Sometimes I just can’t be that friend,the friend you want, sometimes I have to pick me and let you go. Years ago, I would never have thought of letting a friend go, I wouldn’t have had the self confidence to pick myself over another person. I would have just gone with the flow and allowed the friendship to continue even if it was a struggle.
Last year, I knew I had to let a long term friend go. I just could not survive the friendship anymore. Our friendship was too much of a struggle for me and it was draining. I had my own challenges in my life and I just couldn’t give her the time and commitment she needed. And in return, she was angry at me for not reaching out, or checking in, or being able to see her. I did feel horrible and went back and forth with my decision.
I knew I did not have the time to commit to this friendship. I did not have the energy and strength to put into it what it needed. I could not make her happy. I couldn’t be the friend that had to drive 2 hours to see her and she would never come this way to see me. I could not be the friend that constantly reached out but didn’t receive anything back. I could not put my energy into a friend that would never reach out to see how I was doing, but you were expected to reach out to her…I couldn’t do it anymore. The one that would never just call and ask how you are doing.. We had many fun times together but over the course of our lifetime, it became more and more draining.
I knew she would require more of a commitment than before. I couldn’t commit, I just couldn’t do it. I also could not take time away from other people that had been there for me in the last few years. I could not be stressed about it anymore or feel like I disappointed her. We might be friends again, but I mentally can’t do it right now.
I had to just say no I can’t do it. I had to say no I didn’t have the time to see her or come running. I needed to put myself first.
I had always been the person that tried to do everything for my friends, even ones that I really didn’t feel that close to. The old me would have put my needs aside to help her with her needs. Yes, that is all great. But after many times of not receiving the same treatment back, it becomes so exhausting and draining. In the past, I had set myself up to fail…I finally realized I do not have to keep friends that drain me… Or keep one’s that take me away from things I felt were important in life. I do not say yes to every event or activity that I am invited to anymore. I have learned to hang out with friends that have the same interests as I do. I have just had to let some friends fade out.
I try to eliminate the drama with friends. I will step away. I like friendships to come naturally and not be a lot of work. I do not want to plan a fun night out and have it ruined by fighting or making others feel uncomfortable. Or be with someone that needs to be the center of attention..
I have learned to set boundaries with certain friends. It actually works! I have friends that I love for many reasons, but I need to set boundaries. Some friends I do not have more than one drink with or do not spend much time with outside of certain activities. Or some friends I can only see for short periods. It might sound selfish, but it is what keeps our friendship together.
I think the older I get the more I have realized that I do not need a lot of friends. I do not have the time for all the drama. I do not have to be friends with everyone. I choose my time very wisely because it’s limited. I learned to say no to big events and concentrate on smaller ones with the people that I really love. I do not need to attend every halloween party, birthday party, work social, or christmas get together.
Friendships in your 40’s should be easy..the friends that stop by at 6 and don’t leave until midnight because you start doing a puzzle and laughing… Those are the friendships that I want to last a lifetime.