Friendship break-ups can lead to life lessons

StaceyNHerrera

**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand.**

I believe that people tell you who they are and exactly how they will disappoint you. They tell you in crystal clear language, with their own mouths, almost every time.

We, humans, are a vain lot, so we hide in plain sight. Yet, we insist on feigning ignorance when someone hurts our feelings. But if we’re honest, the writing was on the wall from the very beginning.

And I am, admittedly, not the exception.

I have had my heart crushed by cleat-wearing do-gooders more times than I care to admit.

And believe me when I say that the last time won’t be the last time.

I could recount my top 10 most heartbreaking experiences, but I will spare you the torture. But there is one story that I want to share because it is a perfect example of my theory.

Several years ago, I became fast friends with a woman I met through a mutual friend. She and I had a lot in common. We were two passionate, beauty-lovin’ Libras, committed to helping others uplevel their lives.

We talked every single day. We mutually agreed to hold one another lovingly accountable in our personal and professional lives. And over time, we became super close.

During the early days of our friendship, I witnessed her sever ties with two longtime friends and a family member. Because of the nefarious actions of her mother, during her childhood, she’d grown accustomed to drawing hard lines.

So, as far as she was concerned, ending these relationships was an act of self-preservation. Whether that was true or not is irrelevant because she believed it.

I can still remember the conviction in her voice when she said, “I will cut somebody off in a minute.” In fact, when our conversation ended that day, I made a mental note. I heard what she said and, I knew what she meant.

It would be more than a year before the guillotine came for me. But it did come, and it was swift, painful, and savage.

On the 24th day of December, we were on the phone, intent on exchanging holiday well-wishes, when the topic of discussion took a turn. There we were, two friends with a history of mutual respect and different opinions.

I won’t go into the details of the discussion. But I will say that the subject matter was not about the two of us.

It wasn’t an argument, per se. At least, I didn’t think it was. There was no yelling or harsh language. We were just two people with differing points of view, which is normal and okay.

The conversation ended, like it always did, with love and kindness. I wished her a happy holiday, and she did the same.

The following day, Christmas Day, I awakened to a very unpleasant text message from my “friend.”

The text contained many not-so-nice things. Most of which had nothing to do with the conversation we’d had the day before. It seems that she had been storing up grievances for a rainy day. And all of a sudden, it began to hail.

I initially responded by acknowledging her message and asking for some time to process it. I did not mention how her words had cut me like a hand-crafted samurai sword. I didn’t tell her how my body convulsed when I cried. I left out the part where my nervous system was so jacked up that I couldn’t eat.

I only asked for time to sit with her experience of me.

We didn’t schedule a conversation until after the New Year. But I reached out several times in the interim to let her know that I was still processing because I didn’t want my silence to be confused with stonewalling.

I opened the discussion by apologizing for sharing my unsolicited opinion. And that I would be mindful about how I participate in hot-button topics in the future. I also asked if we could talk about the things that bother us as they occur to prevent things from snowballing.

I intended to keep the focus on my actions without casting any blame.

She accepted my apology. She also insisted that she did not want me to censor myself in any way. And no, she did not apologize, in case you were wondering.

The conversation continued, and we both feigned normalcy, but neither of us was okay.

We talked via text a few more times over the next few weeks. But it wasn’t the same. So much had been said, but even more, was left unsaid. And eventually, she cut me off, just like she said she would.

That relationship confirmed what I already believed to be true: people tell you who they are and how they will disappoint you. But it also confirmed something else, that how you disagree is far more important than how you get along.

If both people can disagree in a healthy way, they can almost certainly come to a resolution, even if that means agreeing to disagree.

Healthy relationships do not require the absence of debate. I think that disagreements are a plus because they provide an opportunity to see things differently and solidify what’s already true for you.

In other words, differing opinions is a good thing. Providing that both people can respect and accept the other person’s perspective. Remember, acceptance does not mean agreement.

The moral of this story is, “when someone show’s you who they are, believe them.”

And conversation and communication are two very different things.

Originally published at https://medium.com.

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Intimacy & Relationship coach, writer, and creator of The Sensuality Project. I specialize in Relationship-ing (it's a verb).

Los Angeles County, CA
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