So, I got dumped by a friend the other day. That sucked.
I took an hour-long nap that evening and woke up feeling a little better. My husband and I watched Scrubs and ate McDonald’s and I felt like life might still have some good things in it. But then my husband fell asleep, and I couldn’t get my mind to settle. So I got back up at about 3am, called in sick to work, and spent a few hours composing and perfecting an email, then I sent it. Here’s my favorite paragraph:
I think that sums it up pretty well.
I finally fell asleep yesterday morning at about 8:30. Woke up at 1:30pm, called into a virtual work meeting, and spent the rest of the afternoon goofing off.
What I realized in the course of writing and revising that email to Amanda –and this isn’t just sour grapes– is that I don’t want to be friends with people who don’t tell me when I’m being an asshole. If something isn’t working, if I’ve pissed you off or upset you, let me know. Even if I can’t fix it, even if what I’ve said or done is unforgivable, at least give me the courtesy of telling me to fuck off. Don’t just disappear like I won’t notice that we’ve gone from hanging out weekly to “what the hell did I do?”
I know a lot of people don’t like confrontation. I get that. But suspecting something’s wrong, but not knowing, is a particularly agonizing sort of hell.
Unless someone is threating to your well-being –like they say vicious things when upset or have been known to bitch-slap people for looking at them funny– you have no excuse to ghost people who you have an established relationship with. It’s cruel, it drags things out, and it’s cowardly and weak. I have no interest in spending time with people who think that’s acceptable behavior.
Does it suck that I lost a friend? Absolutely. But the part that feels the worst is that I obviously misjudged her. Amanda comes off as feisty and opinionated, and I was under the impression that she would never pull shit like this. But she did. And that’s on her, not on me. I’m no longer pulling myself to pieces wondering what I did. After I slept on it, I stopped really caring what her reasons were. Because no reason could be good enough to cut someone off in that way.
There are absolutely people in my life who I’ve cut off. One was an ex who I’d tried to stay in touch with, but who was unsupportive and casually cruel, so I told him that he was awful and that I never wanted to talk to him again. Another was my brother, who I didn’t tell right away because I thought that what he was saying and doing was so singularly awful that I really had nothing to say to him (and he also gets violently angry when opposed.) I eventually did explain that posting Facebook memes sympathizing with the Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville was a pretty fucking shitty thing to do, and he even seemed to understand. I still don’t talk to him, though, for other more complicated reasons that I’ll probably never blog about because YEESH families are messy.
I’ve for sure stopped talking to people I met online and hadn’t known for very long, back in my dating days– but again, a few IM conversations or a first date at a bar don’t equal a relationship.
There are people in the past who’ve cut me off or distanced themselves from me, and in a lot of those cases, I kind of get it. I stole their crushes. I freeloaded off of them. I said things that were careless and offensive. I wasn’t a great person. My high school best friend lives in town, and being that she knew me through all my shittiest phases, I understand why we’re not superbesties 4 lyfe. I was an asshole to her. We’re friendly but not really friends. And that’s okay because I know the reasons.
But now I’m a fucking awesome person. I have flaws, sure. Definitely. But I am fairly responsible, a good cook, funny as hell, smart, caring, generous, kind, and always trying to improve myself. I am warm, and I take the time to hear people out. I made myself into someone worth knowing. It was hard work!
You don’t have to like me, laugh at my jokes, or enjoy my cooking. You are not required to be my friend. But basic human decency and being a non-awful part of society as a whole means that you at least owe someone an explanation if you’ve decided they’re not worth your time after years of friendship. This seems basic to me.
My husband has a friend (whom I’ll call Roxxi) whom he talks to several nights a week. He told her what was going on, and she sent me this amazing email that made me feel 97% better. In part:
I told her I want to print out her email and keep it in my wallet for the bad times. And she’s agreed to tell me if I’m ever being a jackass or simply need to shut the fuck up. Because that sort of thing is obvious to Roxxi, too. I didn’t know it before last night, but she’s not just my husband’s friend. She’s my friend, too.
And that means an awful lot.