A week ago today, one of my most trusted, intimate friends wrote me off. For good.
This was no ordinary friendship. I hesitate to use the word “soulmate” which has a slightly ethereal sound to it. I prefer to say this was a “friend of the soul”. The relationship was characterized by mutual regard, transparency and fierce loyalty. This, in addition to intelligent conversation, mutual shared values (!), seeing one another through some extremely tough times, and a hell of a lot of fun over the six years. We’re lucky to encounter this in our lifetime. And I certainly believed with my whole heart that this would last a lifetime.
But there was one aspect of me that bothered my friend, which bothered me, and it would erupt and disrupt repeatedly. Repeatedly, but not chronically.
In my perspective, it was entirely tolerable, and came with the territory of genuine intimacy. If the friendship were a ‘pie chart’, maybe 5% tops would be allocated to this conflicted area. The remainder would filled with, well, the qualities mentioned above.
To my friend’s perspective, it was too much. It exceeded my friend’s ability, much less desire, to see past that to the (in my perspective) weightiness of all that was true and good.
So after six years, I was written off (by e-mail no less).
As you can imagine, after recovering from the initial blow, it has caused significant introspection.
Questions I am grappling with are:
- How is it possible for humans, in all their glory and their mess, to write one another off, ever? (and yet we all, me included, do it routinely in one form or another)
- To what extent do we, as a culture, easily treat one another as disposable? Why is that?
- What is the cost of friendship? What are appropriate measures by which we decide if another human is “worthy” of our ongoing, committed friendship? (I once had a friend who was Always Late – an hour or more. It nearly did us in. Thankfully, I relaxed, she moved to the ‘burbs, and we found other ways to stay connected that didn’t entail me sipping my 10th latte. But what if it hadn’t improved? Would I have written her off?)
So now I suppose I will go through the stages of grief. But the questions haunt me: what is the cost of friendship? How is it possible to write off a person? a person?
photo credit: megyarsh