When I read non-fiction books, I tend to read a few chapters a day so I am no overloading myself with information. I’ve been reading Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst and although I was a bit hesitant initially to read it, I am very glad I did. I saw several friends post about it, but I was hesitant because I truly do not feel left out or lonely so I wasn’t sure it was something I would be able to relate to. I’m about half way through and so far it is fantastic and I think everyone can not only relate to this book, but would also find it useful.
I have been thinking about friendship a lot lately, between this book and the fact that my Bible journaling this month is focusing on friendships. I have previously written about how friendships change as we get older and it is a topic I think everyone can relate to. Recently I found myself at a crossroads with one of my good friends and had to make a very hard decision. I am one of those people who always wants to try and fix a relationship, even when it is no longer a healthy relationship. I have found myself coming back to the same friendship over and over again, trying to fix it or improve it, with no success. Sadly, in this particular case, it is because the person on the other end no longer cares and that can be hard to accept.
I try my very best not to judge other people because we truly never fully know what is going on in another individual’s life. However, when I have to be witness to foolish and negligent behavior over and over again, I will admit it is hard to not form judgements. Witnessing these things made me start distancing myself from this person. I have a great respect for the people in my life and I have a deep respect for those relationships. Part of being a good friend is taking the time, even when you are busy, to check in on your friends on a regular basis. I feel like this isn’t something I should even have to explain; if you truly care about someone, you want to talk to them about what is going on in their life. This was my first clue that the other person no longer cared was that they stopped asking me about myself and my life. And as I said, I always want to try to fix things, so I would volunteer information hoping they would then want to talk about it. Occasionally then we would discuss something for a few minutes, but then the conversation would go back to the other person’s life. I like to think I am a good listener and I truly care about what is going on in my friends lives, but there has to be a balance. My second clue was when this person started to snap at me, make rude comments about things I brought up, including my family, as well as some other things in regards to my religious beliefs. It started to become clear that they no longer respected me or my beliefs. This is when I started to distance myself from this person, as I realized that my attempts to fix this relationship, which had been going on for over a year, weren’t going to work. At some point, you have to realize that if you are in a one-sided friendship with someone, no matter what you do or how hard you try, it isn’t going to change anything if the other person simply doesn’t care.
I started reading Uninvited right around the time I started distancing myself from this friendship and a lot of the things I was reading made even more sense. Just because I have been friends with someone my whole life, doesn’t mean I have to continue the friendship if it starting to become negative. Deciding to end a friendship doesn’t mean I am giving up in that relationship, it means I have realized that I don’t need to keep people in my life who treat me poorly, no matter how long I have known them. We are also both headed in different directions, which was another reason I made the decision I did. Thinking about the next year, buying a house and having children, makes me look at relationships and situations differently. This decision was particularly hard for me because ending the friendship would knock my normal social gatherings out of balance and that concerned me. Last week I hung out with the other friends that had always been part of our “group” separately and you know what? It was so much better! There was no negativity or complaining or rude comments. It was such a relief to just hang out with some of my best friends, laugh and relax. It was wonderful and as much as I value all of my relationships, I wish I had walked away from this one a while ago.
If you are in a place where you need to move on from a friendship, make sure you do so respectfully, but absolutely leave behind anyone who does not care about you or respect you. Always be kind and always try to be the bigger person, even when you know you haven’t done anything wrong. Integrity is something that no one can take away from you. Letting go and moving on can be hard, although I do admit that knowing the other person no longer cares certainly makes it a lot easier.