Trees of Transition

Planting seeds of hope throughout our world through sharing photography and thoughts on teaching, cooking, and life transitions.

Friendship Failure…or Just a Transition? Part 1

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Are you a failure if the person you had your first deep friendship with seems to be ending or just be surface-level now? Many people first experience this during high school or college time, but I’m wrestling with it now. My heart has been struggling with it for a while, but the answer is getting clearer this week: No, I am not a failure in friendship—it is just a transition time.

This is a transition time in this friendship. We’ve both changed a lot since college, and sometimes those changes cause people to part ways. I don’t know what will happen with this relationship; I have sadness mixed with hope.

One stressor that hurt our friendship was my desire to be in charge of the relationship. A few years ago I was just starting to learn about my control issues. (When you are learning about how to deal with control, there will be some relationships that are damaged; I wish it wasn’t the case, but this is how it happened for me.) Part of what hurts me is that I didn’t know I was hurting her at the time; she did not choose to tell me until months later. I wish she could have been more honest with me; that is part of what stings. I forgive her.

My control issues damaged this friendship, but the experience exposed them as well. I do not want to lose more loving friends, so the pain of a hurt friendship has taught me that control is not worth it. I’m learning to trust people deeper, thus freeing them to be themselves. I don’t have to try to control them to protect myself; I may get hurt this way, but the peace of letting people be who they are is so worth it.

The pain kept surfacing when I would reach out to this friend and hardly get a response. In order to heal, this week I’ve had to decide to let just relax and let this friend be where she is at. A friendship grows because two people are watering it, and if this friend is too busy or doesn’t want to be friends anymore, I can let her choose that. I can let her be who she is now, and I will be who I am. I can reach out once in a while, but let her choose if she wants to go deeper again or not.

When I realized that she had been one of my closest friends, but that may have not been the case on her part–that hurt. I can feel the pain, process it, and so it won’t bubble up every time I think of her. I can let go of the pain, forgive myself for damaging the friendship, but also realize we both have a choice here. I would love to be friends with her like we used to be, but she doesn’t seem to want to, so I can let her go! I can enjoy the memories of all the fun we had together.

The healing is sinking deeper. There are many other wonderful people who DO want to be my friends; she was my first deeper friend, but she is far from my last.

By M. H. Campbell

Copyright 2015

P.S. See Part 2 for a fun encouragement that came after I wrote this yesterday!

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Author: maryhopecampbell

Hello Friends, A curious, kind, practical, and energetic writer and teacher is one way to describe me. I enjoy thinking about transitions--in schools, churches, families, relationships, and even countries. I'm passionate about learning, and I love working with students. Stop by often to see which kind of transition I'm thinking about, and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Peace! ~Mary Hope

11 thoughts on “Friendship Failure…or Just a Transition? Part 1

  1. I know where you come from regarding letting go of a friend. But I feel abused in my friendship: Always available when needed and welcome when I could help, but no reaction, no response or any line for weeks when my help is not needed, although I would need some exchange at times… Anyway, this stage of learning to let go is so healing and liberating.

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    • Thank you for reading it and sharing some of your story, Erika. I’m sorry you feel abused–no one should feel that. Yes, not having any response when you would like to connect is hard. I hope that you have other friends that reach back to you quickly! This experience is helping me be so much more thankful for more “equal friendships” where both people work at it. May we both get a lot more of those!

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      • To be honest, this friendship was my greatest blessing and it was the turning point in my life to become who I am today. I won’t miss anything and I will be grateful for eternities. I still don’t feel any anger. I am just in the process that not everybody feels or sees the situation like I do. When I do something I identify with it and dedicate myself to that person. That’s my way. I cannot expect everybody doing that. That is what I have to learn. I am not in the body of my friend, I don’t have his history and I don’t live the way he lives. To accept what is, be thankful for what was and just take what might come is liberating and uplifting. Yes, I hae so many friends around me. I couldn’t be more grateful for each one.

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  2. Yes, you said that well, Erika–we can be grateful for the friends in our lives right now. Thank you for sharing more about your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences – it really encourages me to look after all my family and friends.

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  4. Thank you for sharing. May you heal thoroughly and enjoy many new friendships!

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