Recently, the Wall Street Journal had a column advising how to break up with a friend, and the Jezebel editors turned it out to their members who told a great many stories about friend breakups they’d been through and were considering in the future.
For the past few days, I have been constantly thinking of this article, and mulling over the stories of others who’ve been in friend breakups, as well as my own. My heart poured out to the women who’d been through some ugly friendships; but I spent a good portion mourning the deaths of my own.
I don’t even break up with friends so much as I’ve let them fizzle out: I have balked the hard work it takes to maintain a friendship. It has never been fair of me to ask or to expect K and The Boy to bear the burdens of all of my interpersonal needs. I have been a bad friend to everyone involved, and I miss the friendships that I have let wither.
In college, I was friends with a woman who was particularly damaged and angry with the way her friendships had turned out, and said (something like) these friendships don’t matter: you’re together for four years, and then you all move away. Foolishly, I clung to this mantra as solace during a time when I was too unhappy with who I was to be a good friend to anyone. I let that negative-thinking cancer fester in me for far too long, and now my web of friends is tenuously connected, and has some large holes in it.
It must be part of this great Saturn Return I’m going through, but I’m internalizing how wrong this woman’s thought-process was. More still, shame on me for allowing that negative thinking to take root in me like a tumor!
How stupid have I been to eschew my friendships? When making a mental audit of my life and realizing that I have few things going how I’d planned, there should be meaning, fulfillment, and reward in my friendships. Now, more than ever, I need to foster a rich and fulfilling network of friends.
Atonements need to be made for my disappearing act in the last 4 years. I will need to work, work, work to rebuild my friendships. I am going to have to put a lot of sweat equity into breathing life back into these loose relationships if I want to keep them and make them grow.
There is a beautiful thing about setting it all right: that I can be a better person and start fresh. All it takes is a small gesture: a sent birthday card, a quick email, a Facebook poke. I hope that old friends will welcome me back, but that if some of my friendships are too far gone to revive, that I can accept that with dignity and grace.
But I have to start somewhere, and what better time to start than now?