A little while ago I was watching Jumping the Broom and a scene that felt all too familiar. The scene went a little like this:
Jason Taylor– “You’re just mad because Ricky- not you- is my best man. Tell the truth.”
Malcolm– “You know what? Yea, I’m upset. I am. I’m your cousin and your best friend but I ain’t good enough to be your best man huh?! That’s what you’re basically telling me. You’d be the best man at my wedding.”
Jason Taylor– “you wanna talk, let’s talk.”
Malcolm– “Let’s do it! Let’s talk!”
Jason Taylor – “You are my cousin but the whole best-friend thing.. Common Malcolm, who are you fooling?! We haven’t been best friends for what.. 2… 3 years?! Right around the time I bought my house, I have a house warming, you don’t show up. I got promoted to vice president, the entire block shows up: Eddie, Casual Mike,even Dave comes. Did you come? No…”
Once I watched this scene, I was inspired to write about it because it felt all too familiar. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that my whole mission is decoupling and demystifying the adulting process. There are so many lessons to be gleaned from the process and the issue of best friends is definitely one of them.
Now, Let me describe you…
You identify on some level with the above scenario. You’ve had your best friend for (X) amount of years. This person has been in your life for your mountain top experiences as well as your valley experiences. This person has been the shoulder you cry on and your partner in crime. But as you are in your process of growing and maturing, you have found that things have begun to shift. You are both interested in doing different things. The things you once did together has now become a nuisance. Jealousy, envy, strife, anger, competition, and lack of support has now flooded the relationship. Things no longer feel the same. In fact, you feel like you are walking on eggshells around this person. What once caused them to celebrate you is now causing them to resent you. There is tension between the both of you and you can cut it with a knife.
The problem is, you have known this person for too long and you have been through hell and back together. Besides, it is very unusual for you to walk out on the people you love, no matter how bad things get. You believe love stays… no matter what.
Here’s the thing…
You are right; Love stays, love fights, but not to the detriment of your health and sanity. It’s that simple. Listen, life happens. Chapters have a beginning and an end and so do the people in our lives. It is very rare to have someone REMAIN a best friend from grade school to old age. Instead, more than likely, there has been some growing apart and then MAYBE a coming together as maturity takes its course. BUT more often than not, the opposite is true. People grow apart, go on different journeys and may never reunite again. And friend, that has to be OK. Again, part of the growing up process is trusting your gut and listening to that little small voice that tells you it’s time to move on. It doesn’t mean you don’t love this person anymore, it just means the chapter has ended and it’s time to start a new one. And let me say this, as you are going into your new season, it is important that you don’t try to find a new best friend. Take some time, breathe, learn new people. Go out of your way to interact with people that you would not normally interact with. And if you can’t find new people to interact with, be alone. I know that is odd to say but listen…. You have to learn how to find peace in the stillness and quiet. You have to learn that being alone is not bad thing. That sometimes being alone teaches you to enjoy your own company. It’s time to love yourself. It’s time to find yourself. It’s time to know who you really are. What you believe in? Who you believe in? Soul searching, which is a fundamental part of maturing, happens best in solitude. If the idea of being alone is uncomfortable, that’s OK. Do it anyway. Nothing grows out of being comfortable and isn’t growth the goal? Beside, being alone is not something that should last forever but it is a season I believe everyone should experience. It allows you hear the sound of your own voice, see yourself for who you really are, and come to grips with the very thing that’s been chasing you.
So, how do you go about transitioning from a friendship that just isn’t working anymore? As someone that has experienced this a few times in her life, let me offer some tidbits…
Have a conversation
In other words, confront the issue. Be honest. Be real. Let the tears flow. Let the voices rise but confront the issue.
It’s going to be messy, let it
Listen, a relationship is ending here. One that has had HISTORY. It WILL be messy. Let it. You will feel hurt, allow it. Breaking up is always hard to do, no matter the relationship. If you come across subliminal tweets or Facebook posts, put their account on mute. DON’T go lurking on their page, you will find something you don’t like or something that may hurt you. Remember, you are putting your health and sanity first here. Don’t do anything that will take you back instead of move you forward.
You will be angry, the other person will be angry, that’s normal. A chapter is closing that you never expected to close. That’s okay. What is not okay is holding onto unforgiveness. You immediately take yourself ten steps back by not choosing to forgive this person that may have hurt you by their words or actions. Forgive. Put empathy on. They are going through a hard time too and they are just manifesting their hurt in a different way than you are.
Always take the high road
There’s no need to be petty or childish here. Take the high road. Ignore foolishness. Close the chapter and move on with your life. Yes, this is easier said than done but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes. The more you focus on your betterment, the easier it becomes.
Create a healthy distance to protect yourself
Allow yourself and the other person a chance to breathe, a chance to heal. Always being around each other especially after a tough conversation is not going to help the both of you heal any faster. Instead, it will make things ten times difficult. Create a safe distance physically and virtually.
If you are going through this; this article may not have all the answers you are looking for, but as always I hope it serves as inspiration and encouragement.
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Emem Joy Emah