Category Archives: Friends

A Long Overdue Good-Bye

Sometimes growing up means saying good-bye to the ones you loved. It means walking out on them, maybe when they feel like they need you most. Sometimes it means shutting a door and trying with all your might to never look back.

It doesn’t come easy, this part of growing up. It’s a knock-down, drag-out, full-on war within yourself. Are you doing the right thing? Will it all pay off in the end, or are you just burning bridges for the hell of it? Why are you turning away from someone that you can’t stop thinking about?

When you have to let someone go, really let them out of your life, never to return, sometimes they don’t get the closure they were looking for. It may feel selfish. It may feel as though your whole world is crashing down. It probably feels exactly like that.

You’re going to feel like the worst person in the world, because you know that this is your fault. You’re the one ending it, even if your friendship has been begging to be put down for years.

Saying good-bye to someone doesn’t mean you don’t wish them well. That you don’t remember the good times, because you do. You remember them, long for them, even though sometimes you wish you didn’t.

Because if you didn’t remember the good times, then this would all be easy. If you forgot all the times they held you while you cried, laughed with you, sat in your bed at 3am after everyone else had walked out—then it wouldn’t matter that they weren’t there for you anymore. It wouldn’t matter that you had to let them go, push them away, and say good-bye when all you wanted to say was “come over.”

Because if you didn’t have those, all you would remember were the bad times. The fights. The yelling. The anger that lasted for days on end. The backstabbing and the selfishness and overwhelming desire to one-up each other. The constant need to be right, to win, to come out on top. Then you’d just remember throwing things at the wall and slamming doors in your last ditch attempt to make some kind of radical point.

If that was all you had, then none of this would really matter. But you do. You know how good things can be, but you realize, finally, that the bad outweighs the good.

Letting them go is the kindest way to let them have the last word. A final way to say “Alright, you win. You’re the better person, and your prize? Not having to deal with me in your life anymore.”

They’ll deny it. Say that you’re actually wrong, just to say it one more time. They’ll fight you on it, begging without actually begging to let things go back to how they were. They’ll push you, but all they’re doing is successfully proving your point. That your lives are better off spent apart. That future you’d planned together, the places you were going to go—it’s really just full of empty promises and late-night shouting matches.

Friendships aren’t meant to be that hard. They aren’t supposed to tire you out and leave you weary. The hardest part is admitting to yourself that it isn’t all their fault. Every little thing they’ve done to you, you’ve paid back tenfold. You’re more to blame here than they are, but sometimes people aren’t meant to stay in your life, no matter how hard that reality is to accept.

Instead, you just have to let go.

Maybe you’d kill to make sure they were happy. To know that things are going to be ok for them, because you still want what’s best for them. After all, that’s all you’ve ever really wanted. Maybe you want to call. Check in. Send a quick text message just to see how life’s been lately. Make sure they know that you’re thinking about them, always. Tell them you should catch up, how you have so many things you’ve needed to say to them. Ask if you can have one more chance to lay it all out before you go your separate ways.

But you know you can’t do that. It would never work. Someone would roll their eyes, get annoyed, talk over the other with points about how wrong they actually were. It would end with someone storming out, even more hurt than they were before. Deep down, you know—how things are now? That’s really what’s best.

So maybe you just write about it. Publish it somewhere on the internet that you’re not even sure they remember exists. Maybe then they’ll see it and know how you feel—that you’re sorry, but you aren’t ever coming back.

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What Our Friendship Means to Me

Being a best friend means making a promise. It’s telling someone you will fight for them, against anyone, no matter how hard it gets. It means keeping secrets. But it means not keeping secrets, too, not from each other.

It means inside jokes, late nights, long phone calls. Calling each other out on your shit. Literally saying “Get over yourself, Jess.” Kicking each other down a notch when your ego is out of control but being there to build each other up when you need it most. It’s reminding them what matters most when they seem to have forgotten.

