It’s the last few hours of my birthday. I drop my head on my pillow and think about the great friends and family who thought enough of me to text, call, or email their well wishes as I enter into another year. I also think about how the number of people I heard from today is significantly smaller than last year and the year prior. But I’m okay with it; we all know it’s about quality, not quantity.
Rolling over onto my side, I get more comfortable and it dawns on me that I didn’t hear from one person in particular today. I’ve heard from this person every year on this day, for as long as I can remember.
But I know why she didn’t reach out to me today. The last six months of our friendship has been nonexistent. Simply put, I stopped talking to her. I had to stop.
Her constant negative outlook on life slowly oozed into my subconscious every time we spoke. But it wasn’t like this in the beginning. She used to be fun, full of life, super out-going–the perfect opposite to my introverted personality. But when she got married things changed. Her spouse is a great person, but the daily struggles that come along with being a wife, a mother, and dealing with grown-up stuff really did a number on my friend’s outlook on life.
Our phone conversations were full of laughs about everything from memes on Instagram to foolishness on TV. Then gradually all she talked about was what and who she hated. I always allowed her to vent, taking it all in and offering feedback as any good friend would.
But it all gradually started to take a toll on me. At first I found myself starting to look at things the same way she did, thinking: ‘I’ll have a bad experience as a wife and mother too. I’m going to want to fight and cuss out various people in any setting for seemingly no reason, like her?’
My new demeanor had me thinking everything was dumb and stupid. If someone did or said something that was different from what I felt was right, I rolled my eyes and silently judged them. My attitude was horrible. I had turned into my friend without even being mindful of it.
Becoming aware of my bad attitude made me check myself. I’d started progressing in the right direction and wanted to help my friend too. But I would run directly into a brick wall anytime I spoke to her.
I didn’t have the heart to come straight out and tell her about herself; so I dropped hints. I would suggest that maybe if she stopped assuming the worst, good would happen. I told her that when problems arose, working toward a solution would work better than complaining. But she didn’t agree. Her negativity became worse and I had to make a change.
At the start of this year I decided to call her less and would pick and choose when to answer or return her calls and texts. When we would talk I would cut the conversation as soon as it became negative. After about a month or so, she seemed to get the message. I did text for her birthday, but never received a response. And I was okay with that.
Here I am two months later, also okay with the fact that she didn’t contact me for my birthday. Removing her from my life was and is still hard. I miss my friend.
But I am at peace when I fall asleep at night. I know I made the right choice for me, when I stopped talking to her. I owe it to myself to be happy and stress-free. And I hope one day she makes the same choice for herself.
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