- Mental Health
- Substance Use
- Healthy Living
Most of us have had that friend. The person we drag our feet about seeing and once we finally do see them… we don’t leave feeling the greatest. In today’s world of hyperconnectedness (that’s not a word but I’m pretending it is) and having our social lives at our fingertips, it can be hard for friendships that have run their course to actually do so.
I’m writing this blog post because today, I want to release you from that friend, from the feeling that you owe them anything, especially your time.
For me, that friend was someone that I had known since our preteen years. We’d grown super close during high school, navigating the intensity of our teen years together with jokes and laughter, support and silliness, sometimes tears and blowout fights.
We had had so many good times together, so many times when we literally felt drunk off of our mutual giddiness. When we made each other laugh until tears poured down our faces. When we stood up for one another and talked trash about someone who had tried to hurt the other one. We had solidarity and connection and we had FUN.
But we outgrew each other. I slowly began to realize that her dislike of every boyfriend and non-mutual friend wasn’t protective, it was possessive. Her remarks didn’t hurt because she couldn’t help but be her honest and genuine self, she just had no tact and didn’t care about my feelings enough to develop some. She wasn’t terrible at consoling me through life’s tragedies because she didn’t know what to do, she just didn’t really care enough to figure it out.
None of these things were huge things in and of themselves, but they added up over time and the good times in the past stopped being able to compensate for the reality of the present. At some point, I began to have to ask myself the hard questions.
Why would I hang out with someone who made me feel bad about myself? I wouldn’t tolerate someone saying mean things like that to me in any other situation, why would I tolerate it with her? Were we actually friends, or was our shared history the only thing keeping us together?
I began putting her on an information diet, sharing only the tiniest snippets of my life with her. My schedule got busier, actually- because life’s responsibilities ramped up- but also busier in the sense that I didn’t want to spend the little free time I had with someone who left me feeling unhappy or hurt after every get-together.
As someone who struggles with mental health challenges, something that I have learned to do is prioritize myself and my own feelings first for my mental wellbeing. I used to think that was selfish but now I think it’s one of the most important things we can do. When we’re feeling good, we can work on doing good for those around us. For me the choice became obvious. The less I hung out with her, the better I felt. And it wasn’t anybody’s fault, people just grow apart sometimes.
So this blog post is to give you permission to prioritize your own feelings. If someone is making you feel like crap consistently, it’s time to let go. And you shouldn’t feel guilty, because you’re doing them a favor, too. You’re allowing them space to separate from you and to go off and find people they click with, people who maybe find their tactless honesty refreshing or people who don’t take them so seriously.
There’s no shame in admitting that the friendship has run its course, “the truth will set you free” and all those other inspirational quotes ;)