We all have an inner circle of friends. People we see and speak to regularly. People we trust and make time for. Sometimes however, these friendships go through rocky patches. When friends fall out it can just be a temporary phase, at other times it is well and truly stuffed/over/hashtag please don’t call me again EVER. The ultimate kiss of death is to be unfriended on Facebook… we all know there is no coming back from that.
A lot of the time tensions can simmer beneath the surface for a while and then something random will trigger the friendship meltdown. Recently I was out with a group of friends and witnessed the unravelling of various relationships. There was no public showdown but a very visible display of tension, frustration and anger. This was a case of extreme friendship politics. It was like watching tennis at the dinner table..my eyes darting from one person to the next, as they exchanged snappy comments and seething looks at one another. I’d never seen anything quite like it before and sat there with bated breath not knowing what would come next. Thankfully we are a civilised bunch and there was no Jeremy Kyle type confrontation as that would have been beyond the realms of awkward.
When friendships break down there are almost always repercussions for other people. Common friends, partners, siblings. How are they meant to react? Nobody wants to get involved in another person’s friendship war but sometimes they get dragged in kicking and screaming. The parties concerned may have expectations of loyalty and that’s when things get complicated. As a rule of thumb, I say run for the hills when your friends fall out and only emerge once things have settled down. Of course you could try and mediate but we all know how that story ends..with you in the dog house with BOTH parties. Run fast, I say.
What I have found, as I have got older, is that I have less time and tolerance for nonsense from people. Life is complicated enough without having to deal with the uninvited emotional baggage of others. Most people want simple, uncomplicated friendships that uplift and support them. Not ones that drain, confuse and frustrate them. This doesn’t have to lead to a falling out in the friendship but perhaps just a redefining of parameters, staying close to those that enrich your life.
Friendships are to be cherished and celebrated but there are times when they get derailed. It happens to all of us at some point (although the Old Git tells me men don’t experience this level of drama and conflict in their friendships – discuss). Irrespective of whether the friendship recovers, there is no point in anguishing over it for too long. After all, who wants to be that person who obsesses over another person’s actions, stalks them on Facebook and talks about nothing else? Not me. It may be that a bit of self-reflection and compassion can help us process our own feelings about the friendship (or lack thereof) and move on from it either way. You know……. forgiveness and all that jazz? Apparently it’s good for the soul.