A month ago I had the unfortunate displeasure of breaking up with a friend. Not a lover but a friend in the platonic sense. It hurt me that what was once a beautiful, committed, unconditional friendship with someone I still like had to end. Unfortunately, not all friendships are meant to last forever. I must add, however, this decision on my part was actually one of the healthiest choices I have ever made.

What is the definition of friendship? The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (8thEdition) defines friendship as “a relationship between friends: a close/lasting/lifelong friendship” ~ the feeling or relationship that friends have.”  My definition of friendship is considering another person’s well-being to be as valuable as your own. If we marry these definitions we can conclude that a mutual and devoted feeling of a lasting relationship is what really makes a friendship.

In this article, I would like to share my breakup letter to a friend. I do not want to go into the nitty grittiness of good versus bad friendships, confusions, delusions or the signs of the breakdown of friendship. I am not a psychologist.

The following is the breakup letter I sent to my ex-friend. A Dear John letter one might say…..

“What I have to say cannot or rather its efficacy is better-said face to face rather than via text.” To set the scene, I had first called two days previously (no answer) then sent this SMS two days later.  There was no response after three hours so I proceeded with the following:

“I hope you are well. I wanted to do this face to face but it seems that is not possible. I respect you and like you so I think it’s best for both of us to find closure without leaving gray areas that may stress or embarrass us.

To be honest I got a bad vibe when I wished you a happy birthday. It was almost as if I was disturbing you. In the past, I always wished you a happy birthday on this day but this time the reception was different, a bit cold even.

Change is a natural part of life and in our case, I think it’s pretty obvious that a real friendship has been lacking for at least a year. I never want to be a pest in anyone’s life that is why I choose clarity in these types of situations. For instance, I wouldn’t want to turn up at your house and perhaps make you nervous or unsure of how to get rid of me. Perhaps you have been hoping for a while that I would get the “let me be” message but I have not.

It can be pretty stressful to want someone to disappear from your life and yet there they are just hanging on. You would really think you made it clear, believe me I know, I went through that with someone until finally, I picked up the courage to tell them nicely that we are not compatible. They are no hard feelings.

To be frank, we have not been important to each other for a while. We don’t even know what is going on in each others’ lives. My father in law passed away last week and I didn’t even think to tell you.  In the past, you would be the first person I would contact. I have been feeling like you really don’t want me in your life and out of respect for you, l am making it easier for both of us so that there is no pretence. However, I think to be on civil terms as acquaintances would good. It’s possible that we may run into each other at some point and I would like to prevent any awkwardness.

In my case, there is also the issue of the children. When they ask about seeing you or visiting I don’t know what to say because I don’t know if we are welcome. If there is clarity then it makes everything easier. No guesswork, awkwardness, excuses, stress, frustration or seeking advice from others on how to deal with the problem. In other words no worries.

I accept that people change and friendships change. And that’s okay. It’s hard to pretend that things are just the way they were. I think we are different people now. I think we are both good people but clearly we are moving in different directions. Perhaps now it is not best for us to be in each other’s space. Maybe in the future, it will change but for now, it just seems fake and strange. I guess I am Dutch now, and I like to be direct and honest. I just want a clear head. Life is too short. My father in law’s death and my mom’s battle with her health has made me feel this even more.

I wanted to have a chat with you in person about everything because this is one-sided and I would have liked to state a little bit more. Anyway, at the end of the day, I really like you and you have been amazing to our family. For that I thank you. I would appreciate a response but if I do not get one I will take that to mean the matter is concluded. Again, I wish you well.”

 

Suffice to say, I did not get a response and in that, I got my answer. I felt a huge sense of relief after this. It also gave me a feeling of empowerment and put me in a healthier place. It is demeaning and disempowering to keep on ingratiating yourself into the life of someone who does not seem to care. I refuse to be a trailing donkey (sorry donkeys). I accept not being a priority but I think communication lines should always be open. I have friends that I have not seen in years but our friendship is strong because we communicate and are interested in being in each others’ lives.  I am proud to know who my real friends are. It took me a long time to realise that sometimes it is best to break relations and do it peacefully. The truth is, I have many acquaintances, associates and good people in my life but you can count my real friends on one hand. These are the ones I can call in the middle of the night and they will answer. Can you say the same? If not, you may want to start the culling process. Remember, the fewer people you know the less BS you get.

 

By Edna Kuipers

 

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Edna Kuipers

Edna Kuipers is an International Human Rights and International Crimes lawyer. After studying law in Botswana she went on to work as a civil litigator and family lawyer. Although she is of Tanzanian origin, she has spent most of her life in Botswana where she met her Dutch husband. Together they moved to the Netherlands where she obtained a Masters in International Crimes and Criminology. She then went on to work for Africa Legal Aid in The Hague. Edna Kuipers considers herself a world citizen having lived and worked in several countries and associating herself with people from all continents. She is founder, manager, writer and editor at foreignpointers.com. She is also a wife, mother of two boys, businesswoman, freelancer and juggles this with travel, reading, networking and volunteer work when possible. You can follow her experiences, knowledge and opinions on the blog/magazine foreignpointers.com.
Edna Kuipers