It’s not so much having to say goodbye to a friendship. It’s inevitable as life pulls people in different directions sometimes. It’s when you try to default to “you don’t always see friends, but they are always there” … and you can’t convince yourself that it remains true. Even life is rare if you think about it. Good friendships are rare. Good friendships that emerged over 10 years ago are extremely rare. However, when someone goes absent and it’s no longer in their heart, it becomes a difficult decision.
I worded the above line many different ways and it’s likely still not what I would like it to be. The problem is that I don’t want to sound like I am calling it quits because life has its ups and downs. However, I am not in it the way I used to be. In this particular case: despite dealing with unemployment, starting a very difficult job that has a steep learning curve and being backlogged, family stress (custody battles), and many other events…I’ve still done my best to at least check-in. Others have their chaos as well, but isn’t that the point of friendship? Aren’t true friends supposed to be there for support and a sounding board (for when we’re being stupid) and a mediator when we’re figuring things out? Life gets busy but a distant friendship that isn’t supportive or present seems to nullify the definition.
I have struggled with this for at least the last three years regarding many friendships. I had reached a point where I couldn’t take being the one who was always trying or the only one who visibly cared. I care deeply about these people. In fact, if you’re torn and miserable about having to part ways in a friendship, it’s proof that you do care. It’s those who seem to shrug and pass it off as “life happens” that I worry about. Also, in some cases, being more transparent to the other person in friendships that were in trouble helped renew the friendship. So, this is in no way a negative only piece.
“When friends aren’t present”Life has always and will always interrupt many things including friendships. However, with the onset of social media, posting and likes, followers and instant gratification dished out by cellphones we never seem to put down..this is likely much worse than it’s ever been. Ten or fifteen years ago, I used to complain or get frustrated with a lot of people’s mentality of “it’s all about me”. If only I knew what was coming, I would have been more grateful. I love technology, it’s wonderful, but there are always bad side effects to things that make certain things more convenient. Being someone with social phobia, instant messaging programs were my way to channel friendships and be myself. Then, smartphones were invented and it still wasn’t bad because people would stay in touch.
Today, it seems like that “fad” for many is over. It’s become more about sharing memes, political posts, sharing, sharing rather than actual personally generated content. I feel Facebook is on the other side of the hill these days. Other than group conversations (messaging), for most it’s really not about staying in touch with families and friends any more. If it were up to me, we’d all go back to emails, phone calls, actually physical hangouts, and overall real contact rather than regurgitated posts where nothing is personal to that person and often the quotes aren’t even verified anyway. In 2005, I realized and proudly saw myself as a humanitarian because I always believed there was good in others and that society would prevail. Fourteen years later, I feel like that version of me would’ve had the oxygen sucked out of his lungs at how things would come to be. Back then, I used to do artistic self portraits (amateur). I have since quit doing those because it’s diminished to being seen as “selfies”, as if setting up a scene and atmosphere along with lighting is comparable to someone who has their phone on a stick.
This isn’t as organized of a post or writing as I’d like it to be, however, I realize that I’m very emotionally invested in this topic. The bottom line: even those whose friendships I’ve had to part ways with: it saddens me and I very often severely miss those people. This especially of long term friendships. In all cases, so far, those friendships needed to end because one or the other has gone in a different direction in life and I’ve questioned their sincerity with me when and if we do end up talking. I’ll be honest, it sucks. It’s not like someone betrays you and you get so angry at them that it becomes your healing. I take friendship and personal relationships far deeper and more seriously than that. That wonderful quality is also my downfall if others choose to take advantage of it or when controlling people come along. I can only hope that for everyone, the apathy and self-centeredness at least decreases as society as a whole suffers because it’s exponential.