Last night, I had to witness the deaths of my two favorite companions on Doctor Who. I know I’m six months behind with this (actually closer to a year) but I just realized my Amazon Prime account allows me to stream certain TV shows for free so I just watched the first half of season seven. It broke my heart. And I didn’t even expect it! It was sad because they died but it worked out because they died together. SMH. So much hurt.
In other news, I found myself talking to my sister the other day about how to break up with a friend. It’s very funny/ironic because the last seven months of my life have been filled with me trying to figure out how to break up with a friend (kind of) and being unsuccessful. I told my sister that my advice would be close to useless for her since I find myself in the same situation but I offered her what I did have. Kind of like Peter and John.
The main reason I’ve been unable to break up with this friend – the main reason it’s hard to break up with a friend in general – is pride. On the one hand, you very much want to be done with the friendship. Either you’re no longer compatible or you never were but either way the relationship is not what it should/could be. Still, you don’t want to be the bad person who ended a friendship with an otherwise nice/fun/good person. That’s why people don’t break up in dating relationships and that’s why people don’t break up with friends. They just let it fizzle out. But when you think about it, there are two things at play here that make fizzling a friendship out seem like a not good idea.
1. You can’t break up with someone in any capacity and still be viewed as a cool/fun/nice person by the person you’ve broken up with. Sometimes you can. Sometimes you can break up with someone and you’re both really mature about it and it all goes well. But other times you break up with someone and it really hurts them, even breaks their heart, and they have a right to not consider you their favorite person. But no one wants this, at least I don’t. I don’t want to have been someone’s favorite person and then drop down much lower on their “favorite people” list. So to avoid being disliked even for a moment, we sometimes try to salvage something that isn’t salvageable. Sometimes we convince ourselves that the problem is totally fixable when it’s not or we tell ourselves that we’re just overreacting and things will get better even when they won’t. All to save face. All because our egos can’t handle us being disliked.
But when you think about it, it’s not like we’d be disliked for the wrong reasons. If I really liked a guy I was dating and then he broke up with me because it just “wasn’t working” I would be upset. And I would be angry with him. And I would not like him as much. And the reason I wouldn’t like him is because he hurt me. Whether intentional or not, he did, and since I’m a human with emotions I would react negatively to that. Duh.
2. You shouldn’t fizzle something out if you really want it to end. The reason fizzling out seems like such a good idea is because it doesn’t require us to be honest with the other party, instead we can avoid them. That way, we don’t break their heart and we don’t look like a bad person. “We just grew apart”. Sometimes, friends do just grow apart. It’s happened to me many times. But intentionally avoiding someone such that you eventually grow apart is not the same thing. This is just a mess. It’s pretty clearly a mess. I don’t feel like I need to explain why.
The thing is, when I write about these two things, I’m getting upset because I’m really talking to myself right now. I’m upset because earlier today, I asked someone for advice about ending a friendship even though I knew they wouldn’t say anything worthwhile. It’s not that the person I asked isn’t good with relationships, it’s just that the way to end a relationship always involves one person trying not to seem like a bad person to the other person. But we are bad people. I am a bad person. I do bad things. I make bad decisions. I hurt people’s feelings. I say mean things. That shouldn’t be surprising or upsetting to anyone because we’re all bad people. THAT’S THE POINT OF SALVATION.
But we can’t just walk up to someone when we meet them and say, “Hey, my name’s DJ and I can be a really hurtful person sometimes. Most of the times you see me I’ll be super fun to hang out with but that’s just the surface. The more you get to know me, the more honest I’ll be and the more likely it is I’ll say or do something not completely cool. I may start to annoy you. You may start to annoy me. Eventually, I may want to end this friendship with you but I won’t know the best way to do it so I’ll just ice you out. You won’t know exactly what’s happening but in a few years we won’t be friends. If I do this all the right way, you’ll still think I’m a great person at the end of this. You wanna grab dinner?”
That’s dramatic and unrealistic. I would never say that to someone, obvs. But sometimes, if I can bear to be just a little more honest with myself than usual, I know that that’s a little bit of who I am. Fortunately, the override feature (read: The Spirit of God) kicks in pretty often so I’m not usually like that but still.
I guess I just wrote this as a way to acknowledge my shortcomings and to say that I haven’t found a way to break up with a friend and still come out looking like an amazing person. Probably because there isn’t one. And that’s kind of OK.