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For the past few months, I've been mourning the ending of a friendship. Actually, I only mourned for about a month and then the rest of the time I just felt disappointed in myself. But before I get into that, I'll start at the beginning.
A few months ago, I tried to help a friend by giving unsolicited advice. Personally, I hate unsolicited advice, but this only extends to strangers online giving advice about my pets. It drives me bonkers because they aren't experts and they have never interacted with my dogs, yet they seem to feel that they can lecture me on some random thing I share on social media about my pack.
Don't get me started. As I said, it drives me bonkers.
However, when friends give advice, I listen. I listen because I know my friends have my best interest in mind when sharing their advice. I don't have to agree with or follow their advice, but I do listen because they know me and they deliver their advice and feedback with kindness. And, unlike strangers, they won't get mad at me if I choose to ignore their advice.
So, anyway, the end of my friendship started with me offering unsolicited advice to a friend that was taken as an aggressive attack. When I realized that my advice wasn't wanted, I backed off. A couple of days later, I reached out to my friend again with a question and everything spun out of control quickly via text message and he broke up with me (ended our friendship) via text message.
Looking back at the experience, I can't help but laugh because I was walking three of our dogs on the Centennial Trail looking down at my phone and wondering “what the….???”
WHAT JUST HAPPENED???
Initially, I figured that he's stressed out and having a very bad day and I got caught in the fire. Seconds later, I saw that he was doing a Facebook Live about me and it wasn't kind.
I was humiliated and heartbroken. I called him to ask him why he would do this – what could I have done to make him do this to me? We were friends, for several years, and then suddenly I was his enemy and everyone knew it.
Lessons from High School
I'm 48 years old. Despite the popularity of the Real Housewives franchises (which I love), I'm far too old to be caught up in high school drama, but here I was, feeling like I was back in high school. I hated high school. But my four years in high school hell coupled with my experiences as a blogger have taught me a lot about handling conflict in this social media world.
If you find yourself in a situation where a friendship has ended and it's playing out publicly on social media, here are a few tips:
- Don't feed the drama. It's so tempting to post passive-aggressive comments on social media about the conflict. I think people do this for support. There's something about having friends say, “I never liked him,” that eases the hurt a little. There's nothing wrong with going to friends privately to sulk, but keep it private. When you put things out there in public, you lose control of the narrative and before you know it, you may find yourself on the defense.
- Unfriend, unfollow, and block the person. To protect yourself and start the process of moving on, it's best to unfriend, unfollow, and block the person. This will keep you from creeping on their personal profile to see if they're talking about you. To be honest, you may also creep on their profile to see if they're sorry that they hurt you (they're not), if they miss you (they don't), and if Karma caught up with them (she hasn't).
- Always be polite. Eventually, you will run into your former friend and it's always nice to be polite. In my case, he took me aside (with an audience) to apologize. His version of an apology was to blame me for his actions and that's okay. By the time this day came along, I simply didn't care anymore. Someone once told me that when you act like a raving lunatic, you go from being the victim to being the asshole pretty quickly. Don't become the asshole.
- Wish them well. Although your friendship is over, this was still a person who meant a great deal to you and impacted your life. So take a moment and wish them well (in your heart). I find that holding a grudge and hating someone only eats at my happiness. I read a quote that said holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. And years ago, someone told me that holding a grudge is stupid because the person on the other side of that grudge isn't thinking about you – so you're giving away all that energy for nothing. So wish them well, because love heals.
- Don't make your mutual friends choose sides. When you end a friendship, it's tempting to want your friends to have your back. Some friends will show support by unfriending the person too, however, don't beg for more drama by insisting that they choose sides. This is your situation, don't make it bigger by involving others. Let them make their own choice about who they want to be friends with because, frankly, it's none of your business when you think about it.
- And, finally, forgive yourself. I'm one of those people who likes to be liked. And I'll overlook a lot of things if it means that people like me. It's not about popularity, it's about having friends. I want to have friends. So I'll blame myself when someone is rotten to me. If this sounds familiar – forgive yourself.
It's Okay to Mourn the Ending of a Friendship
One of my girlfriends told me that it's okay to mourn the ending of a friendship. For many of us, our friends are our family. So when we lose a friend, we're losing a family member. And it's going to hurt. So we mourn. We cry, we rage, we mourn. If you are reading this because you're mourning the ending of a friendship, then I want to tell you that it's okay to mourn.
You will have friends who will hate your ex-buddy out of principal. Some of your friends won't understand why you care so much. And you may lose collateral friends during this breakup. But, in a couple of months, it'll all feel right. Today, I can look back and see the many times I should have walked away from the friendship. I remember all of the things people have said to me over the years, hinting about this outcome. And I'm thankful that I didn't get many “I told you so,” messages when our friendship ended.
Self-care is always important. So take yourself shopping, go watch a movie, have drinks with friends, or pick up a good book. What works for me is throwing myself neck-deep into my business, getting lost in a book series, or diving deep into Netflix.
Eventually, You'll Only Have Gratitude
Now that a few months have passed, I can look back and find humor in all that happened. I've seen many disagreements on social media and they're all pretty silly and dramatic. I know that in this social media world and crazy political climate, many of us have experienced similar friendship breakups and it does suck. However, I've found a light at the end of the tunnel with this one.
Before the end of my friendship, I was considering selling my blog and walking away from my dream of working from home. But, thanks to the ending of this relationship, I…
- Created one of my best YouTube videos to date.
- I finally stopped procrastinating and launched a lifestyle blog (this one).
- I left tons of groups that were just a distraction so that I could focus on my business.
- And I got my mojo back and I feel that creative spark that's been missing for a while.
So, maybe, I owe him a big ole “Thanks, Dude!”