When Someone Exits Your Life, Remember This...
Click to tweet:
I don’t like endings.
In fact, I deplore them.
Even if I’m really not getting on with someone, I still want them close at hand, because then I can kid myself that all is well.
This is likely why I’m still friends with so many exes (much to the chagrin of many of my nearest & dearest).
I just find it really hard to accept that you can be so closely intertwined with someone one minute, and practically strangers the next.
I’ve always believed that life carries different souls to us at different times – either to teach us something, or to help us experience deeper levels of joy, love and connection.
But the sad truth is, not everyone’s meant to stay there – at least, not indefinitely.
I’ve had my heart cracked open on many occasions over the (seemingly premature) departure of someone I cherish from my life.
And, as hideous as romantic break-ups and separations are, uncoupling (consciously or otherwise) from platonic friendships can devastate me to equally startling degrees.
My longing to connect with people on an intense, almost cellular level has been both the making and the breaking of me over the years;
When I was little, I had countless ‘best friends.’
I revelled in feeling like my companionship was superior to that of others, like we had a bond and understanding of each other that no one outside of our little unit could touch.
Fucking codependent, I know.
Whilst such friendships had no sexual dimension to them, the level of intimacy was so profound that, when the friendship drifted or ended, their absence felt (to use an old cliché..) like losing a limb.
The other day, my business coach Lucy Sheridan shared something with me that’s helped me re-interpret a particular friendship dynamic which has shifted significantly in the last few years.
She said, “Perhaps you’re just in the middle of the ‘diamond’ with this person right now…”
By that, she meant that the friendship had previously been close, was currently distant, but also had the potential to come back together later on – like the outline of a diamond shape: <> (sorry, the best image I can muster up on Word – but you get the idea).
Interestingly, I’ve experienced this exact process in another of my friendships recently, too.
My old friend Katy came in to my life when I was thirteen/ fourteen – which coincided with a lot of firsts for me: first foray in to the world of alcopops & weed, first visit to Camden, first time having sex…
By the time we hit sixth form, we’d already started to drift out of each other’s lives – not because we didn’t get on, just because the dynamic of our friendship group had shifted (plus she had a shit of a boyfriend who liked to keep her all to himself - or at least that’s how it seemed to me).
We briefly came back in to each other’s lives when she got married in her early twenties.
Alas, I was in my most sabotaging and self-destructive phase at the time, which unfortunately saw me very nearly ruin her wedding day in Lake Tahoe after I contracted alcohol poisoning the day before the ceremony, and narrowly missed vomiting all over her white dress by about three inches.
Katy stayed out in Tahoe with her new husband for that year, and, feeling deeply ashamed and embarrassed by my behaviour at their wedding (the alco-poisoning was the mere tip of the iceberg), I didn’t make all that much effort to sustain the friendship.
However, a whole seven years later, and life serendipitously carried us back towards each other via another mutual friend’s wedding.
(Ah, weddings; both the creator and destroyer of relationships).
After updating each other on the last few years, it quickly became apparent that Katy and I were in very similar places in our lives and had lots in common nowadays (it helped too that our other halves developed an instantaneous bromance).
It’s been so wonderful having Katy back in my life recently, that a large part of me’s really livid with myself for all the missed time.
But, then again, as my friend - the brilliant writer Daisy Buchanan says in her book ‘How To Be A Grown Up’, there’s no point offering advice or regretting anything that involves time travel; what’s past is utterly unchangeable, much better to just accept and learn from it and make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in right now.
In which case, I’ve vowed to stop lamenting or begrudging the few friendships that are currently posited at the furthest points of the diamond.
Maybe life will carry these people back to me, maybe it won’t.
But one thing’s for sure:
If you have to force or manipulate a person to stay (or return) to your life, the dynamic is clearly not at its most balanced and would no doubt benefit from some time and space – at least until you both feel an equal desire to re-establish the connection.
And if that day does arrive? (- And you’ll know it when it does because it’ll happen organically of its own accord without any engineering on your part…)
Then, I encourage you to welcome them back in to your life with open arms, just like the father in the biblical parable ‘The Prodigal Son’.
In other words, celebrate the fact they’re back, don’t berate or over-analyse why they went away.
With hindsight you might find that the space was the key to bringing you closer together.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever been ‘in the diamond’ and then come back together with an old flame or close friend?
Did you find that the dynamic was better or healthier when they returned?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this idea in the comments below :)
All my love,