I wish I could say I write this article with happy spirits, but it’s been a tough week. This week I had the unpleasant duty of ending a friendship. A guy who I met when I was playing Dracula became really close friends with me and we had a good friendship and even came to consider each other as unofficially brothers. I wish I could say this story has a happy ending, but life isn’t a fairytale or a Disney film. The last couple of months had taken a toll on our friendship and I had become very clingy. With my disability, as well as my anxiety and depression, it is hard sometimes when it comes to social situations. I know how I have talked about how we should accept and treat our autism like a gift. There are times however, where my disability feels more like a curse than a gift. This is one of those times. One of the unspoken desires of autistic people is to have friends. Yes, being accepted into society is great and super important, but more than that is the desire to be loved and wanted. So I take it much harder than most when I lose a friendship because in my mind I feel like that is one less person who wants me. I’m not so upset about losing a friendship as I am with the knowledge that I am the one who caused it. I meant no harm in my actions and had every good intention, but I was still extremely clingy and smothering and I knew that this wasn’t healthy to be in this friendship so me and this person had a conversation and we both decided that it was best to end things between us. We acknowledged that we still loved each other as brothers in Christ and always would, but that this friendship was not feasible so we parted ways with some animosity, but little resentment. Though I am satisfied that I got closure, I am still devastated and feel like the villain at times. Maybe it’s because I’ve never actually been in a romantic relationship before, but I find that ending a friendship can be sometimes worse than ending a relationship. When you end a relationship, you at least have your friend to vent to. But if you lose your friendship, then what? It is a horrific and painful feeling, but it is survivable. For those who have gone through what I’ve gone through and for those who may be going through what I’m going through currently, I hope these tips bring you hope.
- Seek forgiveness: depending on the severity of the situation, forgiveness will come easy from the other party. I’m fortunate that the person I have wronged has forgiven me, but that is unfortunately not always the case. Sometimes forgiveness and closure won’t come to you. That is when you must do your best to forgive yourself. No one is unworthy of forgiveness. If God could forgive Paul and use him for his glory, then you are no less worthy of being pardoned for your transgressions.
- Realize that you are not evil: we all fail, we are all human. It may sound easy to say, but it is hard to believe and acknowledge when you are being eaten alive by guilt. But you must realize that you are not evil. Aside from a few handful of people I can name from history- Adolf Hitler, Vlad Dracula Tepes, H.H. Holmes, etc…-I don’t think anyone is truly evil at heart. We are all fundamentally good people. Please try to realize that. As I said, I do feel like a villain in this situation because it was my actions that led to this unraveling, but I need to stop that. A villain is someone who’s actions are done merely out of malice or spite. In this scenario, I wasn’t so much the villain as I was an antihero. That is someone who is good at heart and means well, but who’s actions aren’t always morally correct. Even though I have failed this friendship, and this person, I must still realize that I’m still good at heart. That is easier said than done, but I’m trying.
- Find closure: for you to move on, there must first be closure. Again, I was fortunate that even tense though it was, there was still closure between this person and I. Not everyone is lucky. My best advice would be to write a note as though it were addressed to that person but don’t send it. And in that note, write down your feelings and sadness and thoughts and everything you want to say to that person. At least in a way, you are finding closure in your heart even if the other person didn’t provide you with any.
4. Cut off contact: it is impossible to move forward if you are still trying to stay in the loop. Even though it is difficult and tempting, I have not reached out to this person since we said our final goodbyes because he told me not to and also it would kind of defeat the purpose. I also unfriended and unfollowed him on all social media and deleted his number. Not because I hate him, but because having to see his posts and see him live his life knowing that I can’t be in it anymore would be unbearable and I can’t punish myself and endure that pain.
5. Be around those that love you: just because you lost one friend doesn’t mean you have lost all friends. The person who I lost my friendship with is from a city an hour away from me and somewhere that I never go to, so it’s a bit easier to cope. However, my supply of friends here is abundant. So I am doing my best to focus and strengthen those relationships.
6. occupy your time and treat yo self:
what is the best way to make you feel
better? Why the answer is elementary, dear Watson. Do what you love to do! And do things that you know you need to do. Try a new hobby, finish an old hobby. The world is vast and every opportunity is open to you.
7. Let yourself grieve: it is ok to feel sad. There have been times the past couple of days where I’ve burst into tears, I even got the attention of one of my coworkers when I was crying. I will probably cry tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. That is ok. It is ok not to be ok. Losing a close friendship is never easy and you are allowed and even implored to grieve and cry and watch Disney while eating a carton of ice cream (oh…that’s just me? Ok). You have every right to feel as sad as you need to feel.
- 8: talk: talk to those closest to you and explain everything. Keeping your emotions bottled up will only rot you away from the inside.
- 9.have compassion and understanding: have compassion for the other person and understanding towards their decision.
10. learn this pain and become better from it: just like when you accidentally touch a hot stove and it burns and you vow never to do that again, so you must you learn from this move on and better yourself from this. And just realize that God closed this door for a reason.
I hope this helps. God bless.