Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cutting Ties

The previous posting proved prophetic, because today, after many disagreements, I was left with no other choice but to cut off a person who I considered a good friend for about four years. I will not discuss the exact thing that lead to my decision, but he knows what he said and did. It sucks to realize that the person you think is gonna be a friend for a lifetime turns out to be one only for a season. But hey, it's another lesson learned. I'm better off without him anyway!

In my four years of knowing this person, I was there for him through his highs and lows: the arguments with his mother, the friends and ex-boyfriends who have come and gone, the life-altering news he received back in August, 2005, and many other things. Even though some of the things he went through I couldn't entirely relate to, I was a shoulder to lean on in times when it was necessary. And sometimes, just being there is enough. Along the way, there were a few instances where what he said got under my skin. He can be very kind-hearted when he wants to be, but he also can be cold and vicious when he feels like he is being attacked. I'm a pretty laid-back, subtle person. So it must be a pretty big issue to get me upset. Many times before, I thought about ending our friendship. But I kept being reminded (and reminding myself) that true friends last a lifetime, and you have to accept people for who they are.

But how much are you supposed to accept about a true friend when you are starting to portray anger on the inside, an emotion that is completely out of your character? What kind of friend do you really have where the person no longer values the friendship you have and quickly dismisses your thoughts, feelings, and opinions? What does it say about a person's true character where he speaks his mind to people with no problems, but yet gets very defensive and does not want to hear what you have to say about him when he does something wrong (or worse, feel that what you have to say is always wrong)? I pondered all of these questions to myself before I told said friend that I no longer wanted to be bothered with him anymore. It honestly was just too much work for me to be his friend. Friends are supposed to lift you up and bring out the very best in you, and everything I said to him lately turned into him beating me down. Shit, who needs that??? And frankly, anyone he interacts with is going to have to deal with that. He's intelligent and witty, but God help you if you ever disagree with him!

And after I reached that decision, I felt like a weight was being lifted from my shoulders. I felt my anger going away. I was and am content with it. I refuse to be bitter about this, because it's a wasted form of energy. Hell, I know the person is gonna be sleeping at night regardless. And I also know that all things work together for the good. It's making me into a better man. I wish the person inner peace and happiness. But I will no longer sacrifice my happiness just to call somebody a friend. I must move on now and keep growing as a person.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reevaluating Friendships

I sent this out through e-mail to my friends and coworkers. Everybody I sent it to loved it, so I thought I'd share this with all of you. Hope it resonates with you just as much as it resonated with me and all the others I sent it to...

There comes a time in all our lives when we may need to evaluate our relationships, making sure that they are having a positive effect on us, rather than dragging us down. Without realizing it, we may be spending precious time and energy engaging in friendships that let us down, rather than cultivating ones that support and nourish us along our path. Life, with its many twists, turns, and challenges, is difficult enough without us entertaining people in our inner circle who drain our energy. We can do so much more in this world when we are surrounded by people who understand what we're trying to do and who positively support our efforts to walk our path.

We can begin this evaluation process by simply noticing how we feel in the context of each one of our close relationships. We may begin to see that an old friend is still carrying negative attitudes or ideas that we ourselves need to let go of in order to move forward. Or we may find that we have a long-term relationship with someone who has a habit of letting us down, or not showing up for us when we need support. There are many ways to go about changing the status quo in situations like this, having a heart to heart with our friend showing through example. This process isn't so much about abandoning old friends as it is about shifting our relationships so that they support us on our journey rather than holding us back.

An important part of this process is looking at ourselves and noticing what kind of friend we are to the people in our lives. We might find that as we adjust our own approach to a relationship, challenging ourselves to be more supportive and positive, our friends make adjustments as well and the whole world benefits.