Don’t Let Decades Defend Disrespect: Saying Goodbye To Seasonal Friendships

February 13, 2013  |  


One of my ex best friends’ birthday was steadily approaching and it would be the first one we hadn’t spent together since we’d met. I was debating on whether I should call or send a card, especially since I’d been the one to sever the relationship. I finally decided not to do it, after seeing a plethora of preemptive birthday shouts, to her, on social networks via our mutual friends. She had more than enough love she’d be all right without my commemoration.

Sometimes when you’ve been friends with someone for so long it’s hard to identify their negativity. Snide remarks and intentional hurt will be misconstrued as sarcasm and time-of-the-months. But this never lasts for long. When you come into contact with genuine folks, a Venn diagram for your so-called BFFs, their continuing faults will become more apparent than ever.

When we’d met she was a party girl, content with finding the hottest outfit and club for the weekend. As all friends do, we sacrificed for one another. Sometimes she gave up her parties on nights I wanted to attend a literary event or an open mic. After a few weeks of these outings, it suddenly dawned on her that she could meet men, on a completely different tier than those that she’d been dealing with, in other places than the club. Suddenly she was flirting with musicians, poets, and writers; she’d also bought a journal to keep her thoughts in. I was excited at the prospect of my best friend getting involved with the things I loved, until I realized she was faking it.

After seeing her retweet something I said, I saw that her Twitter bio was a lot longer. When I took a glance at it, I was immediately offended. In less than a year she’d gone from “just a girl who enjoys life” to “author, copywriter, educator, intellectual.” Say what now? As someone who has spent most of her life behind a book and work shopping her craft, it annoyed me to see someone use the titles so easily.

The instance did light a small fire within me, but I decided not to speak on it. We continued our friendship, over the years. She was suddenly all too involved in my professional world, wanting to know every little detail about the steps I made. She broke the hearts of men I’d introduced her to, men who were my good friends before their connection but decided to keep their distance afterwards. She uttered things about my career that bothered me but I tried not to let it get to me:

Oh how’d you get that gig? I mean I could write for them, but I think my work is too good.

Girl you still writing that little book? I would have been done by now. Writing a novel seems too easy. That’s why I’m working on a memoir.

Despite all of this, I still gave her the benefit of the doubt. I made sure to help carry her upstairs when she was too drunk to do so herself. I connected her with the right people when she was in desperate need of a job. I even held her during her first heartbreak even though she’d broken enough of her own to deserve it.

Soon her unpleasant comments seemed not so far and few in between and a pattern developed in our friendship: she only called when she wanted advice about something literary, if she needed to get into an event that I had passes to or if she’d spied someone hot on my friends list. Thus our divide became incredibly clear:

Instance 1:

I called to tell her about an awesome writing opportunity I was given. She sighed into the phone, “Everything happens for YOU doesn’t it.” I laughed, because I thought the angst I heard in her voice was a joke. It wasn’t. Huh? She stated again, “Everything GOOD happens for YOU. Good for you. I’ve got to handle something. Let me call you back.”

Instance 2:

She and I, and a ton of our friends went to our favorite restaurant for brunch and she’d announced that she’d just received a promotion. We raised our mimosas in cheer and congratulated her. The table buzzed incessantly about how far she’d come. After a few minutes one of the other girls at the table asked, “Erica didn’t you just get a promotion too? How is that going?” I opened my mouth to speak and my “best friend” cut me off, “This is definitely my moment. Are you serious?” Everyone got really quiet and diverted the conversation to an entirely different topic.

Instance 3:

We planned to all get together for a dinner and I’d had a really rough day at work. She called to ask if I was coming and I realized that I’d completely forgotten about it. “Where are you?” she asked. I responded, “I’m so sorry, I just got into the house. I didn’t have a chance to…” She flipped out, “Whatever, I don’t have time for this. Everything is about you and the one time I choose a place for us to go, you don’t come. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling.” She hung up.

I was floored. How could someone I’d put my all into, several times, speak to me like this? I couldn’t even begin to list the sacrifices that I’d made and I’d never asked for anything in return.

I took a long deep breath and did something that I’d been meaning to do for months: I texted a long goodbye. She took in the message and responded the day afterwards, “Fine, if that’s what you want, but I don’t see what I did wrong.”

