Recently, I was really hurt by the actions of a few people who I had considered friends, even good friends at one point in my life.
These are people who I constantly stood up for when others were putting down, constantly praised and let them know I cared about them and even let them stay in my place when they were traveling.
Their actions to talk about me behind my back profusely putting me down and then simply ‘delete’ me out of their lives, hurt immensely.
I wasn’t even given an explanation or a chance to understand the reasoning, which was the worst part – because obviously whatever had been said behind my back had been enough to make these people decide I was no longer worthy of their friendship.
This took a massive toll on my happiness and my life the weeks preceding.
It made me wonder how people can be so callous and just rid people of their lives when they no longer serve a purpose. More so, how a group of adults can ‘gang up’ on one person and leave them out and gossip about them in what resembles a high school ‘clique’.
My partner and several of my friends kept telling me that it is not worth the stress, that if they were decent enough people they would have given me an ‘explanation’ or at least had the decency to raise the issue instead of simply outing me without a word.
The little optimist in me is trying to figure out what I can learn from this experience, and I think I may have found out what it is.
Like any negative experience in life, it has changed my perspective and if anything, made my heart a bit stronger and my head a bit harder.
There are lessons that I have learnt that from here on in, will hopefully ensure that I am not hurt the way I have been recently, because I am better than that.
(1) Accept That People Change and Not Always For The Better
As we get older and different life events occur, our tastes and likes change. This is also shaped by our career choices/jobs, hobbies and relationships. Just think, who you chose as friends when you were maybe 5 or 6 would have been for completely different reasons than who you choose today. Sometimes we just have to move on and accept that a person we once loved and cared for dearly is just not the same person we see today – don’t try to hold on to someone who no longer exists; it will only cause pain.
Some relationships do have expiry dates, and you really need to just accept that sometimes that is the case. Do the right thing first though and give that person the benefit of the doubt and raise the concerns you have with them – then make your decision from there.
But be honest and true to yourself – if that person is not someone you want in your life, let them go… don’t ignore the warning signs that this friendship is over.
(2) Ignorance is Not Bliss
If friends or loved ones start doing things that you personally don’t agree with or understand, and it’s not just a once off, maybe it’s time to consider if this friendship is all it’s fired up to be and if you really want that person in your life.
Don’t ignore warning signs – if you wouldn’t accept your brother or sister doing these things, or even your partner, than why should you accept a friend doing them?
A big thing I am aware of is how someone talks about other people behind their backs and how honest they are. If someone constantly talks about other people behind their backs to you in demeaning and derogatory terms, there is a very good chance they’ll do the same to you as soon as possible. If they do not understand the importance of honesty and respect to someone they consider a ‘friend’ then why should they treat you any different?
Don’t play ignorant to who someone really is – if they are sweet to others faces then malicious behind their backs, don’t let their sweetness to your face fool you. Be very careful what you trust this person with and how much of yourself you give them – as they will probably only take it for granted.
(3) Learn Who Is Who – Soul Mate, Good Friend and Acquaintance
A big issue I always face is that I become blindsided to the things people do that I don’t agree with or don’t necessarily like. I make excuses for people I like and I don’t re-asses that persons role in my life until they really cause me to – or they ‘break up’ with me first. It hurts, because most people will rid others quite quickly and easily (as I’ve just been proven) and won’t even give a second thought to it.
For years I was defending this girl who I considered a good friend when really she was nothing more than an acquaintance. In the end I gave this girl too much power to hurt me, and that is what she did very well.
When I look back on it now – particularly now that this girl has shown her ‘true colours’ to me, I really had no reason to defend this girl or even consider her a friend.
When I think about it, she really was the epitome of someone I would have utterly no respect for, yet I found myself defending her time and time again solely because she was a really sweet, nice girl … at least to my face.
There is nothing wrong with being friends with people who have different life goals or life experiences, but the biggest mistake I made was thinking that this person would understand and appreciate my friendship. It turned out pretty nasty with her saying some horrible things behind my back and in turn whispering into ears of some other people I thought would be big enough to make their own mind up over situations, rather than solely taking her spin on it as gospel.
There are people in life that you can truly consider soul mates, people that you can consider good friends and people that are meant to be acquaintances. It’s super important not to confuse these boundaries and not to let people in further than they are meant to be – because in turn, there will be a lot of confusion due to difference in opinions and this will only result in fights or heart break.
It’s not that one person is right and the other is wrong – it’s simply that we are entitled to differences of opinion but the way one person construes your actions and words may in fact be entirely incorrect but that is based on their life experiences and what they would do/say in the same situation. It takes a lot of effort and patience to continuously clarify their interpretation of what you have said or done, and sometimes it’s just not worth it.
Instead – let them think what they want – they probably don’t deserve to be such a big part of your heart and life anyway if they consistently put a negative spin on everything you do or say and misconstrue this to make their actions seem saintly. These people should never pass the ‘acquaintance’ phase.
Your soul mates will have been through similar circumstances in life and therefore will see your soul and the good intention behind your actions. They will understand you to your core and you will rarely ever find yourself apologizing or explaining your actions or words to them.
Good friends on the other hand are those people that maybe you’ve been friends with so long that you don’t remember how you met – but you have a mutual respect and love for each other. Sometimes you might have disagreements due to misunderstanding but you both honestly know that your life would be much worse without that person in it. That the person is a great asset to your life and you genuinely care about them understanding you if they have misunderstood something and taken it the wrong way.
