This year, I realized I had done a total 180 degree change when it came to at least two of my female friendships. Usually that’s a good thing – to change. In my case, it wasn’t. You see, I let things go too far and they became irreparable.
See, I used to be pretty confrontational if I had an issue with a friend who said something that hurt my feelings or seemed contradictory.
I might have yelled at them at the very moment. Or I’d call them later to talk about it. I’d talk to other people about it (usually boyfriends and co-workers). I’d go over it and over it in my head. Rehash it. Digest it. And stress myself out. It was very “90210” of me and I didn’t like it.
I remember I was in my early 20s working my first TV job when a co-worker saw me coming and he RAN in the other direction because he didn’t want to hear my “daily download of drama.”
Sometimes I’d stay friends with the offender. Sometimes I wouldn’t.
Somewhere between 2009 and now – I made a decision to start “letting things go.” I was older. I was in a new town. My friends were all now solidly in our 30’s. I thought to myself “People are who they are. You can’t change them.” No need to stress myself out about every little issue.
So I became less confrontational.
I let things slide when a new friend or aquaintance said something off-key.
I kept my feelings to myself.
Do you tell someone right away when they do something to offend you?
Do you let it slide?
How do you find a way to bring it up in conversation without it becoming an epic showdown?
No one wants to be judged, but how can you kindly tell them you think they’re going off-track?
My social circle began to look more like me: married moms with children who are A.J.’s age. We started with birthday parties, moms nights and dinner at each other’s homes. Then as the walls came down – we shared struggles and triumphs. I listened to more than one friend cry over the phone. I asked another friend for sound financial advice.
Then it crumbled and it was all.my.fault.
I didn’t tell them about the little things – that became big things – that drove us apart.
Is there a nice way to tell a friend it seems she seemed to complain about motherhood 90% of the time?
That she didn’t seem to like being alone with her child for an hour without help from a grandparent, nanny or scheduling a play date?
Nope. I didn’t think so.
Is there a nice way to tell a friend how rude it is to call you and complain that gift you got her child had too many parts – when all she had to do was use the friggin’ gift receipt in the box and get over it? See. I didn’t think so.
Now I’m looking down the barrel of another uncomfortable conversation with a new mommy friend because I can already feel the tension building.
I have to tell her how I feel NOW and deal with the consequences. If we are on the same page about the issue – fine. If not – I’ll move right along. But at least I’ll say it.
To quote Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant “I have to stand in my truth.”
To learn even more about my friendship journey read the Over 40 Friendship Prayer.
All of this made me wonder if there were books on the ups and downs of female friendships along with breakups. I found Surviving Female Friendships “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” by Nicole Zergara and Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine.
Have you heard of these books or been through a breakup with a best friend?