If A Door Closes, Don’t Nail It Shut
As I’m out and about these days, asking questions and being my nosey self,
the topic that keeps coming up has been about trying to maintain or salvage difficult, morphing friendships.
And by difficult, I mean the ones that have become almost impossible to pursue due to the other party’s jackassery. You, of course, have been the best friend imaginable. Right?
What’s the best way to react when a friend you really care about starts to move on? Emotionally and/or physically? Is it wise to be angry and demand their participation? What about begging? I’ll answer that one. For chrissakes, don’t beg. Have a little self respect. Jeez. I say that because I’m hearing about it, watching it happen, and I’ve done it. Let them go. Did you see Bridesmaids?
Transition is harder for some of us than others. Holding on to a friendship by the ankles, doesn’t show love or devotion. It shows fear of change and….desperation. There, I said it. I’ve mentioned it before in the blog, but here it is again. A therapist once admonished me: Janet, you don’t just love, you take hostages. Be careful with that.
So I know a bit about the subject. It applied to men and girlfriends.
And I’ve worked really hard at letting things transition. The natural ebb and flow of relationships. I learned to observe a friend’s behavior. If they stopped coming around or calling, I would check in to make sure they were alive, and if everything checked out and they remained MIA, I would give the relationship space. Yes, it hurt my feelings. Hurt feeling are survivable.
The good friendships are fluid, filled with liquid respect. There are no harsh words, ultimatums or judgements leveled. They move away, then return, just like the tide, even years later it can seem like not a day has passed.
With girlfriends, when one of them gets into a serious relationship, they may not be available as much on the weekends. It kinda sucks, because us girls will be there when he’s long gone, and she should be able to accommodate both, but we’ve all been there, on both ends, I’m sure.
It’s the same when good friends get in with another group of people and (gasp) hang with them, instead of us. Traitor. Do you go into heavy pursuit, calling and texting relentlessly or do you let the thing play out. She’ll be back. She’ll miss your general awesomeness, and the fact that you know her backstory…and you still love her.
THEY are just acquaintances, you are her friend.
Sadly, some friendships do just fade away. One or both parties have changed, and the things you had in common have dwindled. Do you applaud a friend’s changes, or do you challenge them, wanting everything to go back to the way it was? They may need to catch up to you, or visa versa and that can really sting, especially if you’ve been friends for a long time. But my advise is the same: observe and give it space and time. If there is a real connection, you’ll be able to pick things up. Easily. If not, well then, it was bound to end.
Friendships are a two way street.
They’re not a game of solitaire.
Don’t let these friendship adjustments close you down. Put yourself out there and make a few new ones. It’s hard, and you won’t want to do it, but that has saved me.
When all my friends AND my sister had babies, everything changed for me. I wasn’t in Mommy and Me, and even though I spent many an afternoon in Chuck E Cheese, I just wasn’t in the mommy club.
So, I made an effort to make new friends. Friends that could go to the movies, be spontaneous, maybe go to Palm Springs for the weekend. I had to, I was tired of being a single, childless, sad sack.
After a few years, I was able to blend the two groups. The mommies were coming out of their jet lag level fatigue, and they wanted to have some girlfriend time. Just like now. The empty nesters all want to come out and play again. I’m thrilled. No grudges held here. Just nights of wine and lots of snort laughs. Damn, it’s hard to believe these crazy bitches are someone’s mother!
My advise? Let your friend go, and when that door closes, don’t nail it shut. Your friend may be back. She’ll be the wiser and richer for leaving and your friendship will only benefit.
Tell me, has a friendship changed for you recently? How are you handling it?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you’ve done it well and have some tips, I’d love to hear that too!