Have you ever unfriended someone? I’m not talking about Facebook or Twitter or any of the other social media forums out there. I’m talking about actually telling a friend of yours that you want to end your friendship. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to tell someone something that will make them think you don’t care about them anymore, when that’s not what it’s about at all.
I was discussing this concept of “unfriending” with a friend yesterday. Because in the last year, yes, I have let someone go. I actually took the coward’s way out and just stopped answering her phone calls, which is a jerky thing to do, really. This woman was someone I had been friends with for a very long time. The reason I took the coward’s way out is that I still care about her and I didn’t want to actually have to say the words, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” It’s so grade-school. I know. I just think I’d rather have her think I’m an asshole and be mad at me for not answering the phone than have her feeling hurt at hearing those words. It’s easier to get over an emotional hurdle when you’re pissed off. Anger’s good like that.
I’m 37 years old. I don’t want to deal with the bullshit anymore. I need a friend that can listen to me when I need to talk and not try to make me feel like my problems are small compared to hers. I need friends that are encouraging and supportive and can actually empathize with me even if they don’t quite get the situation I may be in. When you’re a kid, you befriend people for almost no reason at all. You play together, crush on boys together, whisper secrets and pass notes. It’s great. But as adults, we befriend people who we have things in common with, whose lives are moving in similar directions. There is some kind of commonality that brings you together and makes you feel close. Sometimes those childhood friends don’t share that common thread with you anymore. Sometimes the two of you are just friends because you always have been.
I need more than that. Yeah, I’m high-maintenance. It’s healthier for me, emotionally, to be talking to the friends who are able to make me feel connected. But I still feel like a jerk.