Recently, my friendship with a really close friend of mine was tested, and I went through a period of depression that brought on anxiety and panic attacks without notice. It sounds overdramatic, but I’m just being 100% transparent. I was left with a decision of whether or not to lose one of my closest friends, and if you’ve read my blog post about my experience with PTSD, then you understand how difficult it is for me to trust people or even make friends. It is a decision that I did not take lightly, as I knew that I might lose someone who I love and care for dearly. Let me walk you through my decision and my inner-battle with my thoughts, and I hope you all stick around for the lesson at the end.
To put it bluntly, I had to reevaluate our friendship because I was started to feel used. For quite some time now, I was the shoulder for her to cry on, the person she went to for advice, and the person to just listen when she needed a listening ear. However, I felt that I wasn’t getting the same thing in return.
Everything just started to feel very one-sided in our friendship. I felt that I was devoting all of my time, money, energy, and resources to her, but I was let down every single time. For example, all summer, she would say that she wants to come over to my house, and I would go out and buy all of her favorite things to prepare — I would buy daiquiri mix and alcohol because she loves drinking daiquiris. I would buy her favorite cereal and everything that I know she loves in order to make sure she enjoyed herself and felt comfortable. Each and every time, she canceled on me.
Last month, she asked to come over for her birthday because she didn’t really know what to do, and not many people were going to do anything to celebrate. I told her she can come but that I was very apprehensive about doing all of this planning and buying just for her not to show. She assured me that she was coming, and I took her word. I went out and bought a cake, candles, balloons, liquor, and food — she canceled the night before she was supposed to come. Needless to say, I felt hurt, used, confused, and just tired of it all.
I knew that I was forced to make a tough decision. To lose her would mean to lose a large piece of myself because she was like a sister to me, but to stay in this one-sided friendship meant that I was giving away a lot of pieces of myself and would have none left for anything else. It felt like either way, there would be pieces of me missing no matter what I decided to do.
Much to my surprise, I received a call from her a few days later, and we had a heart-to-heart moment. She apologized for everything and was accepting of my feelings. She made sure to let me know that whatever choice I made regarding whether to stay in the friendship or not, she would respect it. I appreciated what she said, and I sat with it for a few days to figure out what I should do. But pretty soon, it became obvious what my next move should be.
I knew I had to forgive her and try to give our friendship another try. Think about it — she apologized on her own because she understood how much all of this was hurting me. I also apologized for not being as communicative about my feelings as I should have been. That shows there was genuine love and care in the friendship, and that’s not something we should just throw away.
This entire experience was very stressful for me, and I cried more times than I want to admit. However, it was an experience that taught me a lot about myself and what I will and will not allow. So, I hope that you all learn from my experience. Go into the new year of 2021 with the goal of putting yourself first because if you don’t do it, you can’t expect anyone else to do it either. Reevaluate your friendships and relationships to figure out what is no longer working for you — don’t lose pieces of yourself in a one-sided relationship. If you feel like it’s starting to become one-sided, say something in a respectful and non-confrontation way, and try to work to a peaceful resolution. If there’s a willingness to change, there will be growth, happiness, and love in the relationship 🙂 .
“An apology offered and, equally important, received is a step towards reconciliation and, sometimes, recompense. Without that process, hurts can rankle and fester and erupt into their own hatreds and wrongdoings.”
– Margaret MacMillan