I’ve long contemplated this before I actually pulled the trigger. It was obvious that those particular friendships were not a 50/50 deal, far from it. Hubbyloo and other friends were pointing it out every chance they got, but my arsenal of excuses for my friends’ selfish behavior was unbeatable. Until, faced with the (semi)trauma of turning 31 this summer, I decided that some changes were in order in this chaotic life of mine (actually, change started much earlier).
I asked a couple of simple questions: When am I the happiest? and What do I enjoy doing? I watched as my thoughts formed images of happy encounters with people dear to me, a lot of laughter and joy, there were the memories of the long-forgotten pleasure I get from creating art – painting, writing, scrapbooking. I then dug a bit deeper to figure out where I stood and why was it that my life did not line up with my inner desires. It was not long before I realized that I suck at managing my energy; my attention and focus tend to be directed towards people (and activities, but for the purpose of this post we will focus on the human energy-guzzlers) that in no way help replenish my energy reservoir. I would make myself available, I would support and I would give to friends who either were not capable or, worse, intentionally chose not to reciprocate. There was that friend who is stellar in the role of the victim, who crushes to the floor as you ruined her day by not fulfilling her wishes. There was that friend who refuses to try to understand how life changes after a baby, and resorts to the ol’ fashioned silent treatment and sulking. There was that friend whose priorities do not include you, although your history is beyond special and your bond, you thought, was unbreakable, the friend who chooses an extra hour of sleep to spending that time with you since you haven’t seen each other in years.
I decided I was done wasting my energy in all the wrong places. So I drafted my first Dear John letter to be mailed later today. It was with a heavy heart that I signed that note, and I know neither one of these letters will be easy to write. These are people I’ve known for anywhere between five and 15 years; these are people I entrusted with my deepest secrets, who know sh** about me that no one else knows; these are beautiful souls I felt close to, and I loved dearly. At least one of these friends was my “sister” with whom I would spend hours on end picturing ourselves in our old age, still close, hanging out on a couple of rocking chairs reminiscing about our (read my) tumultuous college years. These are friends who got lost on the way. As the study says, every seven years we lose half of our friends. I am still surrounded by the other half though, people who truly care, old friends who did manage to adjust to the changes Copiloo brought about in our relationships, and new friends who require my time and attention if we care to allow our friendships to grow.
Friendships, just like pretty much everything out there, organic or inorganic matter, require nurturing and care, and the effort of all parties involved, in order to grow into and be preserved as something beautiful, meaningful and fulfilling.
Take a step back and assess your relationships; are your friendships feeding your soul, or are they the bane of your life? Adjust accordingly.