Best friends means knowing when you need to push harder and when you need to back off. It’s crossing a line when you didn’t know when to back off but being forgiven anyway. It’s letting them verbally kick the crap out of you when they really want to do it to someone else. You take it so they don’t fuck up a relationship with someone who may not fully understand.

Knowing you have a steady constant in a constantly shifting world, that’s best friendship. It’s always being excited for each other, wanting the absolute best for someone who’s fighting to make sure you have the absolute best, too.

It means buying the most kick ass birthday presents. EVER.

It means baking too many cookies and sending care packages across the country. It’s YouTube videos and song lyrics and movie quotes.

Best friends doesn’t mean being in the same room. It doesn’t even mean being in the same state. It just means being there, no matter what, always. It means someone is going to love you, even when you fuck up. Someone isn’t going to judge, isn’t going to tell you what you should have done differently.

It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean they’re perfect, either. Best friends doesn’t always make sense, but it doesn’t always have to, really. It just has to be.

Best friends means doing whatever it takes to make it work, because it’s always going to be worth it.

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When it’s Time to Say Goodbye

Friendships are hard, especially in life post college. They don’t come as easily as they once did, and it’s a lot more convenient to just let them fall by the wayside than to actually try and make them work. But what happens when the friendship just kind of keeps sticking around, even though you know it’s long past time to say goodbye to someone?

I can name more than one person (OK, a whole lot more…I’m actually too embarrassed to tell you exactly how many) that I’ve been keeping around because they remind me of a time in my life when I was happy. When things were good, and I could count on steady plans every Friday night. Hell, even when things were bad–they were the people I knew were going to be there with a suggestion to go get ice cream at 2am. (Thank God for college towns and a 24-hour Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, btw.)

But now, 2 years out of college, where do those friendships really fit into my new life?

They aren’t really people who will come visit me in Indiana. And they aren’t really the kind of people that I would die for the chance to spend a weekend crashing on their couches, either. So unless they happen to pass through town or I head their way and have a chance to grab lunch after spending time with a real friend, we aren’t going to be hanging out any time soon.

The sad part is, they used to be the kind of people who would absolutely come visit me at my new place. Can my place even be called new anymore, now that I’ve lived here more than a year and a half? Technically it would still be new to them, I guess, seeing as how they’ve never set foot inside. I’d say that totally counts.

And if you want to know the truth…one or two of those people have even been here before. But the way things have played out in our lives since then, I don’t know if I would really want to invite them back. They’ve become more of a burden than a person I’d actually care to spend my time with.

I’ve said numerous times that I don’t need to be in the business of turning down friendships. I can always use more people to hang out with or text when I’m bored. That’s probably why I do everything I can to stay friendly with exboyfriends or bitchy girls who I really have no need for anymore. But they want to be my friend still? Sure, let’s totally try hanging out again! Even though I know it is going to go very very badly.

In reality, though, those kind of relationships have a way of working themselves out. Push finally comes to shove and they seem to end on their own. The ones that just keep going, while being only mildly annoying–those are the friendships I’m worried about.

How do you break up with a friend that you’re only semi-friends with in the first place? A person that you know you’re going to want to text when things get hard or when something amazing happens? Sadly, I find myself asking if I truly want to share the news with these people or if I text them quite literally because I have almost no one else to tell.

To those of you who are actually important in my life, and I have no doubt that you know who you are, you guys rock and I will always call/text/email you first when something crazy awesome happens (which is more often than not, these days). But to those of you who are still out there on the fringe. I think it’s time to finally cut the cord.

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The Kindness of Others

There are days in my life when I need someone to remind me how good my little corner of the world actually is.

Not the very bad days…the days when I collapse in bed and cry myself to sleep are usually a lost cause. I just lay there, knees to my chest, and wait for morning, knowing that nothing anyone can say will reach that part of me that’s hurting so bad.

It’s not the the days when everything seems to go right, either. Of course it isn’t. On the days I feel productive and loved and I fall asleep happy, I can remind myself. No help needed then.

