I have lost quite a few friends over the course of the last few years and some were by choice. For most it was simply that I had grown in a different direction than they had and suddenly we didn’t have a whole lot to talk about anymore. It seems life sometimes unhinges you, resets you, and when you rise from the ashes you look around and things look and smell a little different than they did before. You don’t have as much in common anymore, conversations are disjointed. You break up quietly. You just don’t talk as much and you don’t label it. The voices are softer, sweeter and suddenly take on a more formal tone than they did when you were so close you could start a conversation through text five sentences in and they got it because they got you. Now the texts start with formalities like, “Hi,” and “How are you? I miss you.”
We sometimes try to hang on and reminisce, but on occasion you find that the only times you laugh is when you are reminiscing. The only time you have anything that ties you to one another is when you talk about when you were tied to one another. Talking about your life now is uncomfortable. You don’t relate. The puzzle pieces don’t fit anymore and that is ok.
There are those that say, “That’s all well and good, but just don’t forget where you came from.”
But, what if you left that place?
Then respect that place. You have scar tissue and soul from that place, but you live somewhere else now. You’ve built something new, don’t apologize. Be grateful for the path, the lessons, the friendships that created your foundation, but don’t feel guilty if that place isn’t every part of you today. The new parts are called growth and if you aren’t growing you are wallowing.
There are the other kinds of friends you leave. They are the ones who aren’t good for you anymore. Maybe you started growing apart, but in that growing apart you realized that the relationship was unhealthy. You realized that a clean break was needed. One with boundaries, maybe even silence. You struggle with it because at our core we all want to believe that everyone is good.
Not everyone is good.
This is not judgment. The not good is someone else’s stuff, their own struggles, their own insecurities, their past relationships being relived and played out, bless them. Say a prayer for them, pour out a drink for them and their demons, toast them and walk away. If a person makes you feel sad, hurts you, judges you, manipulates you or lies to you then you can walk away.
It is ok.
I recently ended a long term friendship very unceremoniously because I no longer had a choice. I wanted to believe that there was love there, history, of course we can get through our differences. When patterns became clear and I realized I’d been lied to, manipulated, it was very simple. I remember the words coming to me as if I’d known them in my soul so completely, so many years before they found their way out of my mouth, “I’m done.”
And I was.
There was no break up, no yelling, no days worth of texts or phone calls because the manipulation had been so destructive. I knew anything I said or did wouldn’t matter. I chose me. I chose not to put any more energy in a relationship that was not what I thought it was and for some time before that night. If I was honest I’d tell you I remember the exact date, where I was and what I’d eaten. I had a glass of champagne in my hand the moment the words came out of my mouth.
That night started a soulful cleanup of my crew. I realized I didn’t want anyone in my life that made me feel bad, asked me why I was wearing a certain outfit, why my brows were unwaxed or made me feel guilty in any way shape or form. If you made me question myself in a way that was unloving you were out. If you were gifted in manipulation I had unwittingly just taken a master class and could sniff you out before honey dripped from your lips. If you talked trash about other women in your life I knew you wouldn’t hesitate to do the same with me. If I was happy about something and you couldn’t be happy for me I knew that was about you and it wouldn’t change. I knew I’d have to mute myself and I would never press mute again. If my posture changed when you reached out to me I knew you weren’t good for me.
I had to choose me.
So, I did. Unapologetically over and over again.
This weekend I looked around at the ladies I’ve befriended or brought closer over the course of the past few years. We were all dancing and singing along to Bruno Mars at a music festival. Every single one of the women is strong, beautiful, confident. Not one has a mean girl bone in her body. They hold confidences like we’d be indicted for war crimes. They are proud of each other’s accomplishments and all feel thankful to be surrounded by soulful, confident women.
So many times we let history and guilt keep us around people that we’ve either outgrown or who bring us back to places we’ve left. So many times we make excuses for other’s bad behavior because, “That’s just so-and-so, God love her.”
God does loves her.
But, if so-and-so is not growing with you, is keeping you down, hurting you, mistreating you then may I suggest you consider the fact that you can love her from afar. Send that girl love and light. If you need permission to say goodbye then here I am, girl. I give you permission and tell you that not everyone is meant for the long haul. Thank her for who she has been to you.
Then choose you.