That sparkle in their eyes always brought me back to them, no matter how much hurt they caused me.
Confident, headstrong, courageous, everything I aspired to be. I admired, even envied them.
I spent years ignoring all the signs and telling myself that this person wanted the best for me. It was just tough love, nothing more. I told myself that I’d “grow” and learn from how badly they treated me.
And I did learn three things:
I learned that someone who hurts you is hurt on the inside.
I learned that it isn’t possible to change these people, they will always remain the same, unless change sprouts from within.
I learned that how I am treated by others is up to me.
I struggled to leave because I grew attached to them. This friend had become a part of my identity, who I was as a college student. I didn’t know how to move on or how to break free.
I felt lost and I didn’t know how to become my own person.
They were sweet and kind, as well as difficult and stubborn. We embraced at times and clashed at others, but we cared deeply for each other. Isn’t that what matters?
My friend spent time and money on me, but also criticized me and said I wasn’t doing enough. They laughed and rejoiced with me, but never cried with me.
They rarely let me revel in my happiness. When I was happy they were depressed and complained that I had it so much better than they did.
When I was sad, their life was perfect and they made sure to tell me so.
Sometimes we hold on to bad relationships. What always surprised me was how focused I was on worrying about how they felt and thought, forgetting that my feelings and thoughts mattered too.
Re-assess your values.
As we’ve heard so many times, we are the average of the people we spend the most time with.
What are your values? Do they align with those of your friends? Why are you friends with these people in particular?
I looked at this person I had decided to be-friend and realized that our values didn’t align at all. We had different aspirations, dreams, and paths ahead of us.
What will you offer this person on their life path? What will they offer you?
These questions helped me come to terms with the situation as well as look at the relationship much more objectively, rather than emotionally.
Talk about it.
You don’t have to refer to the person specifically, but discussing how you are feeling about a situation with others can help you see it in a different light.
I liked getting different perspectives, no matter how much they varied. Some people thought I was exaggerating and that I should stay friends with this person while others quickly instructed me to run the other way ASAP!
In some cases, it can be good to also speak directly with the person. Tell them how you are feeling and talk things through. However, sometimes this isn’t an option if you are very angry or hurt.
Breaking up with a friend can be very painful and you may find yourself having to distance yourself first before ever sharing your feelings with them
Do not feel guilty or ashamed of this. You have to put yourself first in this time and do some self-reflection.
Spend a day without interacting with this friend. How do you feel? Compare this experience with the days you spent with them. Is life better with or without them?
This was very enlightening in my case because I found myself feeling less anxious and happier the less time I spent with this person.
I felt more confident because they weren’t around to criticize me. I felt more comfortable to try new things without their doubtful, uninspiring comments that held me back from being myself.
Breaking up with a friend is never easy. It hurts. I still think of this person and wonder how they’re doing. Sometimes I even find myself wanting to write to them.
Recently, I received a notification that it was their birthday and the urge was strong to reach out, but I stopped myself.
I stopped myself in the moment because I knew that nothing good would come by re-connecting. I hadn’t left them after 5 minutes of reflection.
I went through a process that helped me make an informed decision and I knew that this person would not add value to my life now nor in the future.