The end of a friendship no matter it’s cause, is often distressing and the feeling always lingers. For some losing a friend can be as painful and as agonising as the end of a love affair. There is no denying the powerful connections of friendships and the feelings they evoke. Despite what Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra would have us believe in the film Sholay with “Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge “…….it’s not true that friendships never end. Sometimes one has to let it go till one day its “Dost dost naa raha” ………
While a majority of friends get flushed out in the early years of your life for being users or for their toxic behaviour, an act by a college friend that goes way beyond the usual shenanigans can put us at risk and is best to keep away from. When you think why some of these school friends and hanger-ons were your friends in the first place, keeping them around out of habit just seemed arbitrary. Do you still miss that friendship ? Of course you will when you think of all the madness and happy memories and you smile thinking about them. There is no real conclusion or psychological analysis of why friendships fail. This reminds us that we are all imperfectly perfect creatures who sometimes lose our keys, lose our marbles and lose our friends. Every person is bound to identify with this experience at some point in their lives. So what causes friends to falter and should you mend them or end them ?
Recognise the patterns and triggers that affect your friendship and how best to rid yourself of noxious friendships. The reasons are myriad: A friend slept with the others boyfriend, your friends husband hits on you which becomes awkward and hence you distance yourself, expectations were not fulfilled, money caused an argument, with some its all about themselves, the social climbers, some are like the energy vampires who suck the energy out and emotionally drain you, a friend who’s always jealous and secretly hates you, lives and priorities changed, you were being manipulated, intellectual differences, or a friend who derails your career by sharing privileged information, some drift away, while some feel liberated from the unhealthy or destructive friendships. And yet at the heart of each experience there is a huge loss that will never be forgotten.
It’s different kind of friendship when it’s man to man. They talk about work, career, money, women, sports, cars, and all this when they meet for a drink or hang out over a game of cricket or an adventurous holiday. They don’t bare their souls to each other the way women do. Women are far more intense and if it’s a closed one, then you are almost naked and open out to every kind of information to each other. It’s a strong support system by which most women survive. What happens when there is a crack in such a friendship? With some it can happen without a warning and it’s painful to articulate why your closest friend has cut off completely. No more late night phone calls, no more impromptu lunches or dinner plans, or giving advise to each other on boyfriend or husband issues, suggestions on what to wear for that special occasion, on how to handle your colleague or boss at you workplace when shit hits the ceiling, how to stay sane and courageous through an emotional crisis, to making each other laugh, to simply nothing but “just being there for each other”. Until one day circumstances are such that you can’t see eye to eye and both feel a huge gap in their friendship. Sometimes one feels used and pressured and there are unreasonable expectations and when it’s not fulfilled, it causes disappointment to the other and then starts the blame game.
A friendship should feel genuine and not like a transaction. Some people are friends with you because of what you can do for them. “Red flags” include friends who repeatedly keep tabs on favours and then remind you that you owe them. Never mind if you may have obliged them in several ways but never made a big deal out of it. In friendship you do things for each other and forget about it. How can we elucidate the unspoken rules of friendship? One could use the term “Friendship Sabbatical” and it even sounds so very civilised. I too have had a friendship sabbatical where we allowed things to simmer and as time healed things, we both realised that we share such a beautiful bond and it would be futile to let go of this. Today we are back to being the way we were and both truly cherish this friendship as too much time is invested into building this kind of a deep connect laced with comfort.
True friends will always inspire you, encourage you to be who you are and elevate you in every situation. Sometimes friends become vicious and negative and in such situations it would be best to keep far away to protect yourself. I’m not denying that things can’t change as some do realise that they have wronged you, while some go away never to come back. But you definitely can’t stay with a friend whose values undergo a radical change. Could you have better navigated your friendship? Yes one effectively can build a healthy friendship while keeping one’s integrity and sense of self intact. There can be some pragmatic suggestions on how to drawback, yet communicate care and respect.I do believe that one has to let the dust settle and allow sometime for psychological wounds to heal. Tempers flared and hurtful things may have been said. Hence it’s best to reflect on what happened. If you get back too soon chances are you risk experiencing a repeat episode of the same arguments. Time is your ally, so wait a while and give your ego a break. Be mindful not to criticise, judge or run down each other and end the blame game by avoiding to ask the tiny three-letter-word “WHY” as this will trap the situation further. Try not to burn any bridges and keep that door open to friendship and use your best judgement. But if you’re treated badly in-spite of your best intentions to mend it, then it’s in your best interest to close that door.
The clock is ticking and life is too short. So if you really value this friendship then it can be repaired, just like in “KINTSUGI” style which is a Japanese art of restoring a cracked vase, carefully glued back together emphasising it’s fractures with powdered gold, silver, platinum or bronze and resulting into something priceless, solid, stronger and much more beautiful than the original.