To be honest, my best friends weren’t necessarily my ‘soul mates’ up until now and some friends I see more often than others don’t even hold that status. But I know the need for boundaries and making clear my intentions behind my actions with these people so I don’t end up causing unnecessary hurt.
(4) Be Honest but Tactful
The biggest thing I have learnt this year is that there are a lot of people that live their lives with their heads in the sand and would rather avoid any conflict than be honest and truthful.
It is a heartbreaking lesson I have learnt as I end up being ‘the bad guy’ in many instances where I am the only one who is straight forward and honest with someone based on an issue many people are having. Although it seems there are a lot of people who would prefer to gossip and talk about others behind their backs, you need to decide if you would be ok if someone was doing this to you. If the answer is no, then don’t do it to someone else.
I am sometimes a bit too brutally honest and don’t hold back and this is where tact comes in. You have to learn the right circumstances and right time to tell someone a truth which they may not want to hear – and in the meant time, don’t go an gossip or bitch to others or hold off until it boils and you let it out without any tact.
Take time to breathe and assess whether the perceived issue is a real issue, whether it is your issue or someones else’s and if it is your place to discuss this with the person. Also, make sure that you’re not just relying on what others are saying because I can GUARANTEE this will result in you being blamed for others words being put in your ear.
You can’t be honest on behalf of everyone – only yourself.
(5) Know Who You Are
I know I drone on and on about this, but the truth is, when someone leaves your life for better or for worse, you need to know who you are without them in your life. You need to be confident in yourself to know when you need to apologise or when you need to move on. If you don’t know yourself, then you will let anyone who enters your life shape you and change you and it will be much easier to lose friends this way than any other way.
Know what you love, what makes you happy, who makes you happy and then continue living your life without that person.
I made the tough decision to move to Brisbane when I had just finished school and lost a lot of friends along the way. I then made the harder decision of leaving Brisbane to come back to Mackay just before I turned 22 and in turn lost even more friends.
I didn’t notice this loss straight away but over the years, it seems that I am learning that it is hard to maintain any kind of long distance relationship – sooner or later you need to accept that you are no longer as close as you used to be to people who live 1000km away from you.
I constantly put in effort and time with my friends in Brisbane and it was only recently that someone brought up “how many times have your Brisbane friends visited you?” … it really got me thinking and I actually got quite upset and angry that while I would go down on spare weekends and in holidays and birthdays to visit some people I considered my ‘friends’, it was never reciprocated.
I’m not angry anymore, but having realised this, I’m more open with myself as to the strength of certain relationships and their commitment to me and from there have been able to decide how willing I am to open my heart to them.
I am a strong believer that everyone who enters your life, enters for a reason and if they leave – they leave for a reason too.
You can’t be friends with everyone but you can be friends with the right people who will only enhance your life if you just listen to yourself and your instincts.
So while I may have been shunned and ignored by a few people, I have learnt a great deal about who I really want and actually deserve in my life. Hopefully, from here on in, I’m a bit more selective.
Last but not least, KNOW who you want in your life and who you don’t…
I want people who have a zest for life – not just living. Who embrace the world and new found people in a way that celebrates them, not belittles them. I want people who understand the importance of once in a lifetime events and cherish and treasure sentimentality over things of monetary value. I want people who are hard working, willing to take risk, have passion and drive to do what they love and create things of beauty. I want people who have traveled, if not the world at least their soul.
I only want people in my life, who want to be loved and treated like a friend. Who are willing to hear the harsh truth rather than live life in a small rut with backstabbers and two faced, small minded people who are only ever ‘nice’ without any critiscm or truth in their words. I only want people in my life who are TRUE to themselves and their desires – who don’t back down the minute someone enters their life that has a different opinion. Who know what they want, who they want and where they want to be in life and are willing to get it. I don’t want to sit there and question a friends continuously confusing choices because who they have told me they are is completely different to who they are – or maybe the don’t even know themselves.
I don’t want leeches… life suckers.. those that only know pessimism, negativity and mediocre. I don’t want weaklings who have only survived thus far by relying on everyone else and have never had to stand on their own two feet. I don’t want to be part of ‘The Plastics’ or the clique if it means backstabbing those who are closest to me and acting so two faced you can’t remember who you have lied to and who you haven’t. I don’t want untrust-worthy. I don’t want deceit. I don’t want people who are simply ‘comfortable’ with their life, their choices, their job and their partner… those that take life for granted and believe they are simply owed this life.
I don’t want people who want recognition or reward without effort – and I mean real effort and work. I don’t want people who feel as though they are ‘experienced’ by association of someone else who has suffered hardships. I don’t want ‘victims’ or ‘cry-babies’. We all have hardships and we all choose how we deal with these and how we manage – we choose whether we simply survive or if we thrive.
Most of all.. I want to be able to look at my friends and say ‘WOW’.
Everyday I already feel so lucky and incredibly blessed to have met some amazing people in my life and to consider some of these people my friends. From here on in, only those that inspire me, move me and mutually love and respect me will deserve a place in my life and in my heart. People who can’t handle the truth, who want to constantly think negatively of me and paint me to be a monster I am not – you can quite frankly leave and never return. I am done.