My Friend of 15 Years Just Broke Up With Me #OhWell

I’ve been sitting on this post for the last week because I struggled with how I would present what happened in a way that is both respectful of my former friend and helpful to those who might have recently suffered a similar fate.

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Having someone you care about deciding to discard your relationship is never easy, whether it’s a platonic friend or a lover. However, when these sorts of things happen, as they inevitably will at least once in a lifetime, I think it’s important to see clearly what happened so as to learn from the experience.

When I was in my 20s, I suffered a series of friendship breakups, which, at that time, left me in a period of mourning for almost 2 years. I thought to myself: if these women will not have me, something is severely wrong with me, and I will ultimately find myself friendless for rest of my days. I was dramatic AF, but it was really how I felt. These breakups were a huge blow to my self-esteem, and it eventually led me to a therapist’s couch.

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It was in therapy that I learned that these friendships failed because I had chosen to befriend people who were incapable of meeting my needs, resulting in relationships that were fraught with discord. In short, I had to work through some of my childhood trauma to be able to adequately select the right kinds of friends for me. Today, my needs from friends aren’t so great, so it’s very likely we could be casual friends now, but back then?  Forget it. I needed more, emotionally, than any friend should be tasked to give. These women also lacked both the emotional intelligence and the ability to sort of get me, which always resulted in strife. It was too much for all of us, and things really did need to come to an end.

I survived, and making it through that period in my life, I know, adequately prepared me for what happened just last week.

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So here’s what happened:

About 5 years ago I reconnected with a close college friend. We’re both married now, mothers, and live in different states, but we’ve continued to be involved in each other’s lives to some degree. We text, we talk, and when she was in my city last year, she stopped by for lunch.

Recently, however, she seemed to sort of fall off the face of the earth. We last spoke sometime in January, so it’s been about 3 months since we were up to date on each other’s lives. I sent a couple of messages on facebook that went unanswered, as well a text or two, but those went unanswered as well. I didn’t really press things any further, because, at this age, we’re busy living our own lives. If you’re not responding to my attempts to communicate with you,  I assume you may be going through something and you want to do your own thing. I respect that and expect that when you’re ready to talk you’ll reach out.

Last week, I sent a simple text stating, “I hope all is well.”  Her response (which I’ve since deleted so as to not spend too much time reliving this experience), was sort of cold and vague. Something like. “I’m well. Thank you.”

To which I replied something like, “Well damn, that it?!”

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Lisa, I’ve loved you since biology class in college. I have been a good friend to you, calling you, checking in on you, but I don’t get the same treatment. You don’t call me back when I call, and you don’t check in.  Seems like you only call when you want to talk about what’s going on in your life. At this point in my life, I’m meeting people where they are. You even have a post on your blog called, “Why I don’t Eff with People Like that anymore,” So when you send a text, “ I hope all is well. ” I’m well thank you is all I have.”

I was completely taken aback by this response, let me tell you. I was expecting, perhaps, a call explaining what’s been going on in her life in the last few months, but I had no idea that she had been deliberately ignoring my attempts at reaching out, and that she had made a conscious decision to treat me as though I had done something to intentionally harm her.

I am not above reproach. And perhaps, I had been a neglectful and selfish friend.

There were some back and forth exchanges that I can’t exactly recall, but they were, I believe, more examples of my ain’t shit ways, and I soon felt under attack. I was surprised that someone who has known me for 15 years had been keeping track of my failings as a friend, instead of just letting me know how she felt. In the last 5 years of our relationship, every single interaction I’ve had with her has been positive. In fact, the last time we spoke we talked about doing a girl’s weekend getaway in February. It’s interesting now to learn that while I was happily engaging and trusting in our bond, she, on the other hand, was operating from a space of distrust, and looking for the cracks in our relationship.

I responded with something along the lines of:

“Well, I wish you had communicated your needs me before deciding to “meet me where I am.” However, if you feel this isn’t something we can work through, and that you’d rather give up on me, it’ll make me sad, but such is life!”

To which she responded,

“Such is life!”

And that was it. My friend of 15 years decided that it’s better to be rid of me than to continue to be disappointed by my inability to meet her needs.

My initial reaction was one of shock and sadness. Who wants to be labeled the shitty friend? Who wants to feel as though they have disappointed someone they care about? But as I examined this further I realized what actually happened, and surprisingly, I am more than okay with this relationship ending. In fact, I feel relieved to know that this person, who is incapable of trusting and knowing true friendship, is no longer darkening my doorstep with negative feelings about me.

