My motto is this: I maintain open hands and an open heart. I’m free to receive you fully, and I’m also free to release you….fully.
This is a topic that is extremely important, but not discussed enough. I’ve personally shied away from it from many reasons. One, it’s difficult rehashing these things and two, the few people who do approach the topic tend to come off as bitter. I’m in such an amazing space in life right now that I didn’t want to go down any road that would lead to hostility due to conjuring up old feelings. However, several of you have requested this topic so I must oblige. Y’all know I ain't never scared, so let’s get to it. LOL
Here is my biggest lesson, most people are temporary. That’s just a fact. This doesn’t make the experiences less meaningful, or the impacts in your life less significant. It’s just that the chance of keeping all of your friends for all of your life, in the same exact capacity, is slim to none. My bestie always says “the only person you’re guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with is you.” Truer words have never been spoken. I’d rather focus on the good times spent in all relationships, and peacefully move on when those relationships no longer serve me or the other person.
I’d go so far as to say that if more people normalized friendship cycles, the ins and outs, and the brevity of most human relationships, then we wouldn’t experience so much heartache. Society puts such a negative connotation on the ending of relationships that I think most of us have adopted that mindset. Think about how you would feel if you approached relationships with the mindset that I am grateful for this encounter, will learn as much as I can while here, and will release you in love when we can no longer serve each other. My motto is this: I maintain open hands and an open heart. I’m free to receive you fully, and I’m also free to release you….fully.
I strongly believe that more damage is done when we hold on to relationships after we know they’ve expired. We try to make people do what we want them to do. We try to mold people into our idea of a friend. We put our expectations on them, and then often times, end up hurt. Trust me, I’ve been there. At what point do we change up the things that we KNOW don’t work?! I keep saying this and I’ll say it 1,000 more times, but we can’t change people, and we don’t own anyone!
Now all that to say, friendship heartbreak is a real thing. I think we’ve all experienced it a time or two. The friendships that hurt the most when they end are obviously the ones that meant the most. Many of us have lost surface level friendships with people and we were completely unbothered. However, when you lose a best friend or a sister friend, that is total devastation. This is just as painful, if not more, than a romantic break up. I’m going to say it hurts more and here is why. I think that we’ve been conditioned to being hurt in romantic relationships. We enter them fully aware that there is a chance we could break up. Nobody enters a friendship thinking they will break up. Your friends comfort you through your break ups. Who comforts you when you and your long-term comforter break up? So like I said earlier, a different approach to friendship, one with less expectations, will help with processing all of this.
I believe there are different types of friendship breakups. One is the realization that the relationship will never be the same again, and having to accept that, even though it’s not a full break up. It’s a major transition though, often times causing confusion and hurt. The confusion sets in when figuring out how to navigate this new dynamic. You often wonder where and how you fit with this person now, or how/if they still fit with your life. You battle between not wanting to overextend yourself for someone you’re not that close to, but also not completely dropping the ball on what’s left of the fragile relationship. It’s difficult.
The other breakup is usually harsher where all communication is cut and negative feelings towards that person remains. What I’ve noticed though in discussing friendship breakups is that the person telling the story is NEVER wrong! I mean they tell these stories and it’s everyone’s fault under the sun as to what happened. I try my best to always take accountability for my role in any situation. The reality is every relationship requires two people, and very seldom is one person completely innocent.
There are definitely times where one person is a victim, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been one as well and did absolutely nothing to deserve what was done to me, nor did I contribute to it. That’s only happened to me once though. I’ll get into that situation later. However, more times than not, both parties contribute to the breakdown, even if your role is just in response to another person’s actions.
This thought process has helped me to identify the roles that I’ve played in failed friendships. Being able to identify my own roles helped me to let go of some grudges I’d been holding onto. It’s that reminder that says look, that person isn’t perfect the same way you aren’t. It felt similar to how becoming a mother made me forgive my mother once I realized how difficult motherhood really is. That empathy just kicks in.
