A Friendship I Let Go

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This post was inspired by My Money My Life’s post on Toxic Friendships.

The Wedding

I was a part of my high school friend’s wedding. We were good friends in high school, but lost touch in university. But when she got engaged, she asked me to be in her wedding party. I accepted but I wasn’t sure what to say. I hadn’t even met the groom.

The month prior to her wedding, I would bus back from the City (2hrs each way!) to my hometown to help prepare an event or attend an event. Some weekends, I would bus back, only to be waiting for her call – all weekend – for nothing.

On the day of her wedding, I was asked – the day prior – to make a speech to my friend. I felt so awkward – playing the part of the “best friend” when I felt I hardly knew her. But I put on a smile and made a toast to my friend and her new husband, wishing them all the best in their new life together.

After the Wedding

For an entire year after the wedding, I tried to get in touch with my friend, but she never returned my calls and after a few times, I stopped calling. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from her. My friend had settled into her new life, and I guess she wanted a friend. She thought that we should meet at least once a month to “catch up”.

She only wanted to meet back in my hometown. Others were last minute cancellation or change of plans on her part. I remember making plans a couple of times, but only once did we end up meeting close to her work. I get it, she has a husband and I’m single. I should be more flexible. But I got tired of it.

Letting Go

The truth was, that I only had so much time, energy and patience. And I felt that I was more annoyed than I was caring. I didn’t tell her to her face, I just kinda stopped making the effort. I stopped letting her know when I was back in town, or suggesting we meet up.

I left the ball in her court, but kinda knew that it would probably just stay there. I haven’t really heard from her, aside from a Facebook message last summer.

Bad Friend?

Maybe I should have been a better friend. Maybe I should have tried harder to be there for her when she might have needed me. But I just didn’t feel like it anymore.

I’m not sure if that makes me a bad person. I still feel guilty writing this out. But, it really felt draining trying to keep up what felt a “facade” of a friendship just because we were friends in high school.

Readers, have you ever had to let a friend go? How do you feel afterwards? Do you ever feel guilty?

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “A Friendship I Let Go

  1. I think most people can relate to that. I can very much relate to the fact that some of my friends who have kids often expect me to be the flexible one. Just one example: I have a friend who moved out of town with her family two years ago. I have been to her place (2h train ride) multiple times, while she has never come back to town to meet me since she moved. Now I systematically turn down her invitations to her place by saying I’d prefer us to meet at my place or in town but then she always has an excuse for her not being able to come. Bottom line is she wants this friendship only as long as it is convenient for her… I am not interested in that kind of friendship so I too have stopped making the effort…

    • I think you hit the nail on the head, “she only wants a friendship as long as it is convenient for her.” Not only does that get old (obviously), it’s also very selfish, and like yourself, I just outgrew her and not interested anymore.

  2. I agree with what you did. I had a friend and we were really close. But over the years we grew apart. No dramatic fight or anything like that. Just fell out of touch. At first I tried to remain in contact but as time passed I figured if she couldn’t make the time for me, I shouldn’t be trying to make time for her. So I let the memory of what the friendship was go and now I am no longer annoyed at all when we speak. We are no longer friends, but acquaintances.

  3. jacki0486

    I ended a long-term friendship last year. It was a very toxic friendship for me and I knew I had to end it for my own sanity, but we’d been friends for so long that the history there made it hard to end. I finally came to the realization that we were completely different people than we’d been in high school, and the things that made our friendship so bullet-proof in the beginning didn’t exist anymore. So I went to her apartment to return all the things that she had left at my place over the years and told her that I was done. I said that I didn’t hate her and wished nothing but the best for her in the future, but I couldn’t continue to put myself through the stress of our friendship anymore. She got really angry at that and started to yell and scream that everything wrong in our friendship was my fault (her typical MO: blame everyone else), but I walked out of there with no regrets and feeling lighter than I had in years; the weight of the stress our friendship caused had disappeared. I heard from a mutual friend that she got married recently and I’m really happy for her and I truly hope that it works out for them, but I am very glad that Iā€™m not a part of her world anymore.

    • I wasn’t sure if I should have formally told her that I didn’t wish to continue our friendship, but I didn’t want a huge blow-up confrontation, so I just let it fizzle out. Like you, I only want the best for my former friend, but I just didn’t want the stress of what was left of our friendship hanging over me, anymore.

  4. Sonia

    You shouldn’t feel bad. It sounds like you made a real effort, especially when you weren’t close anymore.

    Her being married is not a valid reason to make things convenient for her! If she had kids, I’d say that up to a certain point of the kid(s) age, you have to accommodate, but being married to another ADULT is a ridiculous reason to have to make things easier for her and less convenient for you.