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Friendship is easy. It has to be easy. If it’s not easy, it’s not friendship. These are the relationships we choose. This experience led me to examine some truths I know of friendships, and because I hold these truths sacred, it makes it easy for me to release people when it becomes necessary.

These truths go as follows:

  • I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me.
  • Communication is everything. The very first or second time I seemed to not provide her with something she needed, she should have, after 15 years, trusted me with her feelings, and simply said, “Girl, I’ve been going through it, and I really needed you. It hurt me that you weren’t there.”
  • Friends don’t keep track of their friends’ failings.
  • Friends give you the benefit of the doubt. When you know someone and you trust they operate from a good space, you do not discard them when they disappoint you.
  • Friends allow you to be human. The last 4 months have been hell. Between looking for work, losing my baby, and simply coming to terms with not being where I want to be in life, I don’t have a whole lot to give. And if you need something, you better speak up. Don’t expect me to hunt you down and pull it out of you.
  • Friends don’t expect you to behave the way they do. She cited examples of the ways in which she has supported me and been a good friend to me, but that’s who she is and she behaved the way that is natural to who she is.  To have the expectation that I would behave the way she does was a recipe for disappointment. I am a highly emotional and expressive person.  I have no secrets. Everybody and their mama knows when I’m going through shit in life because I scream and cry about it from every mountaintop in the land. Literally. I also have a strong local support system. Between my family and the many friends I’ve made in digital media, I don’t expect or want daily, weekly, or even monthly check-ins. If someone isn’t checking-in, and I know and trust this person, I’m going to reach out and ask for what I need.
  • True friends are forever. You may fall out of each other’s lives because you may find yourselves growing apart, but doors should never be closed unless this friend displays deviant and antisocial behavior: talking about you like a dog, sleeping with your spouse, lying, stealing from you, that sort of thing. But a few missed calls should never mean the death of a relationship.

So my friend of 15 years doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. And while, “Oh well,” may feel like a heartless response, in this instance, I think it’s the best response. No doubt, she believes her decision was an act of self-care, but folks often use that rationale to carry-on making destructive decisions rooted in their unwillingness to face what’s really going on.

Have you had a similar experience? Share yours below!

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31 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I looove this post! It’s not easy making and keeping friends in your 30s and onward… And I think it’s because with time we come to understand and accept what’s important to us. I love that you’re clear about what your truths about friendship are (which, in my book, an accurate depiction of reality)… And if those don’t align with what your former friend’s views on friendship are, then parting ways is for the best. And I love your very last sentence: “…folks often use that rationale [self-care] to carry-on making destructive decisions rooted in their unwillingness to face what’s really going on.” Amen, sister, amen!!! (I actually wrote that down do thank you!!!)

    1. you’re welcome! Thank you for reading!!!

  2. You were more than gracious.. I would’ve replied much harsher… Lol but Ima let you finish…lol

    SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH TO GET NEW TOYS.

  3. Girl it is her loss!! She will need you before you need her. That is crazy that she was taking score, WHO DOES THAT!!

  4. As we get older ‘ life gets in the way of having a life’ and people change.
    I’ve lost two friends because I was “selfish” , “untrustworthy” ( at least that’s what the 2nd friend made it out to be about)
    Both friendships meant a lot to me and I still miss them and think about them.
    But I see now I couldn’t be the friend then wanted nor could they be the friend I needed.
    I think many women go through this sadly.

  5. This is a hard one. I understand not chasing someone, but I detect hurt feelings on both sides. I don’t kknow maybe time and space and y’all can get right again. Also I think we keep track a little…at least we should… to recognize when we’re being taken advantage of. Perhaps that’s how she felt, but neglected to say because she felt petty. Don’t chase, but perhaps stay open to reconcile. Everything’s on the table now, maybe it’ll be easier to sort through.❤

    1. I don’t hate her, of course. In fact, I still care for her. But you have to understand that scenario has happened before, years and years ago, where she neglected to say how she felt then hit me at once, unprepared and completely out of left field. It leads me to believe that this is sort of her MO, and that deep down, she never felt 100% about me as a friend. As of today, in the year 2018, I’m not capable of being what she needs. The person who will set aside her own emotional well-being to get to the root of what is troubling her. She was not my best friend. She was, perhaps, at one point, but today, she is someone I will always care and root for, but NOT at the expense of my own emotional health. I am a sensitive person who battles against depression and anxiety. I lost my sweet baby 3 months ago, and I do not have a lot to give other people. So you have to tell me how you feel, without trying to hurt me, in order for us to work through things. I wish her well, but we’re not right for each other and i’m okay with that. And i think she is, too.

