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Back in the Spring, a lifelong friendship collapsed into a disruptive ball of drama. At the time, I felt like my world was imploding. I was an emotional mess, I became a total recluse and I shame spiraled into an ugly depressive state. But, the more I heal my self and the more I understand what happened, the more I realize that this failed friendship actually made my life better.
‘Made My Life Better’
I know the title of this post sorta implies that my life was sucked, but that’s not what I mean. I just couldn’t think of another way to describe what this failed friendship did to my world.
It was a horrible, devastating experience that I don’t wish upon anyone, but it opened my eyes in a way I don’t think I would have ever had happen without this incident.
So, I’m not saying that they were so toxic that my life is magically better now that they’re gone.
I’m just pointing out the ways that things have dramatically changed for me since experiencing a failed friendship and healing myself afterwards.
The Immediate Aftermath
No matter how you spin things, a fall out with a friend is ugly.
Especially if it’s someone that you’ve known for a looooong time and it means you have to accept that they won’t be in your life anymore.
For me, it was extraordinarily tough because our worlds were intertwined. I knew every single thing there was to possibly know about them and vice-versa.
Our families were close, all of our friend circles were the same… hell, even our dogs were friends!
I mourned the loss of the relationship like it was an actual death. 23 years of friendship gone in an instant.
I thought over every single word that was said. Every event, every conversation, every time their body language was telling me something that they weren’t saying.
I legitimately tortured myself with the way things happened and how we ended up in this broken mess.
But the more I healed…. and the more I started to look at things in a different light, the more I realized that maybe this failed relationship was a blessing in disguise.
Forgiveness Is Powerful
I am super quick to forgive someone when they apologize. It’s pretty much instantaneous if they mean what they say.
However, I have to admit that I hold a grudge when someone doesn’t apologize.
But I realized that forgiving them isn’t actually for them. It’s for me.
By releasing all of my frustrations, sadness, and anger towards them, I get to live in a more peaceful mind and body.
But, this meant I had to learn to forgive them for an apology I never received.
…. and it was hard!
I had been harboring so many negative feelings that I was physically in pain. I have having terrible headaches and rib pain. My resting heart rate was around 100!
My mind was hurting and so was my body… and it seemed like there was no end in sight until I decided to forgive them.
So, even though it was an awful ordeal and it was incredibly painful, I learned a truly beautiful lesson: everyone deserves to be forgiven.
That jackass who cut you off in traffic? Forgive him. The friend who borrowed your dress and never returned it? Forgive her. The family member who said hurtful things about you? Forgive ’em!
I’m not saying you have to forget or act like nothing ever happened.
Just clear the negativity out of your heart, stop playing the victim and remove the blocks that are keeping you at a standstill.
Because your willingness to forgive is a chance for you to move forward. Put your energy into a better place and focus on better things.
Instead of harboring anger for someone who wronged you, you can focus on all of the wonderful people who hold you up every day.
And lets be honest, they’re tha real MVPs.
Observe, Don’t Obsess
As an INFJ, I have a very obsessive mind.
Like, annoyingly obsessive.
But something I learned through this entire ordeal is that obsessing does absolutely nothing. JACK SQUAT!
Like I said earlier, I was replaying every word over in my head. I was checking social media and checking my phone 1000000 times a day.
I was a chaotic mess.
But, if you can calm your mind and learn to observe instead of obsess, you see more of the real picture.
You can see their actions for what they truly are. You can see your own responses to their actions.
If you stop reacting in a way that causes more turmoil and negativity, you begin to let your mind rest.
At first, I was constantly thinking “Now that they hate me, I bet their family will hate me too. I’m really gonna miss their mom. Oh! And we had plans to go to Florida in the spring… guess that’s not gonna happen. Is that post on their page about me?”
Obsessing is one long pattern of thought that serves no purpose other than to evoke strong emotions.
Observing allows you to approach each thought as a separate concept and decide how you truly feel.
