Losing friends feels awful. Shameful even. When beloved friends slip away like water through your fingers, you’re left alone to question why. It is especially painful when you miss the feeling of home their company brings and there is no relief on the horizon. While a dose of self-criticism can be insightful and helpful, too much can lead to melancholy, despair or self pity. Somehow you need to find a way to enter the world again, unafraid, open and a bit wiser.
Reconciliation is touted as a solution; and it truly can be. As formal as the word sounds, a diplomatic process of discussions, negotiations and tentative coffee dates that must take place before the friendship can resume its normal course. With love and effort from both sides you’ll emerge closer and stronger for it. This confrontation might be push you needed to become a better version of you. Their friendship might be worth the fight.
Unless you both respect each other as equals it is doomed to fail in months or years to come; or one person must accede to the dominance of the other. It comes down to the unspoken terms of the relationship and the price you’re willing to pay to keep that person within your intimate circle. When displacement of friendship occurs because of character nuances that make you individual, you need to ask if the fundamental differences are complementary or aggravating. And, if you need to, find the strength to make (or accept) a painful decision even though it will cause loss and loneliness first.
Looking back at the important relationships in my life I can pinpoint times when, living oceans away I was afraid to return home, where strong personalities would pull and push me in one direction or another. Because the people in my life gave their advice (or direction) from positions of love I would follow their words like gospel. They knew best, and only wanted the best for me. My personality then was pliable as paper, never trusting that I knew myself better. So it was I spent years upon years pursuing a salaried lifestyle to keep everyone satisfied with my predictable progress.
But each day and night my insides twisted in a terrible fear that my life was worth nothing. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted, needed or stood for. No wonder I looked to trusted friends as sages of wisdom, placed atop a pedestal that was destined to fall.
Getting out there and making new relationships is part of the solution. Yet the most significant thing I have done since is slowly but surely construct a relationship with myself that is not open to the outside world. My ego may be buffeted by criticisms from work, arguments with siblings or the loss of old friends but that is no longer allowed to determine who I am. The same way that praise, success and awards can’t influence my sense of self either.
Some people are born with this sense intact. Take Kanye West. He believes he’s worth his salt. A pinch of this confidence is all I need to show the world who I am now as I move forward and meet new people.
With time I can look back with love on the times where we laughed until it hurt, or the hours we spent doing nothing at all but having fun. And then, in the words of Elsa, “let it go” and get excited about what tomorrow may bring.