Close female friendships can sometimes be more painful than relationships when they go wrong, start to fizzle out, or end. I’ve had relationships before that came to sudden and dramatic ends, others that faded quietly as we grew apart due to distance or years, and some that never officially changed yet were deeply different, less strong and far less fulfilling than they once were. I find these endings harder to deal with than the end of romantic relationships because our culture places the “forever and ever” expectation on friendships more so than on romantic relationships. I think most people accept that many romantic relationships won’t work out, that many people will grow out of love, but we don’t expect friendships to expire. And yet they do, alarmingly often.
I had written earlier this month about some of the emotions I’m struggling with in one friendship. Every time I log onto Facebook, it’s like a punch in the gut, because there are photos of this friend with whom I was really close just last semester, out with another mutual friend all the time, to places I’ve not been invited. I talked to her about this earlier this year and she assured me that nothing was wrong, nothing had changed and that her schedule just lined up with our other friend’s. But I don’t believe it. She makes excuses about not having time to see me – yet she has time to see this girl several times a week, during her free time. And for the schedule? My schedule is very open/flexible, but she wouldn’t know, because she never bothered to find out. What’s so difficult about texting? Calling? Even though we don’t see each other on campus everyday, that’s not an excuse not to take any initiative to make plans. I even feel she was kind of lukewarm to me at the event I organized this week. I feel the distance between us growing and I resent her for it because I feel that she isn’t being honest with me. I hate it when people won’t say how they really feel, despite it being obvious that something has changed and despite being asked privately about it.
So, what to do when you’re trying to stay positive, achieve your goals and be happy? It’s a really damper on motivation and a sense of well-being when someone you consider a true friend gradually becomes colder towards you and involves you less and less in her life. I’ve made the mistake of really dwelling on these feelings in the past, crying a lot, feeling disappointed, victimized and resentful towards everyone. I can’t let myself do that this time. I have limited time and so much still to build in my life. I think that the thing to remember here is that the people in our lives, even those we consider our closest friends and truest lovers are only with us temporarily, and that it is foolish to count on them as the main source of happiness. They are one aspect of happiness, an important one, but I think that it is naïve to have expectations of life-long friendships. Having these ideals is what makes the reality so painful. I believe in passionate, enriching and joyful friendships – but like all things, we should expect that they will last for a limited time only. There will be other people. There will be other friends, other boyfriends, other husbands even.
At this 40% mark in my journey, I feel like I’ve made good progress towards rebuilding my feelings of motivation and already had some mini-achievements. This was the easing in phase, re-adjusting to being motivated after a long slumber. Now is the time to work hard and have sharp focus, not to be bogged down by something so fleeting. We make our happiness. I am really starting to believe that. When I was feeling sorry for myself when I saw the photos, I remembered – I can’t blame her for the fact that she is out with people having fun and I am sitting here feeling shitty and looking at them, feeling left out. I could have scheduled to be at a race today, I could have had lunch with other people, I could have gone on a date. I made the decision not to plan other things and this was the result.