Unfriending

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.

PCDD123-SimonSaysStampsCard (3 of 3)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.

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8 thoughts on “Unfriending

  1. I don’t think ceasing contact is a jerk move at all. It can often be kind. Telling someone that they are no longer necessary in your life can put them on the defensive and provoke a war of words that ends up tainting the relationship’s history. I’m sure some would prefer that type of closure to the immediate feelings of hurt but the anger is just a stalling tactic. I’ve thought a lot about this subject and have come to the realization that ending relationships (romantic, platonic or those that exist merely due to blood lines) can be necessary to survival. If it hurts worse to keep it going than to end it, you’ve made the right decision. And if the friend you’ve “unfriended” is unable to do the soul searching on their own to figure out why it’s happened, they most definitely wouldn’t if you told them outright.

  2. This is so fitting for me to read today. About 4 months ago I “unfriended” a friend on Facebook. We had been friends since before we could walk. I noticed over the last 5 years that we had grown so different from each other and while I was still there at her grandfather’s funeral when none of her “real friends” were and I tried to touch base with her from time to time….When I called on her for something she had a particular knowledge of from experience – something no one else I knew had been through, something that I was about to embark on and about which I was very excited, she completely blew me off not only because she didn’t have the time – which I get, but it was clear she didn’t even think for one second what her reaction would mean to me. She didn’t even fake an “Oh wow! Good for you!” It wasn’t the reason I “unfriended” her, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I, too, took the cowardly way out. When after showing no interest whatsoever she finally got around to telling me she could fit me in for a drink (I haven’t seen her in almost 2 years even though I have tried to reach out several times) I told her I was busy and never reached out again. As I said, that was 4 months ago. Tonight, because of a mutual friend’s post that mentioned both of us – she noticed I wasn’t her FB friend anymore and she requested me to add her. I didn’t. I sit here feeling awful about it. Did I get too weird for her over the years? Too unconventional? To Hippie Chick to her Posh and Pretentious? She was always able to balance both….have those friends I had nothing in common with AND still relate to me….did that end at some point and I neglected to notice until now? Am I being too hard on her? What is the answer? I was hurt. That is the reason. She let me down. So many people do, but I never thought she would. Thanks for posting. You have given me something to ease the guilt. I needed that.

    • K, That is why I ended the particular friendship I am talking about. When I was going through something traumatic in my life and needed to lean on my friend, she had absolutely no emotional response for me. Nothing. Just some pity and condescending condolences. Like I said, people need more than that from their friends. You did the right thing. It hurts when people we are counting on to be there for us don’t measure up anymore. I’m glad my post helped!

  3. I have ended friendships too many times. I am too good at this if you know what I mean.
    One time I felt a friend of mine tolerated racist behavior from her good friends so I told her this is something that is not OK for me.
    Another time I told a friend that I have been having too many negative thoughts about her and I do not like myself anymore when I am around her.
    A third time… See?! This is what I mean: I need to STOP ending friendships. 😛
    However, I understand the point you were trying to make…
    xoxo, Eszter
    http://kukolina.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/zoard-everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-his-name/

  4. My husband broke up with one of my friends for me. I guess you could call that a cowards way out too. We went out every weekend. Sometimes I would bring my son. She cussed like a pirate and talked about openly about her sex life (yes when my son was present, good thing I keep my iPod in my purse) She said things that would make me cry when I got home and my husband said when I came home after being with her I was so negative and down on myself that it scared him. I have a very rare disease and any kind of distress can make me very ill, very fast. She was breaking me down physically, mentally and emotionally.

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