I love my friends. I treasure them. My friends are the center of my world. They keep me grounded, they keep me happy, they challenge me, they keep me laughing, they make me the person that I am. The people in my life are my top priority, and my life often orbits around them. I love each of them more than words can express.
But do you ever give up on a friendship? Can you ever? When do you reach the point where you say, "Enough is enough"?
When I was in middle school, I had friend problems. Each year I tried to wiggle my way into a group of friends, and each year, they hurt me and wouldn't let me into their clique. But after those awkward adolescent years, everything's been fine. I'm great at making friends and good at keeping them. I think I'm pretty fun, easygoing and slow to anger. When something does happen, I'm quick to apologize, I'm forgiving and don't hold grudges. I am by no means a perfect person, but I do believe that if there's even one thing I'm good at in this world, it's love.
In the past few years, I've had problems with friends. Problems that remind me of grades 6-8 when a good friend really was hard to find. I actually got very depressed about this a couple years ago, and when I talked to my mom about it, she counseled that it's just what happens when you're in your 20s. She said people grow and change a lot in that time, and you won't always grow and change together. I think she's right, and in reading your blogs over these past few months, I feel a little better about these problems because I see that I'm not alone. It still sucks, though, doesn't it?
You just feel so helpless. You don't know what you did wrong or what's happening or how to fix it. You expect a dating relationship to end, but not a friendship. Never a friendship. The pain of losing a friend aches in ways your heart hasn't bent before. And it's a slow ache that creeps up on you and intensifies as more time passes. I've gotten over the worst heartaches of my little life so much sooner than I've ever recovered from losing a friendship. It's a dull pain that stays with you.
This is what it feels like to lose a friend.
I don't know about you, but I never want to lose a friend. I never let go. I always keep wishing. If any of the friends I've lost in the past few years sent a kind email, a little "Hello, how are you?" I would be happy to reconnect and rebuild what we lost. I would apologize as easily as I would accept apologies - all with the thrill of welcoming the Prodigal Son that is our friendship home.
Looking back at my life, I've never chosen to end a friendship. There have been points when I felt it wasn't going to work, but even through those times, I push on and keep hoping. It's foolish probably. Many have cautioned me that it isn't healthy, that I just let myself get hurt again and again. Yet it's who I am. I love. Forever.
When someone hurts you consistently just because they can, isn't that the time to toss in the towel? To give up and save yourself more heartache? Probably. But it's so difficult for me to reach that point that if I ever did, it wouldn't be a big production. It wouldn't be calculated or declared. It would be a sad and private moment.
Sometimes I understand why a friendship is changing, what is at the crux of the issue, and I sympathize for my friend and for myself. I wonder if it's unfair of me to continue pushing, am I forcing them to be who I want them to be? Is it selfish to hold on? Can you ever force friendship? Is it self-indulgent? Why is it so hard to admit a friendship has run its course? Is it weakness?
When I'm worried or upset about a friendship on the rocks, I focus on the good, solid friendships in my life. The ones I'm certain will never go anywhere. I focus on all the love in my life rather than the love I've lost out of my life. I find that whenever you do that, you realize that one greatly outweighs the other. What we have is always more than what we've lost.
So let's try to stay chin up on those bad days, and shoot a good friend a quick "I love you, and I appreciate you," message. After all, when we stop to really look at what we have, we'll see we have a lot of love in our lives.