  6. I’m so sorry about your friendship. What happened to you puts me in mind of a quote by Iyanla Vanzant, “You have to meet people where they are and sometimes you have to leave them there.”

    1. yeah, i’m not sorry about it. I know that sounds harsh, but I really meant #ohwell. It’s unfortunate, but I trust that if someone wants to leave you can’t force them to stay. I wish her well!

  7. I am so sorry you lost your friend but I must say friends don’t keep logs of who called who. If I called you my friend I should be able to tell you how I feel. If she felt your friendship is one sided, she should call you and explain herself. Life is so busy, with our homes( children and hisbands) careers , and side hustle nobody get time to be keeping logs of who calls who?
    Time heels. Give her time.

    1. I think it’s interesting that some of the responses here have been about giving her time or offering condolences. Relationships ending don’t’ have to be a sad thing, and it’s certainly not sad for me, as I tried to explain in this post. It’s 100% okay. My intent with this post was to show people how to see these things rationally and trust that it’s fine. This was not my best friend. I have my family and plenty of friends, so I don’t need time because I’m not the one who is upset. so who knows? Life goes on, and I’m happy to continue on with one less negative force working against my progress.

  8. Lisa, first, I am sorry about the lost of your child. I can not imagine the pain that must have cause (and quite frankly it puts things in perspective. Losing a friend pales in comparison). I said a prayer for God to heal your heart and that you would trust that all that he allows in your life is from a place of love even when it doesn’t make sense.
    I had a similar friend thing a few years ago. It was my best friend and rather than discussing things with me she decided to end the friendship. I reached out for over a year bc I knew she had abandonment issues and probably felt like if she didn’t end it I would eventually end things with her (I had just got married when she started to change). She just played the victim and refused to agree that there were probably things on both sides that contributed to the issues that were had. After a year I decided that I had honestly done all that I could and I had to allow her to live her life and Live with her decisions. I see her occasionally and it’s obvious that she needs true friends in her life. I feel really bad for the place that she is in but again, grown ppl make their own decisions and that’s okay. Thanks for sharing!

    1. agreed!! and thank you for reading!!

  9. Lisa this post is what I needed!! I had a friend of 20 years do the exact same thing to me last year and I still don’t know how to process it or not feel hurt when I think about it. I was completely blindsided by her feelings and take on things. We were very close when we were younger and grew apart as we both moved. We reconnected and now that we both have sons the same age it was great. We live in different states but her aunt lives in my city so she has been to visit me twice. I haven’t made it to her city but it was always on my list. I am married with 3 kids so it’s a little harder for me to travel, (she is divorced and has a great paying job) usually we only take one trip per year to see family out of state. Well we were texting about us coming to see her when we came for a wedding in her area if she was in town since it was her bday weekend, when the conversation just went left real fast similar to how yours went down. She started saying that she’s always the one trying to get us together and it seems like she’s the only one interested and she’s not going to keep investing in a one sided friendship. When I tell you I had no clue where she was coming from! I was beyond shocked. I explained my financial situation to her—to which she responded “well I would’ve been happy to pay if you had told me that was the issue” to which I said “why would I ask you to pay for a family of 5? I don’t advertise my issues or ask for help” She continued to go in about all these times she’s reached out trying to plan trips so we could see each other. All I could think was if you really knew me you would know how hurtful you’re being and how genuinely I saw our friendship. I never knew she needed more, we always checked in and I was aware that she always brought up trips but never thought she felt like me not agreeing to trips was a sign that I didn’t value her. Essentially she signed off saying that she’s done making any effort and if I wanted to reach out whenever I’m in her area it’s on me. A few weeks later my husband and I were in her city for the wedding and I reached out on Friday (swallowed my pride and hurt) to let her know I was there if she wanted to get together. She responded on Sunday saying she had a busy weekend. Needless to say that was our last interaction. I’ve tried to put it behind me but I want to let her know just how hurtful she was. We are adults and I just feel like you should be able to come to the table and say how you feel without tearing someone down or breaking a friendship. Your post resonates with me and I wish I could send it to her lol.

