THE DOMINO EFFECT OF FALLING FRIENDSHIPS

Friendships are part of the bedrock of life.

Even the more casual friendships can bring colour and humour and help with perspective. The banter (the type that is convivial and teasing and not the Yorkshire Cricket Club racist brand), can help us to not take ourselves too seriously and lighten our moods amid the stresses and strains of everyday life.

The deeper, long-term friendships can get us through the rockier periods; grief, physical, emotional and psychological hurt, periods of self-doubt, fear and anxiety. They can also be a voice of balance when we veer too far from reason and into a potential path of harm or self-indulgence.

A good friend is someone we build shared memories with and also share our closest confidences, and is ready to forgive when we occasionally take them for granted or step too far across the boundary. A friendship that encapsulates all of those ingredients is priceless and needs to be cherished.

What happens then when a cherished friendship suddenly gets damaged beyond repair?

Indeed, what happens when, as in my recent experience, three of my friendships implode over a relatively short period of a couple of years?

Have those friendships, all long-term and therefore seemingly strong and familiar, simply all ran their course at coincidentally a similar time?

It’s right to acknowledge straight off, that I am the common denominator in all three cases, and all three friends don’t know one another. Just me. So be free to make up your own mind on that one! But it is a serious jolt to the psyche, to think a trio of invested friendships have all stopped in their tracks.

SHOUT IT OUT OR STEW IN SILENCE?

Only one of my three friendship breakdowns have had the drama of argument, of throwing back the shackles on a to and fro of disagreement to a divide that can’t be bridged.

So is argument better, even if it leads to separation? Does it at least feel as though we were both passionate enough to shout/talk it through? Does that have more value than something that just fades away, or, as in one case, closes the door immediately after an apparent line has been drawn?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Writer Mariam Khan wrote recently in the i Newspaper that during Covid lockdown she lost a long- term friendship not due to a big, anger filled argument but because of a series of small misunderstandings that grew bigger due to not being able to see one another face-to-face in an attempt to talk things through.

And the lack of face-to-face conversations that Covid has enforced has had an increased negative impact on friendships, with the University College of London reporting more than 20% of people have had some kind of relationship breakdown during the pandemic.

THE DESTABILIZING SHIFT

Friendships are built very much on balance. Sometimes that can mean a balance that leans slightly in one direction and it can operate somewhat successfully on that level for years. However, when suddenly, or even gradually, the equilibrium is shifted back even slightly it can expose crack lines beneath the surface that may not have anything directly to do with the friendship but can have a massive impact upon it.

In my experience a movement in one direction can unintentionally cause someone to feel more acutely aware of frustrations in their own life that the friendship had previously served in some way to balance out.

But the notion that anyone’s life needs to stand still or keep quiet about changes and/or progress we make doesn’t serve anybody well. Eventually those changes will out and the relationship can be the casualty.

As I try to reconcile myself with the loss of these friendship’s I am grateful for their place in my life and I don’t regret them for a second. And I am fortunate enough to have other attachments with people that are still standing the test of time.

However I have also become more increasingly aware how quickly things can change, and how much importance should be placed on their preservation.

4 thoughts on “THE DOMINO EFFECT OF FALLING FRIENDSHIPS

  1. Losing a friend through whatever means is never easy. As a logical person who likes reason, I think the hardest ones for me are when someone fades away without any sign. Intuitively, I know they may be having personal issues that don’t have anything to do with me, but we draw our own conclusions without any communication.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree Pete. I think that sometimes those issues are so deeply entrenched they are not open to discussion. But then inadvertently we can say something that exposes them in some way and it’s too uncomfortable for someone to face. This can lead either to an argument or a complete breakdown in communication. It’s a shame either way.

    Like

  3. I agree with what Pete said in that the hardest ones are the ones that fade away, Paul. The pandemic put me in touch with a few friends I hadn’t spoken with for years, yet here I am towards the end of 2021, and those friendships are fading again. The simple thing would be for me to pick up my phone and make that call, yet I find myself saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.’ Tomorrow never arrives. I guess the other party is saying the same thing.

    Years ago, I think we all had a lot more time for friendships. Today’s fast-paced world and social media have changed all of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m finding friendships that have fallen away quite quickly rather than a gradual fade, and this is quite a shock. I do have my share of more casual friendships that I touch in and out of again through texts and social media, but this is arguably a lazy way of keeping things going.

    And you are right, the pace of the world is damaging, taking time out to invest in friendships is also investing in your own well-being.

    Liked by 1 person

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