Letting Go

by Jodifur on October 18, 2011

6 months ago I said goodbye to a group of friends.  And the how and the why don’t really matter.  The situation was difficult enough without splattering it all over the blogosphere.  I could go with the “we just grew apart” but the real answer is much more complicated than that.  There were hurt feelings and manipulations and lies, on all sides.  No one was right and everyone was wrong, me included.  But sometimes, you just don’t fit in a situation anymore.  And I did what, at the time, I believed was best for me, and I walked away.

What is so strange about that is that I never walk away from friends.  I keep my friends forever.  My two closest friends and I have been friends for over 20 years. They know me better than anyone, maybe besides Doug.  They have seen me through junior high, and high school, and college, and marriage, and babyhood. One of my friends and I now plan date nights through groupon and living social. We share babysitters. Michael loves her kids.

I’m a good friend.  I know I am.  It is one of my best qualities.  But it has taken me a long time to recover from my decision.  I felt myself questioning who I was and what I knew and whether or not things that had been said were true.  And in the end I decided it really didn’t matter.  Two people, or even 6 people can look at a situation and come away with different impressions.  I spent a lot of time during that time period saying “it is what it is.”  And I still believe that.

I believe that friends should lift you up.  That friends should make you feel better about yourself, not worse.  I believe that friends should make you laugh until you cry, and you can call, no matter what time of the day, when you need them.

I also believe this:

It is okay to walk away from relationships that don’t work.  It was a hard lesson for me to learn.  But I learned it.  And I’m a better person, and a better friend, for it.

{ 21 comments }

Lisa October 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

Not that many years ago, my best friend from 2nd grade and her husband split up. When they got back together, he forced her to call me and tell me we couldn’t be friends anymore because I knew about her leaving him.
It left me broken. It was like losing a lover.
She called me a few weeks ago to apologize over her actions six years ago and to tell me their divorce would be final in a month. And we haven’t spoken since.
I’m happier to live with her memory in my heart and not with her in the day to day.

RachelFerrucci (@RachelFerrucci) October 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

Wow Jodi- This is sad, I too love having friends and I would do anything for them. It sucks when you need to cut the ties but no matter who the toxic relationship is with, it must be dissolved.
You know you roll 120 deep with people who love and care about you!! xoxo

Allie October 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

I had a very close friend betray me a few years ago. She tried to apologize, tried to put the blame on me and even others. It was so painful, we had a long history but I ended the relationship. It was for the best – I still have memories, but am not dealing daily with the anguish.

annettek October 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

You are not alone. I’ve had friends in the past who sucked the life out of me with their negative energy. It’s hard but sometimes you just to let those people go, whether you walk away quickly or just drift away.

Veep Veep October 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

I think you are so smart for realizing this and being able to share with it with others.
Many times we are friendly with people and we think they are great friends when they are usually just acquaintances. It’s just easy for some people to call everyone a friend. And then they are shocked when they drift apart.
But you can tell when you are truly good friends with someone. They can be someone you talk with only twice a year or someone you see every day at carpool. Cherish those friendships. That’s what I do. :)

Gena October 18, 2011 at 9:24 am

We have to remember that friends are supposed to make us better not worse. When we start acting like something we are not because of a group of friends, we have to re-evaluate. It isn’t a bad thing, just something that needs to be done. Over the years, we all change and we grow apart. :)

cagey October 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

It’s hard to walk away from friendships. I walked away from 2 friends last year and this year, I had a friend walk away from me. And then, in the summer, a long-time friend died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Geez, talk about digging deep and soul-searching.
In short, I heart this post.
I ultimately decided this — I already have a good core of friends and that I needed to concentrate on those friends that add something to my life — be it different perspective, a laugh here and there, a good book or TV show recommendation, SOMETHING. If a friend makes me feel bad about myself for no good reason (i.e. constructive criticism is okay), then I am walking away from those friendships from now on.
Also, as I am meeting a crapton of new people right now (the whole new school thing brings a brand-new crowd of folks into your life. Cripes.), I am very careful about screening potential new friends.
Anyway — you’ve been a good, kind, understanding friend to me all these years. Only make those efforts towards folks who DESERVE your precious time, Jodi. :-)

Linda October 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

wow. so proud of you. it’s so hard to know when that moment is. I’ve toyed with this with one friend in particular, but it’s so back and forth, up and down, that I can’t figure out if it’s the right thing. so admire your courage.

Amy B. October 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

Life is too short to waste time on people who do not lift you up, support you and make your life better. It’s that simple. Us women all too often feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. Good for you for taking the steps you needed to take.

