They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it’s true
We’ve all been there…when the object of your affection somehow becomes the object of your infuriation, the object of your annoyance, the object of your irritation. It doesn’t happen with a bang, more like a sigh. The formerly-adorable gesture of scratching his rotund belly after a full meal becomes the most vile behavior you’ve ever seen. His cute little habit of leaving the top off of the toothpaste is grounds for murder. No longer does the sight of him make you melt; instead, it makes you claw your own skin off, you feel so uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, whatever the impetus, it’s inevitable – you have to break up.
Breaking up with a significant other is never fun, but barring the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ conversations, there’s usually a reason and years later, when exercising your 20/20 vision of hindsight, you realize it was worth it. Yes, you go through the depression, the anger, the eating of entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s (or Jake’s Ice Cream for those Atlantans) in one sitting, but slowly, surely, the ache drains away from your heart and one day, amazingly, it’s gone. You’ve survived, and can go off to begin the cycle yet again.
Yes, breakups I know. Breakups I’ve survived. Yet it’s not the typical breakup that I want to discuss today, it’s the quandary involved when you want to break up with a friend.
Friendships come about in many ways. There’s the girl you met on the first day of Elementary school who you thought looked like a brown-haired Little Orphan Annie that became your life-long best friend. There’s your college roommates who talked you through many nights of homesickness, doused you with perfume and made you put in your contacts the first time a boy called late night to come over for a ‘chat’, the people that you share post-work beers with, griping about your coworkers, the drudgery of your job, and how it would be so much easier to just hit your annoying officemate in the head with a stapler than hear him talk about ‘staying on the same page’ one more time. These people in your life, they’re special, but at times, you realized that some friendships have served their purpose and it’s time to come to an end. But how?
I’ve got the boy-breakup down-pat. The strategies, the statements, the clichéd reasons why it’s just not going to work out. But when it comes to friends, I’m smack out of ideas. I’m not good with confrontation; moreover, I avoid it like I avoid doing more work than necessary. Yet there comes a time when you realize that your ‘friend’ is actually more work than it’s worth, more frustration than friendship. When you spend more time wondering how to get out of an obligation with the person, spend more time complaining about the fact that his or her attitude is nothing if not energy-sucking and depressing, spend more time contemplating telling him/her off, you know you need to make a clean break. And it’s never easy.
As in romantic relationships, there’s basically two options. You can choose the honesty route, telling the person that it’s over, stating your reasons (true or otherwise), and going your separate ways. Or you could do what I advised my friend about when he wanted to ditch his gal…slowly fade away. Though all girls hate when there’s no closure, no measurable ending, no exact reasons why it didn’t work out, this tried and true method is well-known enough that after a few weeks of no emails or calls, they get the picture. Same with friend breakups.
The whole situation, however you want to spin it, sucks. Makes me wish for Brutally Honest Aubrey days with no repercussions, where, with Brandy & Monica’s song playing in the background, you can say “Step off, Bitch” with a clear conscience.
Or something like that.