more than ever I needed a friend. Numerous attempts to reach out for help to get through this tough time were made but I never felt I received the support needed. I was taken back because a year prior I was her rock when she needed it but why she my rock. I understood we both had new lives and that we both were overwhelmed with our new jobs but things got worse when in the fall when a second tragedy struck in my life. At this point I needed her. I would reach out and receive nothing. In fact I even had three conversations prior to our later winter fallout where I tried to explain how I needed support. Our hangouts now had become every other week with and the final two months of our friendship we saw each other 3 times. Of course I had become extremely confused and upset. I didn’t understand why my “best friend” wasn’t there for me when I was there for her and I made sure I tried to tell her this. In very early Jan I decided to write a no send letter. You know one of those letters where you pour out everything and safe it for yourself.

Well…. I didn’t save it for myself. In fact I sent the letter via email to her. At that moment I knew that this could either be good or bad. I thought it would go good because she always said communication was her thing. She loved being able to talk things out. I witnessed this first hand. I also witnessed firsthand though that when she is in the wrong she will not take accountability and find a way to blame the other person. It’s a defense mechanism. I’ve seen it in her relationship with her ex and with her family. So I was not sure how my letter would be received.

After two weeks of no response to my intense letter I decided to write another. In both letters I took some accountability for the distance in our friendship. How could I not. I understand I am stubborn and I understand I can be a pain. I also didn’t want to come off like I was attacking her character although her character at this point wasn’t a very good one.

The second letter fell on deaf ears and then was followed up with a text.

“Happy Friday, I hope all is going well and I hope we can talk soon. Let me know if that is something you want to do”.

I was hoping at this point I would finally get an answer. There was no attack on her character and definitely no sign of me being upset. I was but I was ready to bury the hatchet. I didn’t want to ever establish the same relationship again with her but I did want to at least be able to pass each other in the streets without a feeling of animosity or tenseness.

To my surprise but not my surprise I didn’t get a text back. In fact the airwaves were silent. I grew to be very furious with her and at this point demanded an explanation. How do you end a friendship with silence? How do you treat your friend with such blatant disrespect? I was there for you when you needed it most and now that I needed a friend you are nowhere to be found.

At this point I was suffering some health issues and going through it alone. I wasn’t dying or anything but I did need surgery and I needed a friend. Someone who lived close who could help me out and I didn’t have it. I remember feeding her cat and spending time at her house when she was away because that’s what friends do. Now I didn’t have that friend to return the favor and I was sick and needed help. After I had to have a major surgery, again not life threatening but life changing I decided to write one more letter.

To my surprise I finally got a response. And it was the weirdest and most hurtful response ever. As I mentioned earlier she would either accept fault or find me to be at fault. At boy was her response all about her and how I am a horrible person singed “Please don’t ever contact me again and have a nice life”.

Now we all know that was the worst response and ending to her very short and very non apologetic email for everything. It infuriated me and me being the person I am decided to respond and let her know that now I was coming for her character. I wasn’t rude and mean but I pointed out that this did reflect badly on her and her character. How could it not? She handled the situation from the start completely wrong. How could the one person who I was so close to not respect me enough to apologize or help me understand what happened. Was I being too needy when I was going through a tough time or was she simply using me and had moved on? I would hate that she used me but when I reflect back on her previous relationships I started to see a pattern. In fact she would make comments about mutual friends where she would say “So and so is a great friend because they will do whatever I want”. Now this is shitty to say about a friend but that was her.

I will never know why she grew distant because she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. We have mutual friends and I don’t ask them if they know anything because I don’t want to put them in a situation but I do know she has shared her side of the story with them because they have mentioned small details to me. The only person I want to know the story from is her. I feel our friendship owes me that. I also like to think that if I did something wrong I could work on it for future relationships. She for sure needs to know because our issues seem to be a constant theme in her life. She was the one who had mentioned that to me previously during one of our conversations.

What I have learned from this experience is that friends come and go. You have times with friends that are intense and others were they are distant. I have also learned that sometimes great friendships even best friends don’t always live up to your expectations. Sometimes they disappoint you but you should never keep that to yourself. I don’t regret my letters or my many failed conversations with her because in the end the relationship was turning toxic and she turned out not to be the friend I thought she was.

I feel that moving forward I learned a great deal about friendships from this experience and about myself. Moving forward I know the kinds of people I want in my life and I know the kind of person I want to be in other people’s lives.

 

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