I was sent a text recently informing me that I had failed the good friend test. I was wished well for my present and my future but I was being let go. I had been unceremoniously dumped as a friend by text! BY TEXT!
I was shocked. Confused. Angry. Hurt. I had been going through a pretty rough few weeks so I know I wasn’t up to much on the friend front. I was completely self absorbed . I even bored myself with the sound of my voice going over and over and over and over the same thing again and again and again and again. Thank you to all those who listened with patience. Love. Care. Concern.
It was a bit harsh that now, of all times, I was being dumped by one of my closest friends. I must make it clear that this friend had been, and still is going through the absolute worst of all times. The absolute worst. I would not wish her pain on anyone. My pain could not compete with her pain. But my pain was real and horrendous to me. And because of my pain I hurt her beyond repair. Hurt her with some badly chosen words.
I recently heard a saying – ‘hurt people hurt people’. How very true. Hurt people (sometimes) don’t filter what they say. Hurt people (sometimes) don’t hear what is being said. Many of us will have read posts on Facebook about how to talk to/not talk to people with depression or mental health issues and they often contradict each other. Do this. Don’t do this. Say this. Don’t say this. Everyone has their own mental health experience and their own feelings about how their own personal mental health issues are best met. Someone could genuinely be trying to be kind, trying to do or say the right thing and get it hugely wrong. It is a minefield. The speaker/listener or advice giver/advice receiver are not always on the same page. But this does not mean that the very best of intentions are being attempted to be made. Sometimes we are just trying (to quote Maya Angelou ) ‘to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud’. Sometimes the cloud is too dense to welcome the rainbow.
My issue wasn’t mental health, although the confusion and emotional turmoil certainly tested it. I know that when I heard someone say something I didn’t like I tried to remember that it wasn’t being said with anything other than love and support. They got it wrong/I heard it wrong. Whatever. I also know I said things I didn’t mean or that came out the wrong way. My brain was fucked up for a while. Lack of food and sleep will do that to a person. And I’m sorry. I said I was sorry to my ex friend. It wasn’t enough. I was truly sorry. I am truly sorry. It’s sad that the demise of our long supportive friendship was as the result of some badly chosen words. The many, many good words and good actions swept aside so easily.
Anyway back to The Text. Being told I have failed……by text. Being told I am being dumped……by text. I am completely bemused as to why do that? Who does that? Most friendships that have run their course just fizzle out, a natural, often mutual, gentle way to shed the dead wood in our lives. We can’t remain besties with everyone for ever. The cafe meet ups get fewer. Text messages are not replied to immediately. Days go by without contact. Then weeks. Then, who knows, maybe it has just been a case of life getting in the way and you find a way to reconnect. Or maybe not. But the official ‘friendship dumping’ is what intrigues me. Once a teenage friend of one of my daughters took her best friend to a cafe to inform her face to face that she was being dumped! At least the dumpee had the right to reply if she wanted it. I don’t think she wanted it. I think the she went running into the arms of her new, much cooler, friends cheering and whooping.
As humans I think it’s natural to want a right to reply. To have the last word. In my situation I could have replied an equally long text back trying to put my side forward. But what’s the point? I didn’t want to get into a text argument and I certainly didn’t have the energy to arrange a face to face to bicker out our grievances . I did text back as an acknowledgement (and maybe to have the last word!) I just told her I was shocked and confused but would respect her wishes. Maybe I will miss our friendship. Maybe I won’t. I’ve been let go but somehow I think I will survive!