    A friendship is a 2-way street and if both participants don’t make an effort, it won’t last.

    I’ve ended a few relationships (it was always me calling to keep in touch) after many years of trying to keep them going. Now I spend the extra time working on the friendships I have and cherish.

    • Thanks, Sonia! I really admire everything that you do, and how you juggle kids, husband and still manage to find to see us! If my friend had been doing that much, I would have no problem making that 2hour commute back to see her (probably not too often) – or so I’d like to think…

  5. I don’t think YOU were the bad friend here. Not at all! I think people grow apart – sometimes, relationships have to be let go. It doesn’t sound like she was making much of an effort, and it’s not fair for her to be relying just on you to make the effort!

  6. Sadly I think I’m more in the position of your friend but only because I live 8 hours away from my hometown. It’s hard to keep in touch with friends who are so far away and when I’m in town, I always try to make the effort to see them but last minute family things pop up and there just isn’t enough time to see everyone I want to see in one weekend or during the holidays. However I do make a conscious effort to talk to them on the phone, via facebook, via text, etc. so maybe I am not so much like your friend! Also I would never ask someone who I rarely talked to, to make a toast and be in my wedding. Totally ridiculous! I have let go of friends who have stabbed me in the back, but I’m sure it was a mutual understanding. Sometimes I feel like life is way too short to hold grudges and I want to be civil, but it’s hard to take that first step now that we’re older and I have nothing to say to them.

    • I think our friendship ended as a result of both distance and lack of effort. It seems that you do put quite a bit of effort to meet up your friends even though you live far away from them, and I am sure they appreciate that gesture šŸ™‚

  7. I was practically in your shoes (aside from there was no wedding). She was an old friend from elementary and high school. I moved away for university and been away from our hometown since (ten plus years). I visit the hometown about twice a year. It was always me who was doing the invites and it was always a drag for her come out or she would show up late or had to leave early. (She is single.) Her thing was that she was lived far. I got really upset a few times feeling that she didn’t value our friendship. I made my last attempt to get together and spend time with her last summer. At the last minute, she asked if she could bring two other friends (who I’ve met once or twice and am not crazy about), then her friend brought three other friends. A lunch that I had organized to catch up with her turned out to be that. I live several hours flight away. I let go. Just like you, I am leaving the ball at her court.

    • I guess I mentioned the wedding, because that seemed to be her last attempt to “be friends” or try to treat me like a friend. It turned out to have the opposite effect, but I think that even without it, we would have drifted apart, anyway.

  8. I wouldn’t worry about it. People drift apart. I drifted apart from one of my closest high school friends a couple years into university. She started hanging out with a different crowd and stopped talking to myself and our other friend from high school (who she actually lived with!). When she stopped returning my calls and emails, I was admittedly pissed off. It sucks, but I decided to let it go and let us drift apart.

  9. One sided relationships never work, doesn’t matter if its a loved one or a friend. You did nothing wrong. I think most people go through this one time or another. I would have done just as you did. And no, you shouldn’t be ‘more flexible’ because your single, she should have been ‘less selfish’.

  10. I have let friendships go. Not in a big “breakup” kind of way, but I have stopped making an effort and let a friendship fizzle out naturally. I don’t think you should have to try harder just because you are not married. It’s crappy that she is making you feel like that in the first place. Unless she has some extreme circumstance because of her marriage (even then, she could’ve probably tried harder), constantly cancelling on you just isn’t acceptable. I really don’t like it when my friends make me feel that their time is more important than mine (i.e. constantly being late, cancelling etc), so I would’ve done exactly you did – put in as much effort as she is into the relationship, let it fizzle out.

  11. Megan

    Friends are with you for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. I really think this statement is true. I had a friend, we met in college and had so much in common right away. We were “best friends” for 10 years. But then I started to change. Things that I once thought were funny coming from her, suddenly seemed immature. Once she met her husband, everything changed. I couldn’t stand the guy, but decided to give him a chance for our friendship. What was worse was that I didn’t like the person she was when they were together. Domineering and controlling. I grew tired of always being the one to call her, only to hear her complain about something stupid the dufus did. I even went as far as taking his side every now and then in hopes helping her see her behavior. It was sad to me when the relationship ended and 4 years after our “break-up” I still think of our fun days and smile, or wish when certain things happen I could call her and tell her. But she was in my life for a season and that season has passed.

    • Eeks. It’s always a difficult situation when a spouse is involved. I wanted to be there for my friend – just in case – but it was just too much.

      Good analogy about the season – it’s something that I need to keep in mind.

  12. belowhermeans

    I can really relate.

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