I was discouraged for a few days, but as weeks passed by I realized that a burden started to lift. The courage it took to send that text message took off. I immediately removed a few girls who had similar idiosyncrasies from my social networks and phonebook.

A few noticed and emailed to ask where we’d gone wrong but I didn’t feel like I had to give people who made no attempt at a reciprocated friendship an explanation.

One of the most important lessons that we’ll ever learn is that some friends are seasonal. Another lesson: For every friend we let go, there’ll be someone that enters your life that depicts exactly what you’ve been looking for in a comrade. I’ve recently started a friendship with a co-worker that has mutual interests. Although we both have our flaws, we never fail to check in on one another. She’s teaching me exactly what acquaintanceship truly looks like. I’m blindsided by it everyday.

The toxicity of others will consume. Last year, I had to make some of the most pivotal decisions I’ve ever made, but I’m so much lighter because of it. You deserve so much more in a confidant. Don’t let decades defend disrespect.

“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.


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  • coco

    Thank you for this..I recently had to let go of a few people like this as well..but after reading this I realize that I was doing the same thing to someone whom I love and cherish dearly..And although he hurt me in the past (ex hubby)…I have no right to downplay the Blessings God has given him..I own my jealousy and it’s most definitely self check and self reflection time..Thank you so much for this..God Bless 🙂

  • clove8canela

    Thanks for this. I’ve wondered if people have gone through similar experiences. I recently “broke up” with a friend of mine of 16 yrs because her selfish, inconsiderate, self-centered behavior had finally gone too far. I can’t wait to say its been years since I’ve spoken to her. Over the past 3 years, she’s just become a source of negative energy & I definitely needed to rid that from my life. I wish her well, and hope she finds the peace she needs.

  • mac

    Stuff like this is why I’m extremely wary of female friendships, I’m sorry. Vote down all you want.

    Anyway author, this was a very good piece. Hope to see more of your stuff on the site.

  • eb

    This artilce is the truth.

  • Meyaka

    I ended a ten year long friendship last year,lets just say the persons scandalous behavior wasn’t restricted to other people.

  • Lala

    “I’m happy that your happy”, “His kids don’t even look like him”, “Did you pray about moving in with him”, “If you do break up, I’m sure it would be a great time to reinvent yourself”, and the list goes on……these words coming from my former bestie of 30+yrs after my and my s/o decided to move and buy a house together. As long as I was dating a loser, she was supportive, but the moment she realized that I won the lotto with this one, the shade began almost instantly. What worse is that he was ready to remodel part of our home so that she could have a place to stay (her home is in forclosure and he wanted to get her out before they forced her out – that’s the kind of man I have!!). What ever happened to being happy for someone and catching them if they fall?

  • Bee

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just recently had to let go of a 25 year friendship. I deleted her and a couple of others that had the same characteristics from Facebook and was called immature for doing that. But I realize in order for me to be who I am supposed to be, I must let go of anyone that is toxic in their thinking and actions.

  • Lana

    I had to do this a year ago. It was very hard because I’d known this person for 15 years she had always seemed to have a chip on her shoulder but I made excuses when she treated me harshly. I felt like this author; I was supportive but she would constantly complained about how ‘no one’ ever helped her. The last straw was when she did not show up to my wedding and sent me a text about how unsupportive I am to her. I sent a farewell text and it was hard but I needed it for my sanity.

  • guest

    I had to let me friend of over 25 yrs go. I gave her the shirt off my back and she betrayed me told things I had told her in secret. Even put me down to my own sister I let her know in no uncertain terms that are friendship was over. She had the nerve to act like she didn’t know what she had did wrong. I told her if you don’t know that’s even sadder. It has now been almost six years since this happen. And I know everyday I made the right choice to cut her out of my life.

  • Ooh La La

    I understand where you’re coming from. I recently had to do that to a former friend. I just noticed she was acting hostile toward me in ways that I felt were undeserved. She would say the snide comments, purposely avoided me, wasn’t supportive, etc. She had to go. I realized I have to many genuine friends who are good to me to just allow someone to have that title undeservingly. I feel lighter without that baggage.