Losing a friend after a fight

Me, my former bestie Nicole (right), and our dear friend Sheri (middle)
Me, my former bestie Nicole (right), and our dear friend Sheri (middle)

Losing not one, but two friends

I have lost two friends in my lifetime, both of which affected me greatly because 1) I tend to lean toward preserving friendships to the best of my ability, and 2) I really didn't understand what I did wrong. I thought I would Hub about this in case anyone else has experienced this before and either doesn't want to feel alone or maybe understand more about their situation.

The first time, it was my best friend who I knew from elementary school. We went to the same college and did everything together. Our freshman year, one of our good friends, Sheri, was killed in a car accident, and she took it very hard, especially she had lost many others in her family over the years. One weekend I decided to visit my boyfriend, who lived out of town. I told a few people I was doing so, but not a lot. My cell phone died and people weren't able to get a hold of me, and I had no idea that the police had been alerted that I had gone "missing". The police ended up calling my boyfriend, who assured them I was not missing. However, my friend honestly thought something awful had happened to me in the meantime, so the damage had been done. A year later she was not able to get over the hurt and anger with me, and told me she was "done". I was confused and upset and fought it tooth and nail. After more than five years, I finally have gotten to the point where I don't think about it all the time, but we haven't even seen each other since then.

My once-friend Shannon and I
My once-friend Shannon and I

More recently, a friend was upset that I "de-friended" her from Facebook. She and I became friends because she was good friends with a guy I was dating, and to whom I had been engaged later. We broke up but she told me she still wanted to be friends. A year later, I hadn't heard much from her, and then learned I hadn't been invited to her birthday that I'd asked her about, where my ex had been invited and happened to get together with his new girlfriend. I felt a little disappointed and I defriended her partly because I just didn't want to see the photos of them all hanging out without me. Mainly I didn't feel a need to be Facebook friends and just accepted that she was better friends with my ex than with me. She noticed I had defriended her and asked me about it. I told her nicely my reasons, but that I'd be willing to talk about it. In my mind, defriending does not mean I don't want to ever be friends again. And given that I hadn't heard from her in so long, I honestly didn't think she would care that she was "defriended". How wrong I was - she was terribly offended and reacted in a hostile way, saying I was being dramatic, fake, and immature. I was shocked by this reaction. The birthday invite issue ended up being a misunderstanding, and I acknowledge it would have been better if I had approached her initially. Instead of apologizing, I responded to the claims against me in her response, which made things worse. I did apologize soon after, when things had cooled down. She told me afterward that she was ok with forgetting the whole thing, but after ignoring me for a bit and me asking her about it, she told me she was actually still mad after all, and did not want to be close friends with me. I pushed her to explain because I was really confused (everything that she was mad about transpired in less than a day, and I had moved on). She refused to talk about it, and I felt frustrated that this was being severely misunderstood (all of this was over texts and email - she refused to talk in person or even on the phone). Now she does not want to talk to me at all. The end of this friendship bothered me not so much in that I lost a friend, but in how frustrated and misunderstood I felt without having the opportunity to explain or have closure. I had to get it in confiding in my friends and family.

Lessons learned

As I said, both instances bothered me very much and I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what the heck happened. I am the kind of person who likes to talk things out, but that was not allowed in either case. I also felt I was being punished severely when I didn't deserve it - why did a friendship have to end because of one thing that happened where malice and harm was not intended?

Well, as I would learn later, it was not just one thing, but different things that compounded over time as a result of personality differences and other things that could not be changed. I would say the first friendship I described was destined for failure because, even though we were very close, we were very different and only really came together because we were both from a small town and there weren't many other options for friends with whom to hang out. The second friendship was also forced because we sort of felt obligated to be friends through my ex. It became clear that she never wanted to be friends and was happy to put all of the blame on me so she could have a reason to end things. Nonetheless, I'm happy she did because it was just not meant to be and it was good to find this out before there could,didn't have been a fight over something that actually mattered. Forcing a friendship never seems to work out - fighting it will just lead to more trouble down the line. Overall, in both cases we were just different kinds of people - raised in different ways to value different things. Those differences helped lead to the initial issues and to the difficulties in trying to resolve them.

I could say that my mistake was trying too hard to make it work - wanting to talk about things, trying to get my point across, etc. when the other side wasn't willing to listen and when things just weren't meant to be. I read that dragging it out rather than cutting things off quickly just prolongs the pain and suffering and could hurt the relationship even further. That is what happened in the second instance.

However, while you can still be civil though not be good friends, there's another part of me that would rather not be friends at all and completely cut things off rather than exist as only mere acquaintances. That personally seems even more hurtful, to always see the shadow of what once was... I would prefer to just end things completely. It it can't end on a good note (which would to me still mean being good friends), then maybe I don't want to be on a "note" at all. As I said, for the first friend, I haven't seen her since, and while now I don't think I would mind seeing her, I think it was best that we had a complete separation for the initial few years to help things heal.

Time has shown me that sometimes there's not much you can do - you just won't get along with some people, no matter what, so no point fighting it because it's just not meant to be. My problem is letting go - I feel like I'm giving up. I try too hard sometimes. It's painful for me to accept because I still like to wear my rose-colored glasses and believe everyone can get along. I think people can work out their differences if they both want to. Both sides have to want to resolve the issues between them. But if that's not what the other side wants, then it's time to invest in your other friends, and maybe reevaluate the relationships you have. I feel fortunate to have friendships that I truly believe will last and pass the test of time and tribulation because we want to be friends and share so many vital things in common.

