Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons Learned: Friend Breakup Edition

So my life is changing. In less than a month, I’m heading to England. And as the summer is coming to a close, I have been through a lot. I think this has been my most social summer yet. But when that comes around, so does some drama. As I have mentioned in a previous lessons learned, drama is a thing you just cannot escape no matter how mature you are. It is not easy to deal with. I’ve been through it this summer. I’m sure you read the title: friend breakup. It happens. And here’s what I learned:

1.       You shouldn’t feel obligated to keep someone in your life.

We’re going to call this friend Taylor because it’s gender neutral. Taylor told me a while ago that they consider me one of their best friends. We were hanging out all the time. They called me when they needed to talk about their life, and took me out when we both needed some time to chill out. When it comes down to it, Taylor was not making me happy. Despite Taylor considering me a best friend, I simply could not continue a friendship that was not reaping mutual benefits. Taylor was far from my best friend.

2.       Believe someone when they show you who they are the first time.

Original orator: Maya Angelou. Echo: my mom. Taylor was always telling me they are not a good person. I would always try to convince them of otherwise. And I think in the process, I managed to convince myself. I overlooked the moments that proved Taylor’s point because I wanted them to be a better person. Please don’t do that to yourself. Taylor was right; they are not a good person, and I should have believed that from the beginning. Perhaps the first time could be a fluke, but when the same behaviour continues, red flags must be raised.

3.       It’s a bad sign when you are ashamed to be friends with someone.
My breaking point with Taylor was when they met Sarah. Taylor managed to be insulting, rude, and insensitive within one conversation. I will admit that I allowed Taylor to get away with comments towards me that I would not allow anyone else to get away with when it was just the two of us. When we were with Sarah, I got a different perspective. I was unsettled by Taylor’s behaviour. There was no way I could continue the friendship if I felt the need to explain our friendship to others. Other friends should see why they hold a place in your heart.

Friend breakups suck, but it happens.
[source]
4.       You shouldn’t have to change who you are to be friends with someone.

This is something I realized when Taylor met Sarah. When Taylor dropped us off, I apologized and promised Sarah that she never had to see Taylor again (which is messed up in itself). But Sarah turned to me and said “I think that relationship tells more about you as a person than it does for him.” Which, essentially, means “you are a strong person for constantly dealing with that.” And that just should not happen. Changing yourself for your friends can be a good thing; adapting to meet the needs of your friends is normal. But when you find yourself annoyed and arguing and babysitting, then perhaps you need to reconsider what the friendship is doing for you.

5.       You should never feel angry after every hangout.

I am not the kind of person who gets angry easily, and I came home after every hangout with Taylor with a burning anger. It started with frustration and grew to a more serious emotion. This is not something I needed in my life. Friends should not be evoking something like that in your life. Anger is a destructive emotion, and I could not tell you where it could have ended up had I chosen to keep Taylor in my life.

6.       Being a good friend requires having a good friend.

What I mean by this is that friendship is a two way street. I learned so much about Taylor. I know about their past, and their plans for the future, and figured out their flaws. It seemed like every hangout ended up Taylor reveling over something I has discovered about them. I listened. I was always listening. I knew what made them tick. And we never brushed the surface with me. We once met up with a mutual friend, and she and I got into a serious conversation about our mothers. Taylor had no idea about how many issue I was having with my mom at the time because we never got to talk about me. Someone told me there gets to a point in an uneven relationship where the one giving finally gives up unless they got something back. And the truth is, I don’t know it Taylor would ever have the capability of being a friend to me like I was to them.
 
Learn from every ex-friend.
[source]

7.       The last impressions are just as important as the first.

As I said, I hit a breaking point. I did not - and strongly advise against – acting immediately. I waited a week or so before I contacted Taylor. The truth was, I had come to care about them. So I told them I wish I could still be a positive influence in their life, but I simply could not tolerate the way they treated me. Taylor tried to blame the situation on me. They claimed it was because we were “not compatible” rather than taking the responsibility for it themselves. Taylor’s final words to me were negative words against Sarah. Taylor’s final text to me was telling me that our conversation was on speaker. And so, dear Taylor, good luck trying to be my friend in the future, for that last memory is burned into my mind.

When it comes down to it, you really do need to surround yourself with the best people. Friends who raise you up and make you happy are of the utmost importance to your personal success. When you introduce your friends to other friends, it should be obvious as to why they hold merit in your life. I have a friend Deanna who is a ray of sunshine. Everyone is incredibly happy to be around her. A school friend of mine recently met her, and I got a text telling me how wonderful she is. And that’s how all your friends should be. People who bring you down are not worth any of your precious time. I know it’s not easy to let go of people, but sometimes, it needs to be done.

What is the best lesson you have learned from a friend breakup?
-Daniella