Two things have floated past my Facebook feed today that have inspired enough thoughts to justify a blog post. The first reminded me of a friendship I took a long time ending but, in the end, his confession many years ago that he did not in fact defend me in my absence was the beginning of the end.
(Because yes, I think this stuff matters. A lot. Speak your truth, man. And in this case, don’t tell me someone slandered me and then tell me, “But I didn’t correct them.” No excuse.)
And then there was this post shared by my friend Luna, in which the author talks about the benefits of having a friend that’s not really your friend and about what you can learn from that relationship. In particular, this quote stood out:
Between putting me down, questioning everything I did, and spreading lies about me behind my back, I realized that you weren’t actually my friend. You were just another person who was stuck in their insecurities, who needed to put others down to keep yourself up. You were more focused on yourself and your own problems than on our friendship. That’s not the kind of friend I want in my life. While I was blinded to this side of you because you were a new shiny friend for a couple months, I finally realized we had no friendship. Initially, this realization saddened me, but, in the end, I’m better off without you.
There are friendships, relationships, that never really leave you. For better, and for worse, that connection is so entangled in your brain that even when the person is gone, their ghost never leaves you. I’ve known people that get mentally and emotionally stuck in that ghost-relationship, rehashing the grievances, the hurt, the memorized path of how things went wrong, that they can recite the history at a moment’s notice and never move past the pain.
These are among my least favourite ‘discussions’ to have, because it’s not a discussion, there’s no resolution or healing, there’s just mental gear grinding.
The quote above reminds me of one of those people. She’s someone I wish I could send that quote to, because that’s exactly why our friendship ended 10+ years ago and I didn’t have the words then to express the why to her then.
We were friends from 4th grade until well into our adulthood – or so I thought. Unlike the first friendship I mention in this blog, it didn’t take me years to figure out I was better off not knowing this person. No, sadly, our relationship started to end when I learned that she was describing me to others as ‘a waste of human flesh,’ and, when called on it, replied, “I’m sorry you head that.” This discovery led to others, other negative descriptors that was in direct contrast to what she said to my face.
I’ve been sad about the way things went for a long time. In part, I’m sad because I know she still hurts from the ending of our ‘friendship’ and because I know we have mutual friends wishing we could make amends.
But ya know? I read that quote, and I thought, ‘Yes. This.’
The people in my life today are people I trust, completely and utterly.
…I find myself wanting to say more about that, but I don’t think I need to.
People like C and L have taught me what I expect, what I need, out of a friendship. What I want to give to a friendship. And today, I may have just finally hit a point where I can be thankful for that lesson instead of sorry for the loss.