Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, January 7, 2008

Closing a door

It takes a lot of doing to permanently end an unhealthy friendship, especially when the friendship is a long-standing one.

Today I finally cracked and told my former best friend where to get off, after she yet again treated me with distain, contempt and malice, like she has so many times over the years.

We’d been best friends since we were 14, when we were both oddball high-schoolers and had a lot in common – including having no close friends at our respective schools. When we both left school and started at university, I noticed a distinct change in her behaviour towards me. I didn’t know how to define it at the time, but it basically boiled down to the fact that she seemed to have decided that she didn’t have to respect me. She still seemed to seek out my friendship but she didn’t value me personally.

The rot really set in about seven years ago, when the behaviour really became noticeable: failing to seek out contact unless it was useful to her, publicly humiliating me for my commitment to the friendship (such as a loudly sarcastic response to the suggestion that we meet for lunch, etc), dismissing my needs but leaning on me for hers, etc.

I really noticed it back in 2000, when her sole response to my boyfriend breaking up with me was “yeah, that’s why I love my boyfriend, he wouldn’t do that” (irrelevant, but he did do it a few months later).

In 2006 we shared a house for the whole year. This was a mutually beneficial relationship and she behaved nicely most of the time, except when she had some need that could be met elsewhere, in which case I was dirt to be ground under her heel. This led to a lot of arguments in the last month before she went to the country and our house-sharing ended, partly due to the fact that her boyfriend was moving over from Melbourne and she wanted him to just move in to our house, no questions asked.

During these arguments, I still made a massive effort to keep the friendship – even completing a ~$60 ‘care package’ for her to take with her to the country, out of pure concern and care for her.

Today she sent me a bitchy text saying that she wasn’t coming to a dinner party I was having because she didn’t like the way things had ended this time last year. And I simply decided that I’d had enough. If she’s been proudly bearing that grudge all this time and is all anti-me, when even during the argumentative time I was still forgiving her and looking after her . . . she can take her attitude and stick it up whatever orifice she chooses, frankly. I’ve forgiven her a thousand times over for every little insult and brush-off and casual cruelty she’s ever meted out to me. If she doesn’t want to forgive and forget, she clearly doesn’t want me in her life, and I’m not interested in having her in mine.

And I said so.

It hurts like crazy – we’ve not been close for years, apart from the (largely fake on her part?) closeness when house-sharing, but she’s been a constant in my life for the past twelve-and-a-half years – but at the same time, it feels very good. I’m standing up for myself the way I should have years ago.

I should have told her what I thought of her behaviour years ago, the first time she did it, and nipped it in the bud then. But I was too much of a peacemaker, too afraid of ‘losing’ her (when the truth is that she was already lost). I knew as soon as I did it that it was the right decision, and now that I’ve stopped shaking from anger, I’m glad I did it.

It’ll make keeping some other friendships hard – I don’t blame the people who were her friends before they were mine if they drift away (although of course I would never ask them to take sides). But it had to be done, and it feels healthy.


You did the right thing.It's hard, breaking up with a friend-but when they prove themselves to be no friend, it's the only thing to do.
You probably knew, all along, that she was treating you badly.Now you have the courage to say to yourself, "I deserve better than that."
You must be feeling kind of bleak, just now. But if you hadn't taken this step, you'd feel worse.
Sending you good vibes, from cold snowy Canada!

Post a Comment