Check out Beyond Blue for Therese’s lovely video on what to do when a friendship ends. I love how she talks about the end of a friendship as similar to the end of a marriage. And what a beautiful quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
“I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be. The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.”
I am responding so strongly to Therese’s video because I have unresolved friend-break-up issues. Twice, I have been dumped by friends–one of whom was so close she was a bridesmaid at my wedding–so unceremoniously, without warning, and without closure that I’ve never quite gotten over it. I’ve always wondered if the end of our friendships hurt them too, and I would love to know what they would say about Therese’s insights.
Both of my friend break-ups basically involved my friends “going dark.” No returned phone calls, no returned emails. Just buh-bye.
With Friend B (not the bridesmaid), we actually had plans to get together for lunch that week. I called her to say I had to reschedule (because of a death in my family, though I can’t imagine that has anything to do with it), and I simply never heard from her again. I called to ask when we should reschedule lunch, I emailed a few times, and eventually after a few weeks, I just gave up. Several months later a mutual friend asked me if I was going to B’s baby’s birthday party. I hadn’t been invited. That was 3 years ago.
Friend A (the bridesmaid) was slightly more complicated. Shortly before my wedding, she had begun dating someone she had previously referred to as her “stalker,” and though I didn’t understand the relationship, I invited him to the wedding. She put on her bridesmaid dress, smiled for pictures, and brought a gift. And then I never heard from her again. With her, after several unreturned phone calls, I finally left her a message that said, “I am getting a vibe from your silence that there’s something wrong between us. I won’t call you again; if there’s something that we need to work out, I’m here. But if I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume that you’re no longer interested in our friendship.”
I know through mutual friends that she eventually married the man, and that I’m not the only friend that she went “radio silence” with. And I’ll celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary next year, so clearly this is ancient history. Except that it’s still front-of-mind enough that I immediately thought of it when I saw Therese’s post.
So here’s my question, because I feel like these experiences skew my view of this subject. Is “going dark” a better way to break up with a friend than having some painful, inevitably hurtful conversation? Or is the marriage model that Therese lays out the right approach – to have “the talk” and move on with closure out of the relationship?
Meanwhile, here are some cool (read: more uplifting) Beliefnet features on friendship:
- 13 Ways to Make Friends – great hints from Therese, in case you find yourself in need of new friends.
- 10 Quotes that Celebrate Friendship – inspiring words for those precious friendships that are here to stay.