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You and Jen generally meet for drinks or dinner to try to catch up. You start to notice Jen seems irritable with you. She changes the subject when you talk about your life; especially family which is a pretty big part of your life these days. You try to understand. It's been hard. You ask about the adoption process. You find yourself listening a lot more than talking when you see Jen. You try to talk more but Jen starts to zing you. You tell a story about your son's bad behavior. She wonders if you're being a bad parent. You tell her about a promotion at work and she tells you it had been too long since your last one. You try harder. You share money worries. She tells you to be "less about money." You protest, she discounts your feelings. Put downs, sarcasm and plain mean girl zingers. You leave dinner feeling tired, even exhausted. Didn't you used to feel energized?
Seeing Jen becomes something you start to dread. But you've been friends so long. And you don't see her that often anyway. Its a stage, you tell yourself.. You try to talk to her. Is something wrong? You don't seem happy... She tells you, you've changed, not for the good. She lists character flaws. You admit you have changed... but will she admit she's changed too? Nope. She starts to lecture you about how you're just not as nice as you used to be. You find you are getting angry. You say something mean, something you regret. You apologize. You change the subject. The evening ends awkwardly.
Now what? How do you decide whether to see Jen again? I have some straight forward advice. Don't overthink! Friendships can go through periods of closeness and distance. Is Jen a friend to you right now? No. Did you try, however badly to talk it through without success? Yes. You may want to be her support. She isn't going to let you. You don't want to be the person who says mean things back. Try seeing her with other people. Try not seeing her for a while. Reconnect and check in. Maybe some day in the future, you will talk it through. Maybe you'll drift apart.
Why? Because you are a busy person, raising children, having a relationship, a job. You and I mean all of us, need someone who is a true friend. Remember when Jen would cheer when you were successful? remember when she would listen to you talk about your boss and your partner? Remember when you knew all about her struggles, supported her and felt her support in return? You were good for her. She was good for you.
This is a Important point For whatever reason, ( try not to spend too much time figuring that out) that's not what this friendship is now. Accept the change. Have compassion for her struggle. Hope the friendship will come back at some point. Because for you to continue to get hurt, to hurt back, to have a story about the all the mean things Jen said to you, is not good for you. Or her. And it's a serious waste of all the energy you need to have for the people who truly love and need you. It's called self care. Take care of yourself.
Sometimes, friendships end. Try on gratitude and compassion here. Sadness and forgiveness. Reach into your core values to make sense of the loss. Talk it through with friends and family. It's hard to lose a friend.