Dealing with people makes me feel all kinds of things. Full-on head-full-of-feelings, heart-bursting-with-emotion kind of feeeeeelings. And last week I felt something I never have, as far as people fee-fees go. I discovered (quite by accident) the joy of unburdening. I want to say it felt like a weight off my chest, a worry out of my head and all that. But really it just felt like that sweet, sweet transition from pain to happiness, except on fast-forward. Like jetting through the awkward phase into easy acceptance in 3 seconds.
I had a spat with a (former) close friend last week. It was most unexpected, and over the silliest thing — shared domestic help – not something I thought I’d ever lose a friend over. More so because there was no fight, or fall out, just behavior that gave me a pretty big clue about where this relationship (and I) stood in the eyes of said friend.
The way people behave towards you is usually significantly telling of where they’re coming from, their state of mind, and mostly how they feel about you. So when I was faced with an absurdly rude and uncalled for text message that sought to “clarify” a misunderstanding, I took a quick moment to think about what I might have done if tables had been turned.
My sense of integrity towards the friend would have made me pick up the telephone call and have a conversation, not exchange text messages. So I did. I dialed her number, I cleared up the misunderstanding, and that was that. But I couldn’t shake off the feeling of having received that message, out of the blue. Even in the biggest of misunderstandings with a friend, I have never resorted to that kind of blinding rage, and unleashed it without any warning. The message was terse, but harsh. Confrontational, yet totally lacking the balls to face the issue (which in my mind was pretty non existent, nothing friends couldn’t get around). And the way in which it was just thoughtlessly typed out and sent to me, without a chance to talk it out and hear my side, told me how much this friendship was valued. And I didn’t deserve it.
So I clarified my stance, sorted out the misunderstanding and realized it was my cue to walk away.
I snapped it. Again. And this time, there was zero rethinking. No feefees, no awkwardness, no regret. And it made me realize maybe I too held the relationship at very low value in my mind. If it was that easy to sever and move on, perhaps its time was really done.
It’s never just been about the straight and narrow, as far as people in my life go. I’m always watching people, always curious about what makes us all behave the way we do. Balancing out the good and the bad vibes, weeding out negativity, trying to stick with relationships that work, feel good and genuinely withstand the pressures of time and distance is an ongoing background activity in my brain.
Cliche as it sounds, I really do believe people come into our lives for a purpose. That purpose some times lasts a really long time, and people can some times grow on you like beautiful fresh vines on a naked wall. Wrapping themselves, inter-twined with your life in the most imperfectly perfect way.
Some friendships stay in the wings of your life, never taking centre stage, but appearing now and then like a sunny monsoon day, with sweeping pink skies that temporarily shine through dark cover, make a spectacular short-lived show and recede back into the wings, waiting for the next cue. Their purpose is to hang around and step in, unannounced.
Some the purpose is short lived, and relationships end. Some times over a long-drawn period of time, like a painful black stormy night punctuated with crackling lightning and thunder. Tumultuous and refusing to go down without a fight. Some times they linger around, in the background, occasionally making a noise – but nothing that can’t be swatted out with a swift thwack of a tightly-rolled newspaper.
The relationships that remain, are there for a reason, and the ones that fade away, slowly, like inky stains on old clothes that bled away gently but never fully disappear, they linger with good reason. But I learned last week that there’s also those relationships that come with an expiry date so close, you never know when its coming. Like snapping a dry twig, unexpectedly. Crack, and its over. No strings attached, no over thinking, no hangover of whys and ifs and buts. Just clarity that it was meant to be. And with good reason.
It would be really fabulous if there were an easier way to draw a curtain over an old friendship, hit delete and wish it all away. But there isn’t and I used to be the person that would spend a lot of time, thought and emotion over broken relationships, good or bad. This some times led relationships that ought to have ended linger on in my life, making periodic comebacks, only to spectacularly fall apart all over again. It was kind of like never learning from my own experiences.
I have a subconscious social pruning cycle that hits me every 6 months or so, almost bang on track, and this time it’s had a new conclusion. Snap, like a twig, and I felt lighter. Unburdened. By accident.