If a friendship is authentic and strong enough, it can endure obstacles of all kinds, including cross-country moves, busy schedules and more. But even the strongest bond needs boundaries that match in solidarity. Without an unwavering line drawn in the sand that defines what goes and what doesn’t, these 5 situations can be like dropping an atomic bomb on a friendship:
This weekend I pressed play on Bridezillas on Netflix in an effort to take my mind off the hour-long workout I’d finally gotten around to doing. The brides on that show obviously go overboard for the entertainment’s sake, but anyone who’s had a wedding or participated in someone else’s ceremony knows that wedding planning has the unparalleled ability to divide and conquer the most stealthy of friendships. Whether you sucked as a bridesmaid, or had a member of your wedding party show up wearing the wrong shoes, wedding drama can turn friends into enemies. I, unfortunately, found out the hard way. One of my oldest friends and I experienced a parting of the ways shortly after she began planning her wedding.
The abbreviated version involves a ridiculous list of maid of honor duties, a four-month absence in which I heard not a single word from her only to later be accused of being a bad best friend, which was basically a myth perpetuated by a mysterious group of strangers who apparently expected more from me. *rolls eyes*
In the end, my allergy to bullshit and unnecessary grandstanding forced me to limit my participation in the wedding to purchasing a gift and attending. We tried (one of us more than the other) but our friendship never did recover from the wedding drama.
This may sound like the flakiest reason to end a friendship, but when friends become salespeople, they will drive you insane or completely away. One of my former friends fell victim to one such scheme that promised to pay him money for every person he persuaded to switch electricity providers.
Now I know when you start a business, you tend to set your sights on friends to build up clientele. But really, by default friends should be excluded from the hard sell. Unfortunately, this guy didn’t operate on that belief, and his pushiness ultimately pushed me away. To be completely truthful, he kind of had a pesky personality to begin with, but when you add a sales career into the equation, all negotiations are off the table. You must go.
When old friends get new friends.
I felt like a 7th grader typing that, but unfortunately it still applies in adulthood. Sometimes old pals cannot handle when you become acquainted with new people, or the complete reverse happens and they drop you as soon as someone newer and shinier comes along. Maybe you’re less interesting, maybe the new friend doesn’t like you. Whatever the case may be, it’s kind of sad.
Lack of reciprocity.
If you know someone who whines about not spending time with you then stands you up and fails to your return phone calls, you have my permission to call it quits on this relationship. Or how about the person who spends an hour bitching about their problems, but conveniently goes missing when you need to vent? Sometimes, life gets in the way, but an ongoing lopsided approach to friendship is unacceptable, no matter who it is. Remaining in this type of friendship guarantees that you’ll be constantly frustrated, and if that doesn’t kill the relationship, your resentment will.
Having grown up with two sisters with whom I had to share everything, space ranks right up there along with air, shelter, food and water on my list of must-haves. I insist on it, which causes issues with consistently needy friends. Violators beware– your feelings won’t be spared. I generally try to give off a few warning signs but some choose to ignore them or, even worse, have no idea how to recognize others’ need for space. I once ended a friendship with someone who figured an unanswered call should be followed by a string of back-to-back calls. If I didn’t answer the first time…
This issue could be resolved by being more vocal. But a part of me resents having to explain why I don’t want to join the crowd for fun, why I ate alone, that I spent 20 minutes napping or where I was when you couldn’t get in touch with me. I really hate that. Whenever I need space from my husband, I simply let him know I need some “me” time. But for a reason I haven’t figured out yet, when it comes to family and friends, letting them know I need to be left alone remains a struggle. If a non-pressing issue arises via text message or phone call during a self-imposed hiatus, I simply ignore it. Until I get over the brattiness of not wanting to explain myself, that’s how I deal.
In crafting this list, it’s important that I acknowledge that some of these dilemmas can be preempted by carefully selecting who you befriend, which is oftentimes a matter of simply trusting instincts. Sometimes I find myself getting close to a person I initially had reservations about. Then when those reservations prove justified, I’m forced to endure the discomfort that comes with distancing myself from them. Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that although some issues can be sorted out without completely dissolving the friendship, there are times when they become like split ends, and you’re left with no other option than to cut them off and hope something healthier and better grows in their place.