It’s gotten really loud in my head lately.
So much going on, so much to do, too little time and energy. I haven’t been making the time to journal as I should, but I’m here today.
I recently learnt my place in a friend’s life. And it cut me.
I like to think of myself as a good friend. I hope that my friends can actually vouch for me on this. LOL. And if you ask my friends and family, you’ll find out that very few things hurt me. At least that’s what I thought. I often laugh off so many things, and proceed to forget about them. I’ve walked into rooms where people that supposedly did something to hurt me assumed I’d keep the malice… half the time, I didn’t even remember whatever incident they assumed had hurt me!
So… I think my friend cut me off. And it really cut me.
This is a friend that I’ve known for years! Maybe fifteen years? He was the friend that drove across states to come surprise me with breakfast the first time I visited the US. He was the friend I would call in Med School to rant and rant, knowing that I would get wise godly counsel, and encouragement. He would share his struggles with me and we would pray. We didn’t talk all the time, but whenever we did it was as if no time had passed. We’d fill each other in, and make it worth it.
We’ve maintained this friendship across countries, across life’s issues, and over many years.
A few years ago, when I visited the US, he visited Albert and I with his wife. Just before the pandemic, Albert and I enjoyed a beautiful family weekend in their home. And it was lovely! We had fun with them and the kids, sharing food and banter, watching movies, going shopping, and really just hanging out. I enjoyed their presence!
So I guess it makes sense that I was hurt.
Initially, I gave all manner of excuses… maybe he was busy.
Maybe work had gotten out of hand, and so he wasn’t really getting time for himself. Maybe there was some family crisis, and it was hard maneuvering that. Maybe he was just overwhelmed with the issues of life.
So then I thought… why not send a care package. So I reached out…
“Hey I want to send you this… and if it’s okay with you, I have this event in your state, I could do the one hour drive and come give it to you.”
He was busy, he said.
“Thanks for being thoughtful, but I’m pretty busy. Let’s plan this for another time.”
No more replies after that. But that was okay, the initial reply meant he was okay right? And we weren’t the kind of friends that talked that often anyway.
So the weeks turned into many months, and there was one particular week when he was on my mind all the time! I sent messages and got no replies whatsoever. I called a few times, but got no answers or callbacks. It felt so weird. I was worried… because maybe some thing terrible had physically happened to him? Or maybe he was having some mental health issues? I prayed for him, and then I reached out to a mutual friend to have him check on him, in the unlikely case he just didn’t want to hear from me.
Lo and behold. He got a reply almost immediately! They even set up a time for a video call. He was practically free all week and didn’t mind what time they scheduled for that call!
I was lost for words… but well, no wahala…. It was good to know he was alive and doing well. And I prayed for him. That’s what’s important right? Well, his birthday rolled around. I called initially and got no answer, and no call back… (no surprises there.)
Oh maybe he’s got so many phone calls today. Yeah… that’s me. forever giving people excuses.
So I sent another message.
“Hey! It’s been so hard trying to reach you, this is just to say that you’ve been on my mind, and I wish you a Happy Birthday, and all of God’s best. I hope your address hasn’t changed… I’d like to send you your birthday gift!”
I didn’t expect a reply, so this was just my way of making peace… my ‘final straw’ so to say.
Imagine my joy when he called back!
“Oh Elise, forgive me, I meant to reply your last message, so sorry. Thanks for the birthday wishes. No my address is still the same. You don’t have to send a gift.”
In that shallow almost forced conversation, I knew that it was over. I knew that my friend was gone.
And for some reason, I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t worried anymore. I just wanted to know what happened? How we went from that enviable strong bond to absolutely nothing in a matter of months. I wish I’d done something wrong…. And even then, I wish he had felt fine with saying “hey, you did this and it hurt me, so I don’t think this friendship is worth much anymore.” Is that what they call closure?
I assumed our friendship to be stronger than this awkward one person hunt, and strange forced conversation.
But I guess it doesn’t matter. The bottomline is that I have learnt. Learnt that sometimes friendships end. No matter how beautiful they were, they do. And it’s okay.
So it didn’t bother me so much when he didn’t acknowledge getting the gift. Didn’t faze me anymore that he’d cut me off.
I’m not a big fan of cancel culture. I’m the kind of person that gives people multiple chances, multiple excuses. In retrospect, it was often even to my detriment. But I’m growing, and learning, and realizing that some people have a part to play in your life… and it does not need to be forever. Maybe my part in his life has come to an end. Maybe I am no longer of much benefit to his life. Maybe his part in my life should be over. Maybe he’s no longer of benefit to my life.
And that is okay!
I don’t know if I’m still hurt… because to a large extent, I’m not good at dealing with that emotion. But I know that I’m done. That I will be okay. And although somethings will come up once in a while and I’ll think “Oh hey, I should tell him this…” those moments will get fewer with time.
No I’m not cutting him off. I will return a text if I ever get one. I will pick up the phone if he ever calls. I will pray for him whenever he comes to mind. And frankly, I will constantly wish him all of Gods very best.
But, I will no longer be the one reaching out. I will no longer put myself in a position where I have to constantly give excuses for his nonchalance. I will prioritize my peace of mind. I’m older now, and hopefully, wiser!
Have you had any friendship breakups in the past? How did you deal with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments!