Nothing compares to old friends, the ones who know your history and were there at the births, deaths and marriages. The ones that you can pick up where you left off regardless of the how long it was since you last got together. However, many of us have friendships that if we are honest have passed their “sell by” date. Friends we picked up at certain points in our lives – at the school gates, workmates, drinking buddies – who we clicked with at the time but eventually drift apart.
Last summer I made the painful decision to end a forty-year friendship. With hindsight I realise that I should probably have given up on our friendship years ago as my friend was both consumed with jealousy and was sucking me dry emotionally.
But nostalgia kept me loyal, and it wasn’t until my friend stabbed me in the back in spectacular style – severely damaging my relationship with one of my children in the process – that I decided to call time on our friendship.
To start with I was so hurt and angry I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her but eventually I decided that after decades of friendship I owed her an explanation as to why I had cut her from my life. When I confronted her and she realised that her lies had been exposed, she went on a vindictive attack even saying “Oh dear, have I stolen your son?” I kept my cool, never once retaliating and eventually I think she began to grasp what she had done and that through her actions she had lost her closest and most loyal friend. Once I severed the connection I realised that I was relieved that our friendship was over, although only time will tell if I will ever be able to repair the damage her lies have caused.
Most friendships do not end in such a spectacular or painful manner. Often people just drift apart, usually because they have moved on to a different place in their lives or sometimes because they have moved geographically and the friendship wasn’t strong enough to survive the physical distance. Treasure the ones that do survive – a true friend supports you when the going gets rough, makes you laugh when you are taking life just a tad too seriously and loves you for who you are, not what you can do for them.