Letting One Of My Closest Friends Go
Few people are lucky enough to find friends as soon as they move to a new country, let alone someone who quickly becomes one of their closest friends.
After I left the love of my life, I moved to Spain for a fresh start. Within a month, I developed a new friendship with a girl from my yoga class. We had the same interests and she was fun, loving and kind. We saw each other every day and quickly shared our hopes, fears and dreams with each other.
She knew me inside out and, since we spent so much time together, we decided to live together as flatmates.
Trouble in paradise
As time went on, there were a number of issues that started to crop up. I ignored them all. After all, friends are meant to be with each other through thick and thin right?
I began to notice that there was a boy-related drama every other weekend. Someone broke her heart, someone lied to her, someone used her. I gave her advice, but it continued to happen. One day, I walked into my living room to find a strange man on my couch. Her new boyfriend! It made me feel uncomfortable but I said nothing.
I also began noticing she was always late for our plans. As I was launching a new business, I had deadlines and a million things to complete on my list. I would carve out time to have dinner with her, only to be kept waiting for 45 minutes.
Going from bad to worse
As time went on, the boundaries started to blur even further. I returned one day after a long day at work to find all my groceries eaten, and that she had taken off on vacation with my suitcase and some clothes. She hadn’t asked if it was okay beforehand. I felt annoyed but also like I was being a bit petty, but decided to ask her about it since it bothered me. She said, “I wouldn’t mind if you did it to me.” She had a point. I knew she wouldn’t mind, she was always so generous with everything—which made me feel even worse for being petty.
As my business began to develop, her personal life continued to deteriorate. We had the same conversations over and over again. About how she allowed guys to use her. How she should be a bit more careful with her selection in men before agreeing to be physical with them. A lot of my evenings were spent consoling her, and I always ended up feeling deflated and exhausted after.
The wake-up call
My wake-up call came when I realised that after working all day, I didn’t want to go back to my flat. The place that should have been my sanctuary and place of rest was now somewhere I wanted to avoid. I began spending less and less time with her, and found that the little time we spent together was always stressful and involved me helping her get out of sticky situations.
Sometimes, you grow out of people. I had grown as a person but she chose to remain mentally stagnant. She chose to spend her time on the same issues and take the same actions, regardless of whether it was good for her or not.
Friendship is about giving and taking. If you give and give and give, you aren’t doing yourself justice. She had all the best intentions; nevertheless, her actions showed she didn’t actually give much back. It was an unintentional reality. Time and energy are valuable commodities; choose wisely who you give them to and how much to give.
I Had To Let One Of My Closest Friends Go
The longer you hold onto the past, the less time you have for the present and the future. For the longest time, I refused to give up on the friendship because I remembered all the good times and amazing fun we had together. Essentially, I was living in the past, ignoring the present and hoping it would somehow go back to how it was before.
People change, and so will your friendships, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person to focus your energy on what is best for you and your mental health. You can’t keep saving someone who doesn’t want to save themselves.
In this busy, wild world we live in, so many things command our attention and time. But the beauty is, we have a choice in the environment we create for ourselves. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
Cover image by Heng Films/Unsplash