Friendships are like marriages. Some evolve to become mutually supportive and life-giving bonds, while others grow more and more unhealthy, or even toxic over time. Then there are those friendships that end and you have no clue why. When a friendship ends – abruptly or subtly; via email, phone conversation or personal confrontation; with words or with silence – I believe it needs to be processed in a similar, if not the same way, as a terminated marriage. Because, even if the split was inevitable or not, it still hurts.
Let me tell you about the day I lost my friend……
So, this particular friend, we’ll call her Tanya. Tanya and I have been friends for many, many years. Our families have history. We grew together from little girls to grown women, watched each other achieve goals, make mistakes, go to college, date around, get married, everything. I mean, the love was definitely real in our case. And on my part, it still is. But as you grow in life, you tend to realize that not all things remain the same. This being one of those things.
Anyhow, growing up, Tanya had it pretty rough. Family life for her wasn’t that sweet, but what I always admired about her was the fact that she rarely ever let it steal her smile. The laughter we shared is absolutely immeasurable, but there was also a side of Tanya that I hated. A side of her that I tried to come to grips with for years, but never understood. You see, Tanya had a thing for men who treated her like trash. They didn’t put their hands on her or anything (as far as I know), but they didn’t respect her. In my opinion, the reason behind it was because she didn’t demand that respect from them, nor did she respect herself in some instances. In the beginning, she’d claim to want to find love and settle down. But that’d soon change once sex was introduced.
The moment she gave up the goods, she’d be soooo into them, but the guys would begin to treat her like all the rest. Booty call type stuff. Only calling or coming by to have sex. Nothing real. No substance. Strictly physical. When all the while, she’s falling in love. Pretending to be ok with ‘only getting the dick.’ Crying herself to sleep at times. Depressed. Confused. Alone.
Seeing Tanya go through this time and time again started to really hurt my feelings. It started making me wonder why she felt like she had to give so much of herself in order for a man to want her. So I’d explain to her that what she was doing wasn’t a good look and from what I could tell, she wasn’t making a good name for herself. One day, years ago, Tanya responded to my attempts to get through to her. Her response was, “everyone can’t have long-lasting relationships like you, Ebony!” I didn’t know what to say. I was………speechless. Not because I hadn’t thought of it that way, but because of the way she said it. It was almost as if she was upset with me for having a successful relationship. How do you respond to something like that?
Fast-forward a few years. I’d gotten married and relocated. Tanya and I would talk on a regular. Not everyday, but at least twice a month. One day while lying in bed with my husband, I told him that I was feeling like Tanya and I didn’t have much in common anymore. My life had gone in one direction and hers in another. Not in a bad way, just opposite directions. What interested her no longer piqued my interest and vice versa. My husband assured me that everything was ok; things like this happen in life. No biggie. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling. For the most part, every time we spoke, it’d be about one of two things. Her sexcapades/men or we’d reminisce about old times. DASSIT! Nothing new.
So one day she told me about this new guy she was dealing with. She’d literally met this guy less than a week before she told me about him……and she’d already had sex with him. Multiple times. Now I’m not one to dictate what another grown person should do with their body, but for me, that’s waaaaayy too soon. Anyhow, it turns out I knew this guy. A family member of mine has a child with him. To make a long story short, he ended up using and dogging her out as well. So I asked….“Tanya, why is it that when your female friends make you upset, you completely cut them off? But when a guy treats you like shit, you try your hardest to repair the damage when it’s clear he doesn’t give a fuck?” There was this awkward silence for about three seconds and then she chuckled and said, “I really don’t know.” At that point, I knew what it was, so I didn’t press her any further.
Shortly after that conversation, the guy gets locked up. Of course, Tanya being the supportive partner (or whatever her title was) that she is, she was there for him every step of the way, despite being treated poorly when he was free. Well, one day I get a call from Tanya. Clearly, she’s sad about this situation and needs someone to talk to, so I’m there for her. No problem. She expressed to me how upset she was about him being locked up again and how bad she feels for him. Honestly, I didn’t have any sympathy for the guy because his actions got him locked up. No one else’s. But at that moment, my job was to lend an ear to a friend in need, so I allowed her to vent. As the conversation went on, Tanya stated that my family member (who has the baby by Tanya’s new guy) was jealous of the fact that the guy had moved on and no longer wanted her. She also said that this particular member of my family was putting on a front for me, by acting like she really didn’t care that Tanya was with her baby’s daddy. So I asked Tanya, “why would she front for me? She’s known me all my life, what do I care if she still has feelings for him or not?” Why in the world did I ask that question? Tanya came back at me with the attitude of a single mother who’s paycheck was short. She raised her voice, accused me of never believing her, always taking other people’s side…..blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! Before losing my cool, I tried to explain to Tanya that I was simply asking why she felt fronting would be necessary on my family member’s part. It wasn’t that I was discrediting what she felt. Well, that didn’t work either. She was still mad.
So after a few more seconds of her raising her voice at me, I lost it. Now prior to this conversation starting, I’d told Tanya, as her friend, I was going to lend her a listening ear, but I’d rather not get caught in the middle. Anyhow, I went off on her and ended the call. The next day, I texted Tanya telling her that I really didn’t want to fight with my friend over something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. I also apologized for losing my temper and hanging up the phone in her face. Tanya’s response to my heartfelt message was, “it’s all good.” I figured she was still upset, so I let her breathe. The next time I looked up, two months had passed and I hadn’t heard anything from Tanya. So, I decided to reach out.
I sent her a message asking if she still considered us friends because it was way out of the norm not to hear from her at all. Her response to me at that point was, “if you wanna be friends, that’s cool…..if not, that’s cool too.” After 30 years of friendship, that seemed really harsh to me. I attempted to explain to her, to no avail, why I questioned the friendship. Things got worse and worse. Eventually, I decided to let the friendship die. I removed Tanya’s ability to contact me and moved on with my life. That all happened about a year ago.
I say all of that to say this. Friendships change all the time and it’s ok. What’s also ok is to let a friendship die if it is no longer beneficial to all parties. The love I have in my heart for Tanya will never change. I have mourned the loss of that friendship and I can honestly say that I am ok with not being apart of each other’s lives. God puts some people in your life for a season. There is absolutely no point in you constantly trying to spray paint the fall leaves green when the season for those leaves has changed.
Dark & Lovely; no one above thee. 🖤