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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Say "Goodbye" and I Say "Hello"

Or vice versa.

How do you close out a no longer happy, maybe even destructive friendship, of any kind, without leaving scorched earth, that nasty smell of burnt hair and all those tiresome corpses (the clutter is horrendous!).

For those few of you with Donna-sized paranoia, NO, I’m not talking about you and I’m NOT even hinting!

I can’t imagine that there’s a person on the planet who hasn’t had to extricate themselves from a friendship gone sour. For me there’s been a few where I’ve, essentially, woken up and noticed an ongoing, overall, extreme, unbalanced nature and was keen to get gone.

Sure, sure, it IS a solid given that sometimes we take more than we give and give more than we take but there’s gotta be balance. If not, someone ought to be getting a paycheck at the end of the evening. And yes, in all but one instance I tried diplomatically (I do SO know what that word means!) discussing my concerns and feelings first.

When it was clear that things couldn’t be different (that voicing my needs and concerns had been the equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet, a wet slap in the face with dueling gloves),  I’ve tried being less available. When that didn’t get my need for “a break” (euphemism alert!) across, I’ve been direct -- kind but honest.

No matter what there’s always an unhealthful amount of blood on the floor. One person became outright, full metal hostile and insulting (and not in the fun, Gore Vidal or Molly Ivins kind of a way). Another seesawed between ridiculous attacks and acting as though I’d not uttered a word. I’ve seen some champion levels of defensive denial -- truly stellar material.

Yeah I know, I haven’t always chosen my friends carefully or wisely. To that, all I say is “oh please, like y’all have picked winners ever single time outta your box!” (defensive much Donna? Nope, nevah!)

I’ve gotten the heave ho out of a few friendships myself, of course. The one end that I think I liked the best/went down the least painfully was the woman who told me straight up “I can’t hang out with you anymore -- you’re too extreme.” You know, I was too extreme -- she inspired me to think about where I was and what I was about.

The key, the trick, the elusive magic, (the cliche du jour) is to stay open to new friendships and experiences without roping myself to the tracks while the 9 o’clock out of Self-Involved-Thoughtless-Creature-ville heads straight for me at 90 mph.

Uh yeah, good luck to me with that. How have you handled tricky friendship ending situations?

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