  10. Firstly, I am so sorry for the loss of your child. I pray for healing and peace for you and your family.
    I have lost a couple of long time friends recently and it’s not always so easy to communicate what needs aren’t being met. One of those friends has mental health issues and our group had begun to edit ourselves around him to prevent emotional breakdowns and arguments. This was not someone that could tell point blank (even kindly) what wasn’t being reciprocated. It became very toxic and one summer just stopped speaking to the group (after 10 years of being best friends). He recently had tried to reconnect apologizing and most of us are unwilling to open that door again because it was very painful and difficult and his underlying issues are still there.
    Now with regards to remembering who called who etc. I think back to that Maya Angelou quote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I don’t think in every situation where you’re confronted with past behavior it’s petty or fake or that they were “keeping tabs” on the friendship. Sometimes people reflect and come to a realization about how a friendship makes them feel or what they aren’t getting. I am the type of friend who gives a lot and won’t ask for anything. So sometimes I’ve been taken advantage of without realizing it in the moment and it’s not until later that I have a breaking point of frustration and then I communicate it. I also hate confrontation, so it’s not easy for everyone to say things like “you’re selfish, you only want to talk to me when you need something or i feel neglected”. My second friendship that ended was someone who I realize only talked at me and not to me. And only about herself. In the moment I was being supportive and listening and it didn’t occur to me until later what our conversations were about and how I felt after (exhausted). It got to the point where I no longer was happy to see a phone call or text because I knew it was going to be a long drama. Now, I want to communicate to this person and I genuinely care for her. But telling someone that they only talk about themselves and never listen isn’t easy. Also, I don’t want anyone to to “change” and disingenuously become interested in me and my needs because I told them about themselves. It’s just tough, if this was a best friend I probably would have been able to speak up easier, but I really don’t want to hurt her.

    I definitely see both sides of the friend breakup and how miscommunication is a big factor.

  11. Good for you!! I love how transparent you are about everything.
    I think I say “Oh Well” every ten years or so…lol. It’s not that I want to end my friendships but I’ve noticed that when I grow my friends don’t always grow with me. I’m not judging them on where they are or where they want to be in their lives but i can definitely choose the people and environments that I want to be around. Every time something great happens in my life (I look at the bright side of almost everything) I’ve felt the burning heat of hate from people that I thought were genuinely happy for me. Im always happy for them. I’ll never forget telling a friend (who I felt was keeping me from being great) That she wasn’t adding to my life, I sure wouldn’t let her take away from my life, so that means she just wasn’t doing sh*t in my life. I keep my circle small and I don’t have any expectations of anyone, so my excitement or disappointment does not depend on them.

  12. I learned in the Abundance Now Home Study Course that we must know and or accept when a relationship is “complete”. Reason, Season & Forever people must be placed in their proper lanes. When I went through the module on relationships, I learned so much about what I was doing incorrectly, and more importantly, understanding that my “ride or die” posse was a lot smaller than I thought originally. Lisa Nichols has some great advice (You Tube) available when you have a minute check her out. Until next time………….BIG LOVE <3

  13. This was such a great article. I think we’ve all been here before. I’ve been on both sides of the situation and I get that she may not have been capable for whatever reason to communicate her needs. However, the relationship shouldn’t be continued just because of that realization. I think the best thing to do was to the dissolve the “friendship” because it had reached the point where you couldn’t be candid with each other. To me, that’s what a friend is, someone who you can say anything to without judgement. And who knows, you may run into each other in your 50s and be able to reestablish the relationship based on a life filled with experience.

    1. That’s exactly how I feel. this isn’t our season to be in each other’s lives, but maybe in about 20 years or so…

  14. Hi Lisa! I know I this had been a while back, but I could relate to both this post as well as the “Why I don’t Eff with People All That Much”. However, in this case I feel as though I can relate to the former friend. Not because I believe her to be right, but I too have a friend who I consider a good friend. She did something that I felt was not indicative of a friend and when it was brought up I felt she’d blown it off. It wasn’t the fact that it happened it was this dismissal of my feelings.It bothered me-bothers me. I just never verbalized it because just as she blew it off,I honestly don’t trust that she wouldn’t blow it off when brought up. When it happened I was set on either confronting the situation or just silently cutting her off. Either way would result in the end of a friendship.
    The other close friends I confided in (just be sure I wasn’t over reacting) agreed that it was true-friend-like. I stopped texting her for 2 months. Which didnt seem out of the ordinary because that’s the type of texter I am. While I thought out how I would go about the issue, I started to consider the good things about her and decided to either talk it out or let it go. During her vacation out of country, I sent her a text telling her to be safe and that I needed to talk to her. I then went back and deleted it and have not addressed it to her. The problem is; although I would like to address it, it’s been nearly a year. Am I the bad friend for not giving her the benefit of doubt? Would you still bring it up? As the friend who did not receive the benefit of the doubt; what would you want if you were her?

