A couple of years ago, I got into an ENORMOUS fight with one of my best friends, Mike. I'll take some responsibility for what happened, but only 30%. The remaining 70% rests completely with him. And his inability to let me do things outside of our friendship. I think he viewed me more as a boyfriend than as a friend. I didn't. Mostly because we never dated, kissed or had sex. But there he was, doing what he wanted whenever he wanted as he pleased. He was out with everybody. His social calendar was full, to say the least. He was becoming more of a drug addict, sex addict and alcoholic. He didn't want my help. He didn't want to change. And I didn't want to change him. So I moved on. He didn't like that. So he chose to criticize me about everything in my life: my job, my apartment, my taste in men, my dating habits, my clothes, my car, my family, the way I conducted myself in public. You get the picture.
So I ditched him.
Fast forward five years. Mike and I ran into each other at the gym.
"You got really muscular," he said.
"You got really fat," I said.
We exchanged really awkward small talk and then he left.
Fast forward two years. I'm out at a bar with a friend when I ran into Richard, a mutual friend of Mike and mine. Richard and I got together and dished the dirt. We talked about Mike and what he was up to and his perception of what went on between us and the mistakes that he made and the mistakes that I made. While it was obvious that Richard didn't have the whole story, it was also obvious that he was interested in mending the tears of my relationship with Mike. He wants us to get together for a barbecue.
Breaking up with friends is not like breaking up with boyfriends. In many ways, it's more difficult. The emotional investment with friends is not what it is with boyfriends. So when things go south in a romantic relationship, it's evident and the problem rarely goes unnoticed. Contrarily, we can often mistake tough love for shitty friendship. Consequently, we often put up with more from our friends than we do with our lovers or boyfriends.
But how do we determine when a friendship is not worth pursuing anymore? Granted people change, evolve, grow. Or they don't. And when two people are not on the same course in their relationship, romantic, professional, cordial or otherwise, that's when problems occur. My friendship with Mike was at an impasse; we were not growing in the same directions anymore. And now, here we are, seven years later, our paths are crossing again all thanks to Richard.
It'll be interesting to see how the barbecue goes.