The Conscious Unfriending Hypothesis

For the past few months, I’ve been grappling with the notion of “not being enough”. I suppose everyone goes through this at one point, or even several, but this one was different. I overcompensate by overdoing everything.

Everything.

Do I want to plan an event for the PTA? Sure, but let me make sure we go overboard with decorations by getting hundreds of them and a full set of cardboard movie cut-outs for our theme!

No problem!

Let me put on a superhero outfit to promote the next movie fundraiser!

No problem!

See? Overcompensating.

However, I have come to accept over time that friendships change. Sometimes people drift apart, sometimes someone does another wrong… whatever the case may be it is totally and one hundred percent normal.

But in the past year, it hasn’t felt normal. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got my friends who are family, with whom I completely trust my kids. I’ve got my ride-or-die peeps and a few trustworthy coworkers. A couple of those coworkers are ride-or-die peeps too.

As the circle of friends expands, it also retracts. Although I do love making plans and going to dinner or concerts, there are some people I know who I’ll never be able to have a deeper connection with whether it’s because our plans never go beyond just having the occasional dinner or I don’t feel that I could confide in them past the normal, day-to-day level.

And that’s okay.

But now I realize that I will never be the kind of friend to some people that I thought I was.

Believe me, I beat myself up over it for a while. Things that they would text or even say to my face were quickly dismissed by me because friends are supposed to joke around with each other, right?

Until they aren’t.

Until those jokes become mean-spirited, condescending, and downright selfish.

Until you realize you’re only contacted when they need something.

Still, I believed in this group of friends.

Until I didn’t.

Until I realized that I was spending more time justifying random things they would do and say like, “Oh, I’ve known her a long time and that’s just how she is!” or “That’s just what she does when she’s drunk!”

Until all I was doing was justifying.

Justifying their actions. Justifying their words. Letting their actions and words slowly crush me.

My husband had been saying for several years that I didn’t seem as close to this particular bunch as say, my neighbor who I rarely see yet when we find the time to talk, we will talk on her porch for an hour.

To my husband, I would always reply, “No, but they’re nice and we just hang out.”

It’s taken me years to finally figure this one out.

Over the weekend, I carpooled with a friend to bring our daughters to an overnight church retreat. We listened to 80s music and drank Starbucks. We joked with our daughters about wanting to show them the horror flick, “The Nun”, before their weekend away. During a quiet moment when our girls were preoccupied, I asked my friend (who is a ride-or-die friend btw) for advice. Without naming names, I told her some of the things being said and texted to me. She asked me why I would put up with such a cunt.

You know the music of the opening sequence of “The Simpsons” where the clouds begin to fade away? That’s what my moment of clarity sounded like.

All at once, every time I had to explain or smooth over their behavior to someone rushed into my head. Every time one would insult me in one breath, yet ask for a huge favor in the next. Every time someone would say something negative about them. Every time someone had an extremely horrifying anecdote about them.

Every time.

Every time came into my head like a montage.

And while it stings a little to know that these friendships have ended, especially now that I see a lot clearer, I’m actually quite glad and quite relieved. No more obsessing about what I did wrong or what I should’ve said. No more feeling disappointed because I thought I should’ve done more.

No more.

This in no way makes me the expert in friendships by any means. This doesn’t even mean I’m right and they’re wrong.

This just means that I’m in charge of my own happiness and consciously retracting those friendships is enough.

And also that they’re cunts.

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