  15. This resonated with me so much. Once we start to take on more responsibilities whether it be work or family life, it can impact the time once spent with friends. We sometimes take different path which sometimes result in someone moving to another country. But for me I strongly believe while we evolve that a true friendship will find a way to survive all obstacles. I have a very good friend who migrated and a group of us had a send off and at that moment I felt lost. I soon realize this was for her advancement and I had to be happy for her. We may be miles away but the bond will never break. We don’t have to talk everyday but a phone call is all it takes. I have also lost a friend I’ve known for the past 26yrs and it involved an incident with her brother with whom I’m involved. He thought I should fight for the friendship and basically write him off since I was just getting to know him but I deserve love too. You see unfortunately some times we see certain behavioral patterns that concerns us but we try to spare our friends feeling and then something happens and you realize enough is enough. I didn’t write her off, she did and I just accepted it. We just need to value the persons in our lives and most importantly be open and honest with each other.

  16. I think you really should re-read your own post. You are still blaming her for your issues. I believe what your friend said about you to be 100% true. Sounds like you only reach out to her when you want to talk about your life and your issues. Being the friend who is always there for someone who doesn’t truly reciprocate is exhausting! If she had to be that friend for 15 years. I’m sorry but I don’t blame her one bit for having the courage to cut you loose. I know this opposing view isn’t what you were looking for but that is how I interpret what I read.

    1. I think should reread the post. This post is well over a year old and truthfully, I haven’t given it a moment’s thought since last year. As I wrote quite plainly and clearly, I am not in the least bit hurt by her decision, and frankly, have too much going on in my own life to be fooling with folks who feel any kind of way about being me being a human being and imperfect. Of course, she was in her right to “cut me loose”. LOL! I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me. We’re too old for any of that hanging on stuff. Folks wanna go? Let me hold the door WIDE open. My entire post was LITERALLY about the way in which we release people from our lives. There are levels of betrayal and disappointment, and folks simply being busy or LIVING isn’t a cause to dismiss them as you might someone who has intentionally done you dirty. Yes, you can “end” the relationship, but there doesn’t have to be hard feelings. I don’t have any towards her, that’s for sure. I do wish she had ONE TIME said, “look, I’m feeling upset about the relationship because you are disappointing me in the following ways..” But to go on and act like you’re fine meanwhile you’re harboring? Nope, not how I have relationships. My friends and I communicate. Closed mouths don’t get fed. How can a relationship where we spoke a once or twice a month, IF THAT, be exhausting? We are both married with children. I live in another state and have a VERY active life with my job, and family. I think you perhaps were triggered by this post and are remembering a friendship dynamic where YOU felt exhausted by someone. What you describe isn’t what happened in this case. We’d known each other for 15 years, and were friends, but we were never best friends, and there were years and months where we didn’t connect. I think you perhaps read another post, OR, you simply misread this one and read into it because you have some relationships that have disappointed you (as we all have). But again, I wish and hope she can find and maintain relationships that meet her needs; she, like all of us deserve that. Still, no matter the But no matter the dynamic, if you feel close to people, you WILL have to at some point tell them how you feel, and not simply throw folks away when they let you down. Hell, we’d be throwing EVERYONE away if that’s the case. In any event, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. I emailed you this as well but I wanted to post the comment publicly as I didn’t realize I could before. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article. My best friend of 15 years basically did the same thing to me last week word for word. I have been reaching out for to her on and off and she would’ve been distant but then we would meet up and should be completely fine and we’d have a wonderful time. We even went camping recently and while she seemed kind of down because she was going off the medication otherwise we seem to have a lovely time. Then she went cold and silent when I pushed a little bit with are youOK she responded that she needed time because I’ve been so rude you’re on the camping trip. I was shocked but upon examining my behavior and finding nothing wrong I sort of let it go. Then she responded with a massive text message about what a horrible person I was. Our relationship was great I thought prior to this we never thought and we always had fun. I prioritized her in my life and she was one of my dearest friends. This was clearly soul crushing and finding this article is the first thing that has made me feel hopeful and happy, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in a good way. It’s horrible to lose a friend that you cared so dearly about and so abruptly. You are right though we must move on and focus on ourselves and matter how much it hurts. I wanted to let you know that even though it must’ve hurt to write this article your pain is helped me deal with mine

    1. Hi India! Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m glad this article helped you. I wish you much happiness and peace

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