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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

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. The cost of friendship is whatever it will cost to replace your old friend with a new one. 🙂


    Jul 28, 2008
  2. That’s a heavy one. Something similar happened to me many years ago, except I never even got an explanation. My final take on it was we can never judge because our references and experiences are our own and we can only try to feel how the other person is feeling. We have to accept it and move on and be grateful for the good parts of the relationship which we had.
    I have actually removed myself from other people’s lives because for me it was just not a healthy place to be. I had to do it for myself, even if it hurt the other person. Sometimes, after much time has passed, I have been able to have those people re enter my life but it has had to be under different circumstances. I have never regretted those decisions and I am a healthier, happier person because of it.


    Jul 28, 2008
  3. For me friendship (like so many other things) comes down to integrity. If I feel like I have to be somebody I don’t want to be (violate my own integrity) in order to be friends with somebody, then I consciously withdraw.
    A couple of times I’ve had friends snub me at big, important occasions such as not coming to my Danish “we just got married” party. With another friend I noticed that it was always me who was taking the initiative to get together. In all cases I told them straight that I thought this was lousy, and that I’d like to see them make up for it. If they didn’t, then I felt that they had now chosen to give up on me. I don’t want to be somebody’s friend if they’re not my friend.
    I don’t know what the disagreement is between you and your friend. My most recent BFF and I were in wild disagreement on politics, and after a couple of big fights about it we figured out to avoid the topic, and then we got along great. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice, it felt like a relief.


    Jul 28, 2008
  4. @JohnChow *big grin* : spoken like the true entrepreneur that you are. You’re right of course – at this point, it’s about the future and all the possibilities that lie ahead. Thanks for dropping by!

    @MJ Yeah, thankfully I’ve been able to interpret it all fairly objectively, ie., that my friend’s experience just wasn’t my experience. The gap between the two experiences is pretty wide though, so it’s hard not to wonder “am I crazy?”. I don’t think so … but it’s confusing.

    @Jan I’d be a little choked if a friend didn’t attend a major life event too! I completely agree re: integrity. The tricky part comes when we balance between “I am, who I am” v. being willing to be influenced by another person (eg. the Late Friend example. Could she have taken ownership and been willing to figure out how to be on time?). I think your nuance is important – not to violate “who I Want to be”.


    Jul 29, 2008
  5. Oh Nancy, I’m so sorry. That is so heartbreaking… It’s awful to be written off – especially when you see the “issue” as not a big deal and your friend sees it differently. The email “breakup” is particularly hurtful because it’s so one-sided, dismissive and cowardly, but it was unfortunately, it’s also easiest way for her to have done it, so…

    As for the relationship, I wonder what you wrote back. I imagine you mentioned how hurt you were and how you saw things. Perhaps after some time without you, your friend will see how much she misses you.

    I recently read something (in Oprah or the like) about salvaging relationship under a similar situation as you described – I tried to find it, but to no avail. (This one is OK for advice, though http://tinyurl.com/5rck5l )



    Jul 29, 2008
  6. @monica Hugs received, and appreciated! I’m intrigued by the Oprah story, and may spend time hunting for it myself. I opted not to write back – I honestly wouldn’t know what to say, and I’m respecting the friend’s request for it to.be.over. But as @John Chow said, there are new friends … among them really funny, warm bloggers 🙂 🙂


    Jul 29, 2008

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