Thank you for reading, and feel free to share any thoughts or advice in the comments section :)

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Comments 18 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I am glad you wrote about this. Nice writing and important. Some people spend their time worrying about things. While I wish you not to worry, I am happy to see someone worrying about really important stuff.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 3 years ago from The Ozarks

Thanks for sharing this.

I think your main point that both sides have to want to resolve the issue is quite valid.

I think one of the trickiest issues with any friendship is reciprocity and the degree to which it is present. While I believe that it is possible for people who are not equally invested in a friendship to be friends, and I have in the past maintained friendships with people for decades where clearly they were less invested than I was, the lack of reciprocity can in time erode a lot of goodwill.

Maybe it is better to break it off long before you stop caring, because that way you can invest in other friendships that have more of a chance of surviving.


LopezUnleashed profile image

LopezUnleashed 3 years ago

I really enjoyed this Hub. As sad as it sounds, misery loves company. It helps to know that I am not the only one out there who has lost friendships because others chose to walk away. I know in my head that I am not the only one, thats just logical. But my heart isn't always that easy to convince.

Wanting to talk it out is a good thing, I don't think you should ever let go of that desire. But being able to tell when is the right time to talk and when is the right time to love them from the sidelines will make a big difference in your ability to heal and move on. I have learned that "defending" myself for any lenght of time is a good indicator that things are unbalanced and the other person just might not have the maturity to let you be you and them be them without it becoming a personal issue all the time.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 3 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I recently lost a good friend I had nurtured for over 20 years. We had a misunderstanding two years ago and never discussed what happened. We tried to move on, but could not.

Everything blew up when I wrote a hub about a related matter. She read one of my hubs -for the first time- and blew up. She skimmed the hub, actually and missed the point completely.

With my 60th birthday gift, she included a four page rant, sharing all that was wrong with me and nothing positive. I returned the gift, said I was sorry she felt that way, took half blame for the demise of our friendship and wished her luck as she heads toward 60 without me.

I miss her. But I do not miss the drama. My brother says sometimes we hold on to friends too long. We both change and this is a good thing. I choose his point of view!


LopezUnleashed profile image

LopezUnleashed 3 years ago

Sorry, that last part was supposed to say if you have to "defend" yourself for an *extended* length of time, or repeatedly for that matter. :D


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Sometimes people carry around with them much bigger baggage than you as a friend even realize until there is all-out conflict. Breaking up is sometimes necessary. Messy but necessary.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments! I appreciate your wisdom, and it helps to know when you're not alone :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Sorry for your pain. In the same breath, I must add that growing pains hurt. You're gaining life experiences, some happy, some sad. Hope you survive with healthy emotions.


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 3 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Having friends and valuing them is so important for women. Yes, we can fall out some times over the most silliest and sometimes most mundane things. But in the end our friends define who we are! Friendships are the most important things we can ever be lucky enough to have in this life! I loved this hub! :)


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you both for stopping by. I am happy that I was able to gain these life experiences without losing people who I couldn't live without! :)


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

It is a pity that your friend takes thing too hard on her side. She is indeed a true friend. Think about it. Who would ever call the police after she couldn't find you? Me...Nobody cares at all. I had a best friend, loan her $500 bucks and she disappeared from my sight. I regretted lending her the money.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 3 years ago from Northern California Author

peachpurple, I'm sorry to hear that. I've loaned money to friends before and have regretted it. But people do care about you!


KoraleeP profile image

KoraleeP 2 years ago from Vernon British Columbia Canada

I loved your insight into how your two friendships fell apart.

I've had a friend for 30 years now, and we have had fights over the years and quit talking all together. One time for almost 5 years. But, we always find our way back.

I think time is an important factor. As well as life experiences. we always have new challenges so after time, our points of view change. Perhaps this will happen with one, or both of your friends. Or perhaps not at all. I feel we have to believe that things will iron themselves out eventually, if they're meant to.

Sometimes they turn into life lessons that we difficult at the time, but we have to experience them.

Thanks for your sharing :)


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 2 years ago from Northern California Author

Thanks! I agree - with me I learned with a particular friend that we can be civil acquaintances but we shouldn't spend an extensive amount of time together or we'll get on each other's nerves. It took time to realize that as at first neither of us wanted anything to do with each other.


Edward J. Palumbo profile image

Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR

Friendships are subject to "redefinition" by both parties, and the relationship requires candid communication, feedback, mutual effort and support. If only one of two is willing to extend themselves…well, it's difficult to play tennis alone. Friends can grow apart as different priorities, experiences and goals develop. If an effort to communicate doesn't clarify or resolve it, we do well to try to understand and wish them well before tensions develop. Understand that sometimes "change" favors us, but sometimes we must accept that friends may drift apart and, unless they're willing to discuss it, there's very little that can be done to preserve it. Assuming there is no affront, no wrong committed, be kind and graceful and provide them with the space they apparently require. Perhaps they simply don't know how to discuss whatever the issue may be or there's an element of embarrassment involved. Be strong.


Raine Law Yuen profile image

Raine Law Yuen 2 years ago from Cape Town

Hi there, I have just stumbled upon your hubs. I am still quite new to HP's so please forgive me if your report indicate that I 'unfollowed' you. Was trying to press the follow button - pressed twice - then the unfollow button appeared - by mistake I pressed this one too.

See how easy friendships can end in misunderstandings in the new age we live in? look forward to reading your hubs.


crissalina 2 years ago

who is meant to be in your life, will fight to remain in your life. beside that, we are all passing one through others life, we're in a continuous process of changing so i think is normal sometimes friendships to end. i used to suffer because of that when i was younger but now i've learnt that quality is more important than quantity so i amvery thankful for the few very good friends that i have. if they don't appreciate you, you should move on. there's enough fish in the sea


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 2 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you all for your comments :)

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