Char October 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

I agree with you, and have walked away from unhealthy friendships also. But does that mean you can never give some another chance? Especially when they have seen the error of their ways and are truly making an effort to correct their hurtful behavior? I think maybe it’s all about the effort each party is making to see the other point of view, and to see themselves. Maybe not for the person you met last month, but when someone has been in your life for over half of it, is there a special set of rules?

{sue} October 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

Not too long ago, I had to let go of a friend who had let me go at least a year before that. I kept sending cards and birthday gifts and emails and trying to ignore that they were never acknowledged. I don’t know why I got dumped – I’ve been soul searching ever since and I can’t come up with anything. This was my maid of honor, the gal I thought I’d be an old lady in Florida with. It was hard to let go of wanting to make it right. It really helped to write about it – although I had to be discreet because I’m never sure if she’s reading.

Corey Feldman October 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

Sometimes you just have to let toxic people go, no matter who they are. It is sad, and hard, and easy to second guess yourself. But if they are truly toxic, you have to put yourself and your family first.

matthew October 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

nice piece jodi. i’ve encountered this decision point with a few people. some where on my end, while others were realizing that i was no longer “in favor” with someone. i think the first inspiration card you posted is accurate. i think a lot of us hold dearly, somewhat romantically, to the idea that all friends are for life. i’ve come to accept that some friends are like seasons in my life, while others are year-rounders. some people come into your life when you need them (you’re going through something, you’re lacking something, you’re trying something new). however, as hard as it may be to say this; when the need is filled, you’re reliance on that person diminishes. on the flip-side, there are people that will come into your life (a long time ago, or yesterday) that just fit. these people may not share all interests with you, but for whatever reason–you just click.
if anything, i think on the problem the leads to dull friendships is a denial that there’s really not a lot there to hold you two together. it’s always good to explore why you’re having issues with someone. it’s one thing to back up after an emotional situation to determine where things stand. it’s another thing to find yourself repeatedly annoyed by someone, but saying “well…that’s just how she/he is.”
the hard part of moving on from established connections is just that — moving on. not everyone gets the hint of non-communication. unfortunately, a lot of us are not willing to or comfortable stepping out on an emotion limb to let someone know that the relationship has run its course. i think it’s important to know, before having a talk with this friend, whether you’re willing to see if they are willing to change. again, because of romantic ideas of never-ending friendship, we sometimes get lulled into doing the dance with someone only to realize we are still in the same place — often leading to even greater resentment.
best of luck with your decision(s). peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

schmutzie October 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

So very true. I’ve had to do the walking away on more than one occasion, and, as hard as it is, it is also a liberation. I still love those people, I just can’t be with them anymore.

DiPaola Momma October 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

So true, both in the knowing when to let go and in the FACT that you are a wonderful friend. When I needed it most, you knew when to just hug me. It didn’t matter where we were, who got a glimpse of our tears or that they might wonder “why”. You were there for me. A true friend, no judgement, no words necessary, just there. THANK YOU!

Deb @ San Diego Momma October 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

This is what I needed to read today. Funny how that happens.
I also walked away from a group of friends several months ago because my motivations and life focus no longer matched theirs. It hurts because I “read” them occasionally and am reminded of the time we did spend once, but every day I am happy that I walked away. I feel more myself, you know? Not trying to be something that they were for the sake of keeping the relationship going.
I heard once that trying to make a relationship work can end up being more toxic than the relationship itself ever was…

Issa October 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

One of the hardest things in life is making the choice to walk away from a friendship. It’s so complicated and no matter how it happens there are always some regrets. I have found though, that saying goodbye to some, opens doors for others to walk into.

Kir October 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I have been walked away from and walked away from a friend. Both have been so hard….life changing and heard on my heart. I often say that losing those friendships are like the many breakups with boys I’ve had and they hurt even more. I applaud you for writing about it, I love how you are dealing with it and I wish you comfort with your choice. I don’t know you, but I can guess that you are a very good friend and this decision was not an easy one.

Middle State October 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I let go of a lifelong friendship three years ago. It was (and still is) painful but it is what is for the best for both of us. What we did together as children and young adults is one thing, but when you reach a certain point in adulthood, I think friendships either evolve or else someone is compromising her own principles too much to make it work. I still love her dearly.

Mel October 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I love that first quote. It’s an important lesson to remember, and one that doesn’t negate the person’s importance that they played for a certain time period. But not everyone can stay close forever.
I thought it was a brave of you to post this.

Cath @ 7 Million Wonders October 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I’m so glad you posted this. About three years ago a friend walked away from ME. She wasn’t a perfect friend but then, neither am I, but she was my friend and I loved her. I’ve been having a hard time letting go. This really helped. Thank you.

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