I Let Things Go Too Far #FiguringOut40

I Let Things Go Too Far #FiguringOut40 ~ MommyTalkShow.com

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?

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. ive never heard of the books but I did go through a breakup with my best friend. We are still best friends however. What I realize is relationship go through seasons some of which have an end date and other which need the season to pass.
    Keep an open mind Joyce. You never know what a person is going through. Good luck.

  2. I’ve had to learn to be very careful about what role I take in a conversation vs. what that friend is looking for from me. I’m a problem-solver, so if a friend complains about something, I automatically offer solutions. And offer. And offer. And then I get frustrated when they don’t seem to take my advice (or anyone’s). But they keep complaining of the same issue. My motto: if you’re going to keep complaining, but make no effort into solving the problem, stop complaining.

    I have to work hard at reminding myself of this, and sometimes outright asking the person, ‘Are you just venting? Or are you looking for some solutions to your issue?’

    • Love this. Being proactive in the conversation to see what the friend really WANTS to hear vs. giving your unsolicited opinion.

  3. Um… a nice way to tell somebody they are crazy for complaining about a goodie bag you gave them? Nope. You can’t fix that.

    Honestly, if there is somebody that I can’t tell how I feel and that they aren’t being a good friend, I just stop being friends/talking, etc. I just don’t have time for that in my life.

  4. Doesn’t it always feel like the cafeteria in 7th grade?? Friendships are not easy all the time. I am learning how to make sure people I call friends are actually friends in the real sense and not a just people I know.

    • I learned that lesson the hard way. I used to introduce almost everyone as “my friend” and now I reserve that term for a handful of folks.

  5. There is a line between honesty and sharing your feelings and being a reactive confrontational grump. Emotions often make us jump to react when we should take time to think about HOW we address issues with others. Friendship take work just like marriages sometimes.

  6. I have not heard of these, but there have definitely been times in my life where I have had to pull away from certain toxic people for a while. I try to always be there for them if they need me, but really limit my time with them.

  7. Aww, thank you for sharing your journey and reasons for letting it go to far. I believe we’ve all been there, gone through it, and STILL face it at times. But good for you! My mother often call this “Growing Pains” so we get older and we start to view things totally different.

    Well I’ve never heard of the materials before but I am always hungry to feed my brain more.

  8. Any breakups I’ve had with a friend have never been fun. Despite some toxicity, I’ve not let my best friend go over the last 15 years, because I love her too much. She doesn’t always treat me right, and I never said anything before, but I’m getting better about talking about the small things BEFORE they snowball. Too many straws break the camels’ back, so if the straw gets a little itchy, say something!

  9. I love that Oprah quote so much

  10. Thankfully,I haven’t had to break up with a friend since I was in my 20s. I’m pretty non-confrontational but if a friend really offended me I’d say something. I’d try not to get emotional about it, just keep things matter of fact.

  11. I broke up with a couple of my best friends sometime in college. everyone was just going in a different direction. But then in our 30s, after we all grew up, we became friends again. I think sometimes friendships have a season and a reason! You have to do what’s best for you!

  12. Joyce, I’ve always been a blunt person and have had to filter what I say to “certain” people. I am very harsh when it comes to friendships and it’s because it takes time for me to truly open up to someone and loyalty means everything to me so if I an crossed I may right them off completely. I do have a three strikes and your are out policy which may apply to some but, and with me there is no grey areas it’s black or white! Right is right and wrong is WRONG!

  13. For whatever reason, I think a lot of female “friendships” come with unnecessary drama. I too have had squabbles with women with whom I hold dear to my heart. I can’t say that I have read those books but I know one book that tells me all I need. It is in 1 Cor 13:4-8 to be exact.
    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs….”
    If we can’t settle a dispute while keeping those words in mind…. it wasn’t meant to be.