When Friends Aren’t Friends: Leaving Destructive Relationships Behind

Written by Dusti

I’ve known Zach since 5th grade. We grew up together in our small community. We did theatre and choir, so we spent a lot of time together. In my past life, he was even the godfather of my daughter.

And every time we were hanging out, he would put me down. And not just little put downs. He would call me awful things and make me feel terrible about myself. He started a blog when I did as part of an elaborate, mean-spirited joke. If you tried to call him out on it, he’d say, “You know I’m joking. I’m just an asshole.”

(Seriously. I don’t know what I was thinking clinging to this friendship.)

But I was convinced he was my friend. I know I was his. He’d call me after he bombed an audition. I’d be there if he needed something. He called me up for his parent’s shows to fill much-needed roles. While we had moments where I think we both felt held in the context of our friendship, there weren’t enough of them to begin to make this relationship okay.

It makes zero sense. Why would we, as intelligent and otherwise discerning women, allow ourselves to be treated this way? We let ourselves get walked all over. We bend over backwards at the expense of our own happiness. We let things go that in reality are really hurting us. All because this person is our “friend.”

The length of time we’ve known someone and the history we have with that person matter, but at what point should we choose to let it go? And how do we do it? It’s not like when you’re kids and say, “You’re not my friend anymore.” (Well, let’s hope.) Our relationships get complicated as we get older. It can be so much easier to allow this person’s negative presence in our life than to choose to separate ourselves from them. But the amount of destruction these false friends cause can’t be ignored.

For Zach and mine’s friendship, it’s been easy to let go of. He has been away at college on the other side of the state, so we didn’t see each other often anyhow. Now, it’s been steadily decreasing that contact. It’s been gradual. And sometimes I think I miss him – until I realize being lonely and wanting a friend is better than being around someone who is only going to put you down.

Someday, I hope Zach and I can be friends again. But, right now, I think he’s in for a big reality check. He can’t leave his comfort zone, and he’s mean to the people he loves. That kind of self-destructive behavior is rooted in deep insecurity, and I truly hope he can overcome it one day. I’ll always love Zach and his family. I’ll always be grateful for how they were there for me. That won’t go away. But I can’t have friends who aren’t my friends.

Have you had to end friendships before? How did you do it?

– See more at: http://www.stratejoy.com/2011/11/when-friends-arent-friends-leaving-destructive-relationships-behind/#sthash.OKp8DhjC.dpuf

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