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Losing a friend after a fight
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.
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.
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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