Time to Let Go?

My Chinese astrological sign is the Dog.  According to Astrology.com, that means “The Dog makes a wonderful, discreet and loyal friend and is an excellent listener.”  Another sign of the Dog is that it takes me a while to trust someone and let them into my inner sanctum, but once I do, it takes a lot for me to choose to stop being friends with someone.

Because of this I suck at ending friendships.  One reason is, as my Chinese Zodiac says, I’m loyal once I’ve let someone in, but the other reason is because I don’t want to hurt the other person, and I’ve never learned the art of saying “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore” without making it sound blunt like that.  It’s easy for kids to say “You’re not my friend!” but for some reason, that gets harder as we become adults.  Or, it did for me, anyway.

I can take lots of cancelled plans, missed phone calls and even hurt feelings over things, but there will come a point when I’ve had enough of the “neglect” or “abuse” and want to call it quits.  And the severity of the neglect or abuse determines just how much of it I’m willing to put up with.

For instance, I once had a friend who was extremely needy and pushy. When I began to notice that, I actually got up the gumption to say “This isn’t working out for me, and I think we should go our separate ways.”  But I let her talk me into staying in the friendship, with her promising to be better, and me not wanting to hurt her feelings.

Things actually got worse when she moved away about a year later.  You wouldn’t think those traits would worsen with distance, but it may have been that, with her gone, I noticed my inner peace when we didn’t talk, and then the roiling of emotions when we did.  What before was an outing every couple of weeks, watching a movie or dining out, now became hours-long phone calls every week of listening to her complain about her life’s dramas and not once being asked what was going on in mine.

I began noticing my reactions about three months after she’d moved away, and a few months after that, I started realizing that I again wanted to end the friendship.  But again, since I didn’t want to hurt her feelings–and since my first attempt to do so didn’t stick–I would instead avoid her calls and wait several days to call her back.  I found that I had to emotionally prepare myself to talk with her.

When I finally did get up the courage to say something again, I told her that I was feeling like her therapist.  She apologized and was okay for a week or two, but then reverted right into the same actions.  So I eventually stopped trying to mention anything about myself, and took longer and longer to get back in touch with her.  The final straw for me was when she asked for money that she imagined I owed her.  It’s a long story, but suffice it to say, I have written proof that I didn’t owe her anything.  However, by that time I’d endured three years of this uncomfortableness and wanted her out of my life so much that I offered to pay her half of what she thought I owed her with the express understanding that she was to never contact me again.

On the more drastic side, a friend in high school began dating my ex boyfriend a few weeks after I had broken up with him for date raping me.  I honestly didn’t mind that they were dating each other, but when she began to say that I had asked for him to rape me . . . THAT I minded.  When I heard that, I was done.  I had nothing more to say to her and nothing more to do with her.

But in both instances, I was only able to end the friendship when I was angry.  In the latter case, there wasn’t a need to end it beforehand, but with the former one (and with others throughout my life), I’ve endured lots of annoying or disrespectful behavior because I’m unable to say “This isn’t working for me.”

So, how do people end friendships?  Do any of you out there have the ability to calmly call it quits with no real hurt feelings on either end, or are you just able to end it without worrying how the other person will take it?

I’m looking for a lesson so that I can handle it more maturely, should this ever come up again in my life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Follow Me on Blog Catalog

Philosophy Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
%d bloggers like this: