The Friend Purge
I have this towel I love. It’s got like 5 or 6 different bright shades of green interwoven together like abstract stripes. I especially love the variety of green on it even though it’s severely faded in the 3.5 years I’ve had it.
I took a good long stare at it yesterday in the gym. It’s the towel I had deemed cool enough to sport in the locker room and I realized why. It was a towel my former friend Melody had gifted me when I moved into my first solo place back in Barcelona.
It was May 1st 2014 and life was pretty good! I had given myself this move because life had really come together for me that year: I was in a band where I met my then ruggedly handsome pensive musician boyfriend, we were doing a musical together with all our friends, and I had decided I was a big girl now and decided to move into my own studio…things were pretty snazzy. My good friend Melody recognized this and having always been a great supportive friend, got me a house-warming gift, something I definitely didn’t expect. She and I frequently went out for cheese, wine, tapas and talked about where life had brought us, we talked about our disappointments, our excitement, our goals… When she brought the gift to my mini studio, my heart was full. It was special because green was her color. She loooooves turquoise green/greens. I loved that her gift for me was something practical for my home that was also connected to her.
Now, you might have noticed, I said former friend. I can now confirm that I lost Melody as a friend and the worst thing is, I have no idea why. As in none. After I left Barcelona, I reached out to her a number of times to see what was going on as she was studying a lot . Nothing. In May I surprised everyone in Barcelona by visiting and she was shocked to see me but not necessarily in a good way. I remember thinking this, but she’s quirky…everyone knows that. Plus, she was a keynote speaker and presenting that day so I figured it was just a lot to handle. Regardless, I took pictures of her speaking, sent them to her, chat with her and after I left and in the months to come, nothing again. I reached out on Facebook, Whatsapp…nothing. Finally I started to suspect it was more than being busy because her posts on Facebook were constant and she was writing on other people’s walls all the time. I sent her a video telling her I was concerned and that if there was an issue, she should let me know.
Finally, really worried and concerned that something more serious was afoot, I asked a mutual friend to contact her on my behalf and tell her to urgently write me. That did not go over well. She tore into him, and luckily, this friend is a well spoken, put together individual that doesn’t take crap from anyone and he put her in her place. I was alarmed at her reaction towards him. He had merely told her that I was trying to speak to her as it was urgent. She then went on to unfriend both him and I on Facebook. This all transpired just this week.
At first, in true Jade form, I was in a huff. Then as the day progressed, I softened and my heart hurt. My heart hurt because our friendship was so important and we were so close…how could she do this without at least speaking to me first? Whatever she thinks happened (or maybe it did and I don’t know?), wouldn’t she want to give me the benefit of the doubt or want to talk to me about it? We spoke about everything, she knows such intimate things about me, and I about her, she knows what this year has been for me too…
I spent Sunday reflecting on what had happened this year. There had been a serious purge in friendships this year for me. The difference between Melody and the rest of them was that I better understood what had transpired within the others.
First off, you have Brett Rann: My Stalker. I won’t be repetitive here, but I do encourage you to read my other article on this sick person to really understand the entirety of the story. What I will say is that I reached out when things went wrong suddenly. His messages were tirades. He was typing paragraph after paragraph, hardly reading what I was saying and refused to Skype with me calmly to talk about it. I begged him a few times to at least talk to me. This was all, of course, before I knew how deep this was going to get. In retrospect, I’m still not sure there’s anything I could have done to avoid what transpired in the months to come. Two weeks into his attacks against me, he had a few lucid moments where he asked me if I would just chat with him and by that point, I was so afraid that I refused. I was so scared.
The point is, he was an awesome friend and companion when we were in person together. Unfortunately, due to the sick things that arose, I can’t even say I miss our friendship. It’s truly the one that I wish I could go back and stop myself from making.
Right as Brett Rann stopped writing me every day, I lost another decent friendship.
If you don’t know me, you should know that I am an extremely passionate person and when I met Erika a few years ago, it’s what I loved about her. She is extremely passionate AND she enjoys it if you are too. There was no need to explain. She got it. As our friendship grew, I realized that she surpassed even me in this territory. Her passion went into the drama realm and actually, she admits it herself all the time. She talks about how she enjoys the thrill of being involved in something over the top and then adding to it. Our mutual friends and I would usually find ourselves just laughing it off and thinking..”Yep, that’s her!” and no big. If I ever thought she was going off course a bit, I’d usually tell her and we’d have a really intense in depth talk about it and usually she’d still disagree enough to continue doing what she was doing…which is fair. At least we talked about it and it was an intelligent conversation. Sometimes we’d even laugh at how much she loved to stir the pot. I frequently told her she was nuts for wanting to. She’d literally cackle and we’d move on. Child’s play.
This past New Years Day we stopped speaking. A disagreement about strong and misplaced language, how to talk to your friends, and again, stirring the pot sent her off on a tangent towards me like I’d never seen from her. She was angry, so angry that I dared express my concern about her way of communicating and how it’d upset me. She said that I’d made myself the victim and that I wanted to be upset (as you do?)
I’m simplifying a bit here to save time, but the point is, I was shocked at how she was behaving towards me and of course I was hurt and angry. Her violent finger pointing and telling me I needed to control my emotions had definitely not sat well with me, and I am not one to sit and let you step on me (sorry, kids!) We never spoke again.
Listen. We’ve all been through it. Everything from disagreements to losing touch with someone and all the sticky in betweens. Friendships run the gamut between natural deaths and explosions. We grow in opposite directions and that’s ok. We let things fade because…meh..and that’s ok. We have big fights and honestly…that’s ok. They are not very different from romantic relationships. You are with a person while it works and when it no longer does, you move on. At the very least, you can say that person was there when the universe deemed them a necessary part of your story.
In my case, you can imagine that after those two situations, I really started to take a deeper look at relationships and trying to discern when to let go. This seemed to be my issue. Both situations were extremes that forced even my rose-tinted glasses to be hurled into a wall. I had been through a lot that Christmas with the tales of boyfriends and ex-boyfriends, who’s a friend, who’s not and needed to be surrounded by love and understanding. I walked away when I saw they both wanted to believe the worst of me.
Ok maybe I’m learning, I thought.
Later, these tough decisions let me make subsequent difficult decisions a bit easier, namely, a boyfriend I didn’t want and new friends in Philly that I realized I couldn’t trust. As a result of these events and my appreciation and desire for a real honest relationship, I was able to recuperate a lost friendship that just needed a sit down, face to face conversation. Like adults. You know? (#foreignconcept)
My relationships with Brett & Erika ended and they ended on fire. Both hurt, but had pretty defined reasons. Are there still unknowns in both cases? Absolutely.
The Melody case is one that, despite how torn up I am and how much I truly do not understand what happened, I must look at just as I looked at the other situations above. Is there room for someone in my life that would so easily toss me aside without even telling me what the issue is calmly and rationally? Do I want to surround myself with people that are ready to explode at any second and make hasty decisions based on their anger? Do I want to allow people to stay in my life that are ready to think the worst of me?
No. Plain and simple.
Despite how much it hurts, despite my frustration and confusion, despite my natural instinct to try to make things better regardless of how it affects me, I’ve learned it’s important to fight for those that are willing to fight for you too. That relationship I mentioned that was recuperated? Our new understanding has led to a tangible leveling up in our friendship and I’m so excited to continue being her friend with a mutual and better understanding of what we both need. That’s a person worth fighting for.
Who are you fighting for?
Who’s fighting for you?