Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Have you ever chosen to walk away from a friendship???? I never have…until now.

If I have to be honest this is a long time coming but that and the fact that it has to be done does not make it any easier.  I really did not think that I would ever have the guts to walk away from a friendship but that I would rather continue to be hurt deeply and with increasing frequency.

I think that as you get older you need to start sorting through your relationships and determining which add value and which don’t, which make you a better person and those that make you the worst possible version of yourself.  Now, I realise that this is easier said than done (trust me I carry the scars) but it is a necessary part of life.

I also think that there are moments when we need to ensure that the values of our friends are aligned with ours.  In other words we need to be on the same page.

I often refer to myself as a collector of people and talk about gathering them to me and I am.  I know that because of the friendships I have which are solid in spite of living on different continents or different cultures or different places in life.  I have several friendships which span 24 years, friendships which are true and honest….friendships in which both parties blossom and grow.

While I was in Kenya I did a bit of a stock take on the people in my life.  I wrote all their names down and wrote down what I appreciate about each one, what value they bring to my life and I ended it with asking myself if my friendship with that person makes me a better person.  I am thrilled to say that in all except one the answer was a resounding YES!!!

That scared me and I could feel the panic rise like bile in my throat (a little graphic I know but true none the less) and I found myself battling to breathe, my heart racing and I started to perspire. All in all it was pretty sick feeling. I calmed myself down and went to sit in the Jacuzzi.  While the bubbles stilled my pulse and the water calmed my nerves I started to think back over this friendship.  I looked at the good and the bad.  I analysed and revisited moments and then it dawned on me…………Maya Angelou who is among my favourite writers was right……we teach people how to treat us so when we complain about how we are being treated we simply need to look in the mirror.
While examining this friendship which had been singled out it became clear that I had allowed her to say hurtful things, I had provided her with opportunities to act in an unkind manner and more than this I had given her permission to make me feel inferior.

I have been friends with this person for over 10 years now and there have been some amazing and special moment over that time but there have been more times when I have been wounded by the words and actions of this person. I am not sure why she felt it necessary to do the things she did but I do know that for the longest time I allowed it. 

Over the years I have listened to her sprouting information which is not only incorrect but flawed in her thinking…..because I did not want to rock the boat.  I knew that if I told her she was wrong or if I corrected her in any way I would lose her friendship.  I have listened to her opinionated ramblings and agreed with her because it was easier than putting myself “out there” and stating my own opinion especially since I knew I would be belittled. 

I made myself available whenever she wanted to get together.  I would cancel on others in order to spend time with her often causing others pain in an effort to keep a struggling friendship alive. I would spend weekends at the ready for a phone call that never came in spite of the fact that in the week she would say things like “let’s do something this weekend” or “I feel like a movie on Saturday, want to go with”. I am embarrassed to say that I would spend hours with my cell in my hand waiting for her to call and  I would spend hours poring over my closet figuring out what to wear if the call came. I did not want to embarrass her!!!

We would make arrangements to do something together and she would drop me at the last moment. She would insist on spending time with me as in coffee after work, movies over weekends for weeks and weeks on end and then it would all abruptly come to an end with no explanation.  And I would be left waiting at the phone feeling like crap!!!

Was she a bad friend, in my opinion yes but so was I!!!  I had let my insecurities and my desperate need to be liked cloud my judgement.  I had given her all the tools to hurt me because I never told her any different.  I never argued when I knew she was wrong, I never pointed out the fact that her actions hurt me.  I never stood up for myself and in so doing I had taught her to treat me with disrespect, with indifference and I had taught her to treat me without love!!!

The tears flow as I write this, I am not ashamed of them because I learnt a very valuable lesson as I sorted through this friendship.  My actions do cause reactions!!!  I need to own the part I played in this friendship being the way it was but I also need to own what happens next……I mourn the loss of a friendship (even a bad one) and I know I am going to miss this person!!

I have always said that if you want to judge me, judge me by those I choose to surround myself with.  When I think of people judging me by this one friendship I shudder.  It adds no value to my life in fact it reduces me to the worst possible version of myself. I have aligned my values with hers and that is a huge problem because I know what I stand for and what she stands for is not the same…..the phrase unequally yoked comes to mind.

Am I sad that this relationship is ending…..absolutely, will I treasure the good times….you bet, will I strive to forget the bad….you better believe it. Do I believe she is a good person…..for sure, Do I believe that we were in each other’s lives for a reason….without  doubt. Do I believe that we are good as friends….no I don't.  Do I have faith that walking away is the right thing to do even though my heart is breaking…..the answer is a emphatic YES!!

So it is with a heavy heart that I CHOOSE to walk away from this friendship. I CHOOSE for there to be no fight, no scene just a simple parting of the ways. I CHOOSE to recognise that I am valuable, that I am a good friend and I CHOOSE to believe that I add value to those I CHOOSE to surround myself with.

Have you ever wondered why some friendships seem to come and go?  Well perhaps this poem will shed a little light on the subject for you:

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

What kind of friend do you CHOOSE to be???

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