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The End of Friendship

I keep friendships going. I quit being a JW when I was 25, and in the course of that process, disassociated myself and lost contact with basically everyone I'd been allowed to be friends with my entire life. They weren't good friends. Well, some were, and a lot of them have since left and we have reconnected through the beauty of facebook. But it was a tough couple decades in the meantime.

Possibly because of that experience, I really, really, really try hard to find a way to readjust friendships, rather than definitively end them. However, I also am a huge believer in compatibility and enforcing boundaries. So if someone tells me they want me to leave them alone ... I do. And since I've already had a go-round on the whole order for protection thing (I initiated one against my first husband -- man, that was a tough year), I take the whole Leave Me Alone thing really seriously. You read what can happen to you if you violate, and you don't ever want to be anywhere near one of those pieces of paper.

Because I tend to let other people set the pace and tone of friendship, if someone feels like they want to do a fade, they can. I have friends I've known since middle school that I've gone years not talking to at all, and then recovered to being close enough to travel together again, and talk on the phone regularly. Finding myself at this age on the receiving end of a blunt Leave Me Alone left me asking questions I hadn't given any thought to for a long time. Ah, internet. Google never lets me down.

There's a ton of advice out there. Write a last letter to the ex-friend (and don't send it). Write a last letter in the voice of the ex-friend to you (really don't send that one!). Journal. Meditate. Keep Busy. DON'T be super busy. Get rid of stuff from the friend. No, bag it and keep it. Etc. Do a fade. Don't do a fade. Let a fade happen. No, don't let a fade happen. Get together for a post-mortem. Ask third parties who know you both. Don't make people take sides. Obviously, not all of this advice passes a sniff test -- and it isn't all compatible with the other advice. Honestly, a lot of this stuff is aimed at a particular kind of generally female friendship that I am kind of resistant to. But this time around, rather than roll my eyes and go, who the hell would even want that kind of friendship, I started thinking about how things had gone in this particular relationship, and realized, maybe that's actually where the real problem was. I really _don't_ do certain kinds of cathartic, bare one's soul, constantly communicating, besties kind of thing. Anyone who wants that with me is going to be constantly chasing, constantly frustrated, always feeling as if I am not coming through for them.

Anyway. I really loved the comments thread on this Jezebel post from 2015. The post itself left me fairly meh (altho it does give context for all the commenters who say the article really did it for them). But it has helped me more than anything else I've ever read to understand why some people find me cold, distant and utterly unsatisfying (my long term friends always argue that I'm not, and obviously I agree with my friends! Which is why I believe in the importance of compatibility). I may be a calm oasis for someone whose chaos has gotten out of control. I may be a relaxing place to hang out and let someone else make all the decisions. But wow. All the feelings I apparently either don't really feel -- or do not care to share. Ever.

Enjoy! You can go find your own friendship ending advice. There's plenty to go around.

http://jezebel.com/how-do-you-grieve-a-friendship-when-you-never-wanted-to-1734328274

Oh, if you are thinking, OMG there are some high maintenance people complaining about their friends, I am inclined to agree. Also, that some people take their birthdays more seriously than I do mine. If you find you cannot slog through the whole comments stream, at least check this link out, because it is a hoot:

http://womensenews.org/2014/09/roxane-gay-lists-13-rules-for-female-friendships/

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