Some people need to have that person in their life they feel they have to save. Save from a situation, from themselves, from life. They see what they feel is an injustice and set out to make everything right. They need to be that compass pointing True North. It gives them purpose. It distracts them from their own inner chaos. The intention is noble, but they forget that people don’t generally need saving, they just need someone there to say, “this is shit, but I’m here. Let’s put our shit kickers on and I’ll be your back up if you need. Just ask.” These are the people who hold grandiose ideas of sticking around through thick and thin. They will be there no matter what. They can do it because they are strong enough. They can change you so you can do anything. And there it is. Before the friendship is even bonded, they have decided to save you they must change you. It’s not out of ill intent. It never is. They really don’t understand what they are expecting of the other person. They just know that they will be the one to help you turn that corner. Whatever that corner may be. They really don’t understand what they are truly expecting of themselves. Unlike the movies, being somebody’s rock is truly exhausting. Ask anyone who has raised children. (They suck the life force from you. That is why staying up until 9pm feels like you are staying up past your bedtime.) And for a while they can switch roles. And then it happens, they have gotten you through that tough part, and you through theirs. The part that you and they “needed” saving from. This is the deciding moment. That moment when the friend jumps from the negative radiating pond because the true you has almost sucked all the strength from the rock, or they stay for the long haul.
My friend did jump ship. It wasn’t a bad thing, nor was it a good thing. It was just the natural ending of that friendship. A phone call or a visit every once in a while to catch up, and we became acquaintances. There was nothing wrong with it. All was right with the universe. It was as it should be. Then something happened and the season become a forced extension of what it should have been.
There are the people who start to fade in and out of your life. When they are in your life it’s great. They tend to show up in the calm moments, for the celebrations. You get caught up in their positive energies, bobbing along the pond, unaware of anything in your path. They are more than happy to help with the little bumps; the ones that cause the ripples in the water, never the waves. But you don’t mind at first because you are invincible in this sunlight. You are willing to be there whenever they need you. But for some reason they only include you in bits and pieces of their lives and you don’t understand why, but decide to take it with a grain of salt. Chalk it up to a busy life. You have grandiose plans of sharing huge life events together. After all, you already have been in a few. But you don’t see what is really there. What this extension of a season is doing not only to you, but also to the other person.
Paranoia and over analyzing the friendship happens. You feel a pulling away from the friend, yet you blind yourself to reality. All relationships can make you blind to what’s going on if you’ve invested all you have into it. We all have done this in one season or another, sometimes more. We desire to be someone’s strength and will even remain rocks to those we don’t really like once we get to know them, because we are certain we can change them, and make them better people. Truth. You cannot change anyone. You can be an inspiration, but their change is because of them. You can’t force change, and neither should you. And this is the impasse. Somebody must face the reality of what is going on and take action.
Before writing this I said I didn’t want my friend to change, but when I’m honest with myself I did. I wanted my friend to accept me from who I was. This friend couldn’t do that.
I felt this coming for a long time, but I was still hurt. Very, very hurt. I kept the most hurtful, scathing words to myself. I said what I needed to say and mourn my loss. Then I tried to see what I could take from the friendship. What did I learn? What was I supposed to learn? I got sad, angry, sad, and angry again. I vented. I worked through it as close to how I thought a normal person would as I could. For 17hrs this did threaten to pull me under. It’s the disorder. The depression was threatening to claim me, and it partially did. But if I let it consume me, I learned nothing.
In past this friend mentioned that he/she posted positive quotes when he/she felt bad because it lightened his/her mood. I’ve been practicing that over the last seven months. It’s not easy. It goes against old habits. Then I came across this quote on Goodreads:
“It makes no sense to try to extend a friendship that was only meant to be a season into a lifetime.”
― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass
And the tidal waves in the pond, became regular waves, then ripples, then stilled with my mind. While he/she caused so much hurt by utilizing avoidance for too long, I was just as at fault. By trying to be more like my friend and less like me I tried to “extend a friendship that was only meant to be a season into a lifetime”. This actualization also showed me I did have “lifetime” friends who have weathered many seasons with me, none of them expecting me to change. All of them are willing to walk this life with me. Not walk in front of me, or behind me, but exactly where I needed them. These friends are walking right beside me. These are the friendships I need to foster and grow. This friendship, as painfully as it ended, showed me that I am blessed, and my grass is greenest right where I am.