No. It’s those in-between days. The ones where I feel like I’m swimming against a semi-strong current. It’s not pushing me back–I don’t feel like I’m losing ground–but I just can’t seem to get ahead either. On those kind of days, nothing seems to go right. My outfit doesn’t quite match as well as I wanted it to. The plans I was really counting on fell through. The dinner I was super pumped about making for myself turns out awful.

I am a very firm believer in karma. Treat others with respect, speak kindly to them, and you will receive much of the same in return. So are those bad days–the ones that make life a little bit harder but not quite unbearable–a product of me pissing off the universe?

Probably. As hard as I try, I consistently feel like I owe much more than I’ve received. I snap at people who were really only trying to help. I am sarcastic more than my fair share, and I take advantage of the compassion that others have shown to me. I’m stubborn as hell and needier than I care to admit.

No matter how much I may deserve those days, they still hit me like a physical blow. They knock the air out of me, and I’m unsure of where to turn. String more than one of those days together? I’m starting to doubt myself like crazy and wondering how on Earth this is going to get better.

Sometimes, more often than not, I get lucky on the days like that. Someone in my life will have impeccable timing and reach out exactly when I need it most. And not only because I have awesome people in my life who are willing to be my savior on those nights, because I absolutely do. But usually, the person who saves me has exactly zero idea that my world is on the verge of a (perhaps overdramatic) collapse.

They just appear. Out of nowhere, with exactly what I needed to drag myself out of the hole I was so willing to sink into not 5 minutes before.

An extra-long phone call from that best friend I’ve been seriously missing. A Sunday afternoon dinner invitation. Sitting next to that coworker I’m only kind of friends with in that meeting I’ve been dreading all week and having their snarky comments and perfectly timed eye rolls turn it into my favorite meeting all month. An e-mail about nothing but how much a friend misses eating at Jimmy John’s.

I am lucky. Beyond lucky, actually. You all make my heart happy. I don’t say it enough, but I need you, perhaps more than you have imagined. Maybe you have imagined it–maybe I’ve even told you before. But you deserve to hear it again.

Thank you. For getting me through those days when I can’t seem to pinpoint why I’m feeling depressed. For listening to me ramble on about my little problems and offering whatever solution you can. Thank you for hugging me and loving me back and giving me your addresses to send baked goods to.

You all rock.

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I Mean It

Sometimes you want to look at someone and say “I know things haven’t worked out like we planned, but I just want you to know that I’m here for you.

On days like that, my words aren’t enough. I could (no literally, I actually could) type out page after page; I would try to be eloquent, but those words would never come close to measuring up to how I truly feel. Some days I am overwhelmed by the idea that I could never properly express all the emotions welling up inside me, no matter how hard I tried. Some days I just have let go and give in as those feelings take over. Get lost in them and not come up for air.

It’s not about casual friendship, romantic love, or even lust. It’s about how you feel when you care about someone so deeply that you move to a place beyond any normal friendship to actually feeling like you have a stake in how their life turns out. More than wanting them to be happy, you feel as though your own happiness hinges on theirs. You start to think that, given enough time, you can fix their problems for them. You cry because their life hasn’t been easy and rejoice when things finally start to go right.

For reasons you will never understand, the universe has decided that the two of you are intrinsically linked, and you know you couldn’t stop caring about them, loving them, no matter how hard you tried.

The writer of that article must live inside my head. Must follow me around and know how I feel about you. They must know what I’m dying to say to you in a desperate attempt get you to understand. Know that I miss there being an us for people to give stupid nicknames to. I wish you would come back, because I would give anything in the world to be there for you again.

Missing you is a feeling so fierce that it literally cripples me if it finds me off my guard. It makes me catch my breath and fight back tears in the middle of a meeting. Sit down on the stairs after unexpectedly seeing your name on my phone because it had been so long since I’d heard from you. I think about you constantly, only because I’m trying so desperately not to think about you. The internal struggle is enough to make me crazy.

Reading that article made me face up to all those feelings I’ve been trying to hide from myself. That yes, my happiness really does hinge on yours. I want my best friend back. Because when I said that I would be there for you, no matter what, I meant it. And I still do.

–J.

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