Are You Losing A Friend Or Gaining An Enemy?
It's easy to forget how important friendships are. Many extend beyond our personal lives into careers and family relationships. This makes the idea of ending a friendship a very complicated matter that requires careful consideration.
It's easy to forget how important friendships are. Many extend beyond our personal lives into careers and family relationships. Having a friendship with someone may also involve a grouping of people set in a social circle. All this makes the idea of ending a friendship a very complicated matter that requires careful consideration.
Some friendships end or are put on hold because people relocate and lose touch over time. Many of these relationships are not really ended, but mutually postponed until a time when the participants choose to reconnect. Friendships that end on a sour note are an entirely different story.
Friendships that end badly usually do so because one party feels the other has somehow stepped over an imaginary line and wronged them. A situation like this can quickly spin out of control, ruin the lives of both parties and involve anyone who might be on the sidelines. So before you buy a voodoo doll likeness of your ex-friend and start sticking in the pins, let's take a step back and see what can be done.
American society has become socially complicated. Relationships of all kinds have crossed family and job barriers to become a large part of our social standing and ability to interact. Social relationships that do not directly involve romantic or family considerations are usually split into these categories:
-You sit next to someone at school or work and greet each other.
-You exchange conversations with this person on a regular basis.
-You have brief social interactions with them through school, work or mutual friends or acquaintances.
-You socialize on a regular basis with each other and in social groups.
-You plan events or vacations together. -You visit one another at home and enjoy spending time together.
You can't really end a cordial interaction or relationship, because such associations have no set level of involvement to begin with. It these cease, it's usually because you no longer have availability to the person or people you were interacting with. The only exception would be to cease contact because of a disagreement, an unwanted advance or unwelcome attempt to build a firmer relationship. Friendships are a different story.
Having friends means being involved in a social responsibility. You are expected to think and act in ways that contribute to a friendship or grouping of friends. If you think of friendship as anything less then a social responsibility and commitment, you aren't getting it! Friendships should never be jeopardized except for dire reasons. Before you make a life-changing decision to cross a friend or group of friends, think of the consequences. Your actions will likely make you an outcast and cause a number of people to experience a lot of problems. But the biggest recipient of trouble will probably be you.
Ex-friends who have been wronged can quickly become very powerful enemies. That's because they probably know you well enough and have access to a sufficient number of your social interactions to cause you huge trouble! It won't just be one against one, but many against you. I have seen more then my share of battling ex-friend situations where people didn't just have to leave their jobs, but the state to get some