An example that comes immediately to mind is how I felt an old group of friends treated me once I got pregnant. I had resentment from that for some years. My son is almost nine and let’s just say, I’ve recently made peace with it. Lol The people that I was hanging out with just abruptly stopped inviting me. I would see them on social media out to brunch, happy hour, having crabs, you name it. I would NEVER get invited. However before, I was deemed the life of the party.
It made those relationships feel extremely fake, surface and just for convenience. I was very angry about this and I would tell everyone who would listen. One day as I’m telling my story, I had to be mindful of my audience. I was complaining to my sister, my friend of 25 years – Mary, and I immediately felt a sudden rush of embarrassment. I realized while I was running my mouth that I did the same thing to her! *gasp*
She didn’t say a word, but I felt like a total fool. We were in our early 20s when she had her first child and hunnnyyyy….I was in these streets! LOL I wasn’t thinking about a baby, checking in with anyone, or anything outside of doing hoodrat things with my friends! I had to go back to her and apologize once I had that jolting revelation. I also had to apologize to my other friend Mayumi who fell into that same category. I’ll say it a million times if I need to, and I know they are reading, so I genuinely apologize for neglecting you both during such a vulnerable time. I wasn’t the friend that you deserved in that time due to my own selfishness. It’s something that you just don’t know until you know. I love you both deeply.
I used that example because although I hadn’t done anything to deserve how that friend group treated me, I also had to recognize that it was very easy to do. I didn’t love my friends who I had done that to any less, nor did I have an ounce of malicious intent. So if I know that for me, I could digest it and believe it for the people who offended me. It didn’t hurt any less, but I could accept and even understand that it was selfish on their end, but not malicious towards me. I also had to acknowledge that I was in a different space in life, and my interests had changed drastically. They wanted to talk about boys and clubs. I wanted to talk about baby stuff and furniture for my house. Connection was rather difficult to maintain.
In navigating several different relationships, with all different dynamics, I’ve realized that most people think too highly of themselves, myself included. We think that everyone is out to get us, everyone is talking about us, everything is thinking about us, and the reason that they did what they did is because of us. If you can wrap your head around the fact that people are more selfish than they are malicious, it’ll help you to digest some things more easily.
I remember someone texting me pretty upset and she strongly believed that I had done something to her. I did in fact do what she claimed, BUT it had absolutely nothing to do with her on any level. I mean, this girl was not a factor in the least bit. I tried to explain that to her but she’d already made up her mind that I was out to get her. Because HER world revolves around her, she couldn’t comprehend someone else making a move that was not revolved around her. How many of us can admit that we’ve also done this? Raise your hands in the back, you ain’t low! LOL
I am not saying any of this to say allow people to play with you, or excuse people for being selfish instead of malicious. I’m saying processing it this way helps ease the heartbreak in the event that you do have to breakup with anyone. You have to understand and accept that everyone is on their own journey that has nothing to do with you. Why take on someone else’s baggage and call it your own? You’re only hurting yourself. I’d rather digest like ok sis, you have issues that have nothing to do with me, so I’m going to leave you to tend to that. I wish you well. The end.
That’s where I’m at with it at this point. I’m not holding grudges. I’m not driving up my stress level or my blood pressure. I’m not allowing anyone to hold up space in my head or my heart. Instead, I will detach myself in love. I ask for the same in return. Don’t try to force me to be who you want me to be. If my friendship that I have to offer isn’t what fits your needs, release me. We don’t even have to argue about it.
Don’t get me wrong, some people are flat out snakes, and no amount of positive thinking will change that. Three years ago I found myself in a really dark place. There was a situation kicked off at the very top of 2018 where a supposed friend did the grimiest thing that I think anyone has ever done to me in my life…….yup, we need a part two! Tune in next week for the build up to my friendship heartbreak, and my healing process.
From One T.U.F.F. Chick to Another,