Friday, March 2, 2012

Adult Problems: Cutting Friends

In high school you strive to be popular. In teenage years, you are cool based on your looks and the amount of friends you have and/or the amount of people who want to be your friend. However, as an adult you realize that it's not about the amount of friends you have, but rather the quality of friends. 


When I was a little girl, whenever I went anywhere with my family (the park, vacation, the beach, etc.) I would turn to my parents and tell them that I was off to go make new friends. I've tried my hardest to be a good friend, and consider myself someone who is very loyal.

Since I was young, I've always had what I considered a lot of friends. My mom always told me that it's better to have a handful of good friends rather than a ton of friends, who are more like "people you know." However, now that I am a real adult, I've learned that my mom was right and so I've started the cutting process.  

Side note: I think getting married and owning a house classifies me as 'real adult' status, even if I don't feel like I am close to turning 30.

This process definitely started after college. College was great - I had most of my good friends within a 10 minute radius, and most of them lived in the same apartment complex that I did. I also realize now that people are VERY different when they are in college. There is something about college life being so relaxed with little to no responsibilities and a ton of freedom that makes people more pleasurable to be around. 

Laid back college life.
The first really good friend to get cut from my life, who for years I considered one of my best friends, was the toughest to let go. We both grew up and truly became different people after undergrad and didn't have much in common. She kept seeing me as the same person I was in college, and I saw her as someone completely different; with a personality that frankly, I didn't care for at all. However, push came to shove and I was trying to hang on to a friendship that just wasn't there anymore. In the end, there were too many miscommunications between us that resulted in us trying to start fresh. However, her new life and mine just didn't have anything in common and we now are more like strangers. 

This ending friendship was probably the hardest for me to walk away from. Maybe I didn't want to face the fact that people change as they enter different stages of their lives. Or maybe this ending friendship was my first slap in the face that my life was never going to be as carefree and full of (what I considered at the time) great friends like it was in college. It was one of those "oh hi adulthood" moments that scared the crap out of me. 


There were more friends here and there that it was hard to keep in touch with once we all went our separate ways after college. There are a handful of them I can say truly makes me sad to not talk to, as they were once one of my closest friends. Communication turned into a few messages here and there on Facebook, which isn't a real friendship. However, I don't think a friendship is possible of lasting if only one person is making all of the effort to keep the friendship going. Something inside of me clicked when I realized that if I was the only one making the effort to reach out by phone or email and keep in touch, than the friendship wasn't worth the time and energy. 




Another major friendship that I decided to cut was with someone that I thought would be a forever friend. I moved to Atlanta with this person and we even lived together. However, the friendship changed drastically when we both got into relationships. Unfortunately, we did not mesh as "couple friends." Again, another life change that can change a friendship. My mom  gave my now husband and I some clarity when explaining to us that people are different in relationships than they are when single. You can all be friends when single, but as a couple, the dynamic doesn't always work. This was dead on in this specific case. I eventually cut off the friendship after trying to find ways to hold on after two plus years of trying to figure out a way to make it work. In reality, it was never going to work as long as we were both in our current relationships (which we both married the guys). 


The plus side to this was that my husband and I have made a number of new couple friends who we love hanging out with and have a great time together. We still have a great number of good single friends that we cherish, but there is something great about when four people can get together and all have a great time no matter what we are doing. 


The most recent two instances of cutting out girls who I considered to be very good friends with had to do with them being selfish individuals. I am someone who will go above and beyond for my friends. However, I draw the line when I feel taken advantage of. 


Whenever I have someone come to Atlanta for whatever their reason (work, pleasure, family affair, etc.), I will do what I can to go to where they are to meet up with them. This is their trip and they did their part by making the trek to the dirty south and reaching out to let me know that they are in town and would like to meet up.  I've been raised that this is common courtesy, and therefore I expect the same whenever I travel to another city. This wasn't the case with someone who I considered such a good friend that I traveled to their city to see a number of friends, but they were one of the main reasons I planned my visit. However, the trip turned into me trying my hardest to see this friend and her basically doing whatever she wanted to do and hoped that I would adjust to her schedule. In the end, I spent little to no time with this friend and a week later it resulted in her calling me to tell me that I went out of my way not to see her and that I was the selfish one. Why is it that the most selfish people never seem to look in the mirror and realize that they are the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black? (And I am not the only person who thinks this person is extremely selfish and self absorbed, and I will take responsibility for my actions, if they were in fact true.) Friendship ended. 




And lastly, the latest cut friendship was one of those, "why didn't anyone tell me I was going to get screwed eventually by this person" instances. I always went above and beyond for this person as a friend. While we were very different people, it somehow worked. She is much older than I, isn't married (but is in a relationship), and we have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to movie, music, fashion, etc. Complete polar opposites. However, I thought she was a good person and I gave her a chance. I invited her to come over all the time, had my husband cook dinner for her and her boyfriend, and I always bought her something nice and took her and her boyfriend out to dinner to say thank you whenever they watched our dogs while we went out of town on lengthy trips. However, the red flags should have started when I played witness many times at how poorly she handled herself with other friends when issues came up. For example, it seemed like she never wanted to take responsibility for her words or actions, especially when she hurt someone else. Instead, she would put blame on the other party involved and would just cut them off and walk away. Confrontation was never her thing with friends, yet she had no problem confronting strangers. 


The instance that became the icing on the cake for me was when she had asked my husband and I to watch her dogs for what I thought was going to be a long weekend. However, we had tried to watch her dogs a few months prior and it just didn't work out - her dogs didn't like being out of their house and caused my husband and I to have our daily routine interrupted beyond repair. This information was communicated to her after our first trial run, which we thought she understood. Long story short, this friend not only used us to take business away from someone else who was already hired to watch her dogs, but we were also given the full details of their length of trip via email one day prior to the drop-off date that we would be watching their three dogs for 10 days. Being good friends, we knew that it was going to be an extremely rough 10 days for us, but we went ahead and said we would do it because we didn't want to screw her over last minute. 


Communication during the few days that the dogs were at our house weren't the most pleasant. This friend would laugh at instances that caused me great unpleasantness (including her dog eating my dog's shit and me throwing up, and the same dog sleeping on my face all night and causing me not to be able to get a wink of sleep so the dog would be comfortable). This is when I started to see the light - it was all about her and her animals, and my husband, two dogs and my own well being weren't being considered. After four nights of not getting any sleep due to one of the dogs whining all night, amongst other instances, we had to throw in the towel for our own sanity and make the tough call that the dogs had to go somewhere else. After the difficult call was made, I was shocked that this friend did the ultimate bitch slap of 2012 - she defriended me on Facebook. No phone call, no text, no email to try to talk about what had happened. I also figured this out while I was in the process of typing out an email to her to give her my side of the whole situation, which I thought in return would open the door to a civil conversation and a continuing friendship. Needless to say, it's been about 6 weeks and no communication has been made. No loss on my end!



In conclusion, I have learned three things from these instances: 
1. Trimming the fat on friendships that aren't worth the time or effort are becoming easier as I get older.
2. Selfish people suck and in the end will find themselves all alone. 
3. Girls are so much harder to stay friends with than guys are. 



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