I think, as we age, at least in my experience, we learn the lesson of letting go of friendships that no longer serve us.
Kind of like cleaning out the closet – getting rid of the skinny jeans that I will never, ever fit my muffin top into again or the sweater that I loved in high school that is full of holes and I only keep for sentimental reasons.
Today, I am making the decision to remove someone from my immediate world, a treasured friend, a trusted companion, a person who has been in my life for over 20 years and has helped me through many a painful moment. Someone who has shared in the goodness and the harshness of my life.
And vice versa.
I have committed to no longer engaging publicly in Facebook debates. I am even, once again, considering dropping Facebook altogether but for a hermit, it’s my only contact with the outside world, so it really is a resource for me. The compromise is to read, and maybe “like” someone’s photos of puppies, and not respond – especially from a place of pure emotion.
Because oftentimes the emotions are anger, frustration, and disappointment.
I bit my tongue.
Because here I am, publically bemoaning someone’s ignorance, although I won’t say who and I won’t reveal what.
But since the pandemic and during the years of the last presidency, I have often avoided reading this person’s posts because of my disbelief that my dear friend actually believes what they are regurgitating.
Worse than that: in their belief in what they are putting out there, they have demeaned and ridiculed those with differing opinions.
I am shocked and devasted. I believed my friend to be better than this.
If this were a casual friend, I would write them off as casually as I have many others during this troubled time. “Yeah, we were never that close anyway, ” or “I’m not so surprised.”
But this friendship is different; it has been deep and trusting and fun; now I am seeing ugliness that I thought this person incabable of.
I am loath to let go of this friendship because of our loving history, but I have to look at it like my closet:
This friendship has holes in it. This friendship no longer fits. This friendship may even be out of style.
If I saw this friendship in the thrift store, I would NOT buy it.
And that’s the thing – if, on meeting them today, I wouldn’t gravitate anywhere near this person because I know there are fundamental differences that would prevent a true and honest and trusting relationship, then can I let history be the only thing that binds us?
In other words, if I wouldn’t like this person upon meeting them today, then what does it matter if I liked, even loved, them once?
It is so painful to consider letting go. Even more painful to find out that my friend is not the person I so admired and respected, but…
At some point it’s time to shed the friendships that no longer serve.
It’s time to clean out the closet.