My teacher once told me that friendship is like a bank. There has to be a balance and if the other party is making more withdrawls than deposits, you might need to rethink that relationship. I was reminded a couple of days ago about one of these stories and needed to get it off my chest.
A few years ago, I went to Hong Kong for an exchange program through Ryerson University. I had been rethinking my relationship with one of my closest friends. She was a single mother and did rely on me quite a bit, which I don’t mind. But when the connections I had helped make for her were being abused and the only time she called me was for help, I really needed to rethink where this was going. She was broke but still wouldn’t take a lower paying job because it was beneath her and there were times when she put her own needs before those of her daughter when it should have been the other way around. She had very little experience and a daughter to feed; not the time to be picky.
In August 2007, while waiting in the Chicago airport I wrote her an email suggesting that we take a break. I was going to be gone for 6 months and would be doing a little soul searching, so I thought it would be a good chance to take some time to think things through. I suggested that when I came home that we could go for coffee and see how things were. The response I got was not what I expected. She replied with comments like, “How dare you tell me how to raise my daughter?” and “I don’t ever want to speak to you again!”. I had been in her daughter’s life since the age of 6 months and she had just turned 8. I had said that we had always had “differences of opinion” when it came to raising her daughter and perhaps I went a little overboard. But when I think that her daughter could truly suffer because of the mother’s actions, it’s hard to keep one’s mouth shut, especially mine.
At Christmas, I sent out my Annual Princess Address and included her on the list. She politely replied, thanking me for the kind wishes and to please remove her name from my list. I did so and I never heard from her again… Until just before Christmas of this past year, four years after my last contact with her.
I had to read her message a couple of times before I really understood where she was going with her note. She said that she had been blaming me for the end of our friendship as an excuse to keep people at a distance and not to trust anyone. She had let go of it now and was feeling much better. Yippee. No where did she say that she was sorry about the way our friendship ended, that she might have misunderstood my message or anything as a mending process. Just blame. She BLAMED me and there was no further purpose than to write to me and tell me that she was right and I was wrong. She hasn’t changed. Would I want her back as a friend now? No. Would I love to know how her daughter is doing? Yes. Do I wish her well? Of course.
Another friend of mine asked me to be in his wedding party. I was thrilled! It hadn’t been the easiest of weddings to plan and there were some difficulties along the way, but we tackled them and we did it. There were some misunderstandings and the day after the wedding, he and his bride came to visit me and we sorted it out after a long talk. I then realized that I forgot to gave them the money from a couple of tickets that I sold for their stag and doe. They were leaving that afternoon for their honeymoon, so I emailed it to him. I got a reply that since I took money from their party that maybe I needed it more than they did. I can only surmise what they thought was me stealing from their fund, was actually getting reimbursed for something I had purchased for the party. The person in charge of the party handed me the money when I handed over the receipt. Now, my friend is accusing me of stealing. Me? He had known me for more than 10 years and I had even lent him money in the past when he didn’t have enough money to eat. I’d just worked everything out with you and now you’re going to accuse me of stealing? Checking the balance on the account, I could see that this loan was going to be a big risk. I never spoke to him again.
There was a song that he introduced me to years ago and every time I hear it, I think of him. Funny that since I told someone this story two days ago, it’s come up twice on a random setting in as many days.
These stories, thankfully, are few and far between. There are very few friends that I’ve actually had to terminate the friendship with. As a matter of fact, these may be the only two. The moral of this story is that sometimes you HAVE to let them go. I am blessed to have many friends that I can rely on and that can do so in return. I am sorry that I no longer have these people in my life, but I know that the bank account would be close to empty if I was draining it on these two and not investing it wisely in those around me now. Thank you to those who are investing in me and are helping to improve the world’s wealth by helping others.