How do you detox from a bad end of a friendship?

Many friendships form between certain people due to the circumstances surrounding them. It could be a mutual hatred for a job,  a shared dislike of someone’s attitude, or a shared joy of certain hobbies or interests. In my life I am extremely lucky to have been able to form bonds with a lot of people. Obviously, many bonds are stronger than others. Overall I am grateful for anyone who takes the time to invest in a friendship with me. Life is such a short stream of consciousness that anyone who comes into your life to enhance the experience for the better is a welcome addition.

We all make certain types of friends. There are casual friends that we don’t speak to for months but when we happen to see each other, we simply pick up where we left off. There are work friends who we do everything with during the week, yet don’t talk to on Saturday and Sunday. And there are our closest friends who would probably hide a body for us no questions asked.

Then we have those friends who we keep around because we remember good times we had previously.

In my year of forward change, I have learned quickly that maintaining a friendship that is barely chugging along on the fumes of nostalgia is just no good for you. So what happens when a friendship with that person ends badly?

Do you retaliate against their negativity? How do you move on?

I am a firm believer in second, third, even fourth chances. Despite my attitude, I have a big heart. There are people in my life I may get angry with. But that doesn’t mean I will stay mad with them. On the contrary, I try to remember what values the other person brought to the friendship and why we are close to begin with. But if in retrospect, you don’t see anything genuine (save for a few good alcohol enhanced times), why even bother?

I made the unfortunate mistake of keeping a one-sided friendship going. Like I said above, I may not speak to every one, every single day, but that shouldn’t be a barometer for how I feel about certain people. It’s just that as time wore on, our shared interests switched. Life happened. And sometimes I was consumed with my own myriad amount of issues that I admittedly didn’t have time for a lot of people. Does it make me selfish? I don’t think so. Does it make me human? I do think so. Does that make me a bad friend? In my opinion, no.

Even with our bond not being as strong as it once was several years ago, you wouldn’t know that on the outside looking in. Because despite our friendship drifting apart, I still genuinely cared. If I invite you over for holidays with my family, I care about you. If I vouch for you in situations or for issues regarding your career. I care about you. If I take you to meet my entire family, again, I care about you. But going back to what I said up above, if you look back and see you were bringing more to the friendship than the other person, it’s not worth further investment.

I rather foolishly thought I was on good terms with this friend, despite not speaking to them as often. But I thought wrong it seems. Suddenly the friendship is now over, (via the World Wide Web no less) and in the wake of it’s demise; gossip and negative things being said about me. Now I’m not a perfect angel, but come on. The amount of negativity that was (and probably still is) being leveled in my direction is not something I would ever dream of returning. Some of the things being said would be unwarranted to even my toughest enemy.

So why am I not returning fire when I am known for telling things like it is?

No, it’s not an attempt at taking the high road and being “Holier Than Thou”. The high road can give you a nasty nose bleed. I’m not into those. I don’t respond or wonder or question anything I hear because I simply don’t care.

Why should I care about what someone (who is angry at me) is saying to others when they didn’t care enough to speak to me initially to discuss what was bothering them? Why care for people who don’t care for you? And more importantly, why worry about people (who were in your life) that are easily capable of turning their past love for you into a barrage of negativity once you are out of theirs?

Some are probably reading and saying “well you care enough to write about it”. But no, the topic of my blog post is detoxing from a bad friendship. And while I may be talking about it here, notice I am not being negative. There are different forms of detoxing, and writing is one of the ways I detox. Especially since I pretty much stay silent on a lot of issues in my every day life. Writing is a way I put stuff past me for good. And besides, I am a believer that no one needs to know about petty, baseless drama. It only feeds the machine and lowers you to a level of harm that is detrimental to your every day life.

I would rather counteract the negativity of others by letting it speak for itself and have it be a stark contrast to my behavior. If the other side ended the friendship, yet continues to talk negatively about it and me, what does that ultimately say? It doesn’t say I did something so terrible to warrant this negativity. That is the reasoning that the other side is trying to manufacture with their extremely negative behavior. To me, all it says is that their unfortunate hang ups make them incapable of moving forward. Incapable of detoxing.

Moving forward is a harder prospect than one may think. People can easily say they have moved forward, but their actions speak volumes and negativity shows how they are still stuck in the self created mud of their jealously and resentment. Saying a collection of empowering and optimistic words to everyone in public about you “Moving Forward!” (while not living up to these words in every day life) make them empty platitudes.

In answering the topic of this post, I find it far easier to detox when you know you have done right as a friend. When you haven’t, you stay stuck waging botched smear campaigns to get people to side with you. Why do these people place importance on the end of a friendship and feel as if everyone needs to side with them? Frankly, no one who isn’t personally invested in these sort of issues even cares. You can’t win the perceived war in your head if the person you are waging this imaginary war against doesn’t even care to show up.

When a friendship ends and you re-evaluate it and find you did more “Forgiving” than “Forgetting”, it just isn’t worth fighting for. In my situation people were lining up to tell me a host of negative things that were being said about me. But I told each and every person that I just didn’t care to know. Why even want to know when you can be 100% certain that what’s being said is probably the worst of the worst and mostly untrue. Besides, there comes a point in everyone’s life where we are old enough to have heard everything negative that could be said about us anyway. So why let something else bother you? Life is complicated enough as it is with real problems and a Global Recession to get caught up in energy wasting trifle. If anyone out there wishes you ill and harm, all you can do is wish them all the best and that they find the inner peace in their lives to move on.

In closing, don’t counter negativity with more negativity. It doesn’t do you any good. It’s better to move on from the end of a bad friendship knowing you did what you could and truly give yourself a chance to detox from their negative influences. It’s better to let them self destruct in their unfortunate bitterness.

And with that said, I’m moving on for good. Another life lesson learned.