“If their family chooses to not contact me again, I understand. Their first job is to care for their own family and be there for them. So, I will understand if we lose contact. I will allow myself to miss them without dwelling on it. We can still take a trip to Florida in the spring, just without them. I’ll still have a good time and enjoy it. If that post is about me, I’m going to be okay. They’re working through some tough emotions too and they’re allowed to feel it.”
It sounds like some hippie-kumbaya crap, but it’s amazingly powerful for healing from anything.
Jobs. Relationships. Money. Politics.
Observe, don’t obsess.
I remember watching Friends as a kid and hearing them talk about ‘closure’.
Like it was some big bandaid you put on your heart to make all the hurt go away.
If you are ever truly invested in someone, you don’t need to go seek closure, you need to gain perspective and release your feelings.
Right after our last conversation, I had the loudest voice in my head saying “They have to hear your side”.
Part of me wanted to say my peace and finally have things out in the open.
But that was just my ego trying to get the last word.
It was clear from our last conversation that there would be no reuniting. No making up, no mending bridges.
So what would it do if I sent them some huge text saying how I felt? Or my side of things?
It would either start World War 3 or I wouldn’t get a response.
Both outcomes are counterproductive and won’t help either of us.
So I said nothing (and journaled about 30 pages of my thoughts).
Don’t seek the last word and don’t fan the flames.
Let things be.
Talk to a counselor, a family member or/and write all of your emotions down.
You don’t have to tell them your peace just to be at peace.
I saw a beautiful quote on Instagram a while back that struck a chord in me.
It said: “Someone you met 2 weeks ago may have better intentions than someone you met 2 years ago. Time is nothing. Intention is everything.”
I know that I personally let people slide with a lot. Especially if it’s someone I’ve known for a while. And before I know it, they’re sliding all around like a damn ice rink!
I’m a people-pleaser, empath and I’m loyal to a fault. Which means I am glutton for punishment.
However, I learned that not everyone has good intentions.
Some people will use the mask of friendship to get what they want from you.
You are not responsible for their actions, but you are responsible for protecting yourself from their intentions.
So if you begin to notice that someone has impure intentions, gently remove yourself from the situation and move on.
You can’t change someone who has intentions of using you or breaking you.
Just go find people who will value you, love you and lift you up instead.
When someone shows you who they truly are, trust them!
They know who they are better than you could ever guess or assume, so trust them!
I always want to give people the benefit of doubt.
“Maybe she acted that way because she had a bad day. He probably didn’t mean to do that.”
Which is fine! Until that behavior becomes a regular pattern that you excuse for one reason or another.
Stop making excuses for other people being bad to you. Just stop it!
John repeated borrows money and never pays it back. He makes promises we both know he can’t keep. He has a temper from hell and always plays the victim.
If I’m around John long enough to see all of these behaviors repeat themselves and I don’t remove myself, I shouldn’t be surprised when he steals from me.
He tried telling me who he was and I didn’t listen.
Heartbreak Isn’t A Show Stopper
The final thing I’ve learned about my failed friendship is that ‘it’s not the end of the world.’
Trust me, I hate to even write that because it sounds cliche as hell… but it’s true.
The chaos is temporary, the pain subsides, the worry eventually dissipates and the sadness heals.
If you stop your mind from racing off and reacting without thought, you get the chance to process, heal and evolve.
You actually come out the other side with some valuable lessons for how to be a better friend, how to protect yourself and how you want your future friendships to be.
If you choose to look at the failed friendship as a reflection on yourself, your life or your worth, you’ll go down a dark path.
Be thankful for all of your time with them, the experiences you had together and the lessons you’ve learned.
They helped create the ‘you’ of tomorrow…. and that’s more than enough to be grateful for.
Drop a comment below if you’ve ever lost a friend and how you dealt with it. Also, make sure to follow me on my social media accounts for uplifting and thought provoking posts every day!
Oh! And I almost forgot!
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