Wondering what brought on a rush of emotions the other night, my husband wiped a few of my tears and gently asked me what was wrong. My feelings were deeply hurt when I reviewed a text history with a friend. I realized that I was the one texting. I was the one asking questions. I was the one initiating every interaction we had. I continued to put in the effort and hadn’t caught on that the effort wasn’t appreciated. That the effort hadn’t been appreciated in quite some time.
I wish I could say that this is the first time it has happened to me. That it was the only time I shed a tear over a friendship when I realized it had played its course. After drying my own tears, I fondly remembered what my mom had said more than once when I was growing up. “Never chase anyone. I don’t care if it is a friend or a boy. Some relationships are meant to last. Some, for only a short while. When you learn who will stay, hold on to them.”
I think my mom knew a little about relationships playing their course. She had watched friends come and go. She had also grieved as she experienced her marriage to my dad crumble. A personality larger than life, she was driven, focused and sometimes too much to take in. People felt overwhelmed by her. But I realize now as an adult, that the relationships my mom lost, said more about the person who walked away than it ever did about her.
When someone loves another person fiercely, it can be scary and often disarming. What if a person was hurt, even expected to be hurt, and built up a few walls of protection in the meantime? When all that love is directed at someone, it can be overwhelming. And usually, when people are overwhelmed, they either shut down or flee. And flee was what I saw people do when it came to my mom. No longer answering phone calls, not available to hang out or meet for a quick meal. And eventually, that friend, that person who was once so close, was a fond memory.
Never chase anyone. I always listened to my mom. Well, I usually listened to my mom. I won’t chase. But I also won’t fall apart. I will miss my friend. I will miss texting, our late-night laughs, our giggles and catching up over coffee. Our meals that turn into 2 then 3 and 4 hours long. But I will never disturb them again.
And what if another text is received? What if an attempt is made to contact me? I will love them like I always have, I will remember fondly a friendship that was important to me. But I will remember the feeling of being avoided and move on. I will move on to the relationships that encourage me, to the relationships that restore me. The relationships that I plan on continuing to treasure.