On Friendship, Part 4
Posted by Keen Observer on February 7, 2015
Well, this is a post I didn’t think I’d be writing.
You may recall earlier posts bearing this same title, and that the subject of them was largely the same person, though others may have been referenced. This past week changed all that in an instant, and yet it didn’t.
My former best friend–who shall remain nameless but who knows about these posts–explicitly, but without explanation, abandoned our friendship this week. Not abandoned, really–more like executed it. After five months of decreasing and then no contact, nor responses to contact attempts, she blocked me on Facebook Wednesday morning. She was there, and then she was not. My first reaction was that she had finally deleted her account, since she had mentioned having considered it in one of our last conversations. But I mentioned it to a friend, and I was told that her profile was still visible. The shock of that knowledge hit me rather like a bolo to the nuts.
I had accepted that she no longer wanted to communicate with me for whatever reasons, but that was an action I hadn’t anticipated, since it could be considered very aggressive. And I had come to terms with her lack of response, though I had been working on an email for the past couple of months that would tell her I was confused but would respect her desire not to communicate with me and would wish her well; I hadn’t sent it, because I couldn’t figure out the right words to settle the right tone. I still might send it, but the tone has become rather more bitter in the last few days. I mean, I hadn’t heard anything from her since mid-October, despite a few attempts after that–though I gave up in late November–and she had already severely limited what I could see on her wall and profile (all without explanation). And there are other factors which I learned indirectly (aka. “CG”–her bf-exbf-bf-fiancé) which caused me to believe that I knew why she had limited and then cut off communication with me prior to this, though I found those factors to be both confusing and hurtful. So, I was settled into accepting that benign neglect would be the way of things, and I had decided about a week or so ago that if nothing happened in the next month (i.e., by the end of February), I would just quietly remove her from my friends list. And so, she took this entirely unnecessary step without warning, notification, or explanation. The only functional outcome of this for me is that I can’t see her profile, I can’t see her tags/other public activity, and I can’t send her messages/reply to our ongoing conversation thread, so there was very little point to taking this course of action. I still have other contact means for her, unless she’s changed them all. And in that case, she’s got bigger problems than worrying about me.
The worst part about it for me is that she went the “silent” road. We had had long discussions about my past relationships and certain aspects of them involving silence and marginalisation of me by my ex. Lack of honesty and communication doomed at least one of those relationships–the most important one–and she knew that. So this method of going about “separating” from me couldn’t have been more calculated to hurt me than if she had tried (which I don’t think she was trying to do specifically). So I am hurt and annoyed and frustrated and confused by all this. The second-worst part was that the “other factors” caused me to start distrusting her–something I would have said was impossible in August. And because of that distrust, I had to remove her as my emergency contact and change all the passwords I had given her (in a still-sealed envelope, I hope) to be used in the event of my death or incapacitation. I didn’t think she would do anything with the information–not immediately, at least–but I trust none of the people around her not to do so. These two “betrayals” poisoned what had been a beautiful friendship, in my opinion.
But to be clear, I do not regret any of it, except mailing her my passwords–I have a hard time remember the crazy number of them that I have, so changing them all was extremely frustrating and annoying…I had some really good ones that I liked. But her friendship was of incalculable value to me, and she helped me get through some rough emotional patches in my life and deal with a lot of past anger and stress. I like to think I helped her similarly. Her friendship served its purpose, and I think I’m better–and a better person–for having known her. That’s the legacy I want to remember, not the stupidity of how it ended. In many ways she gave me back my emotional life, and I’ll always be grateful for that. But that part of my life is apparently now over, unless she decides to contact me, and in that eventuality, I don’t know what I’ll do. She made her choice, and it was pretty unequivocal.
But the surprising thing for me is also related to friendship: the reaction. I put up a post on Wednesday–D-Day, I guess–after I got home and had eaten some supper. She can’t see it, having blocked me/unfriended me, but since she knows of this blog, I’m not sure I should repeat the words. But I vague-booked a little and said it sucked to be “stabbed in the heart” by a friend. The response to that was strangely strong and gratifying. I got a supportive comment from an old ex, and a few other comments and several likes to the post. And then I got some side-band communications. I had two long conversations yesterday with friends, both of whom I’ve known for years, but I had only been close with one of them. I try to explain the situation as honestly as I can (based on my knowledge), and the responses and support I’ve gotten from everyone have been uniformly positive. It’s something that almost overwhelmed me in its magnitude and surprised me in terms of who reached out to me and how. Which just goes to show you that if you pick good friends, they’ll stick by you.
So, I guess the upshot of all this is a new piece of learning for me about friendships: good friendships can end, but the best ones don’t. And only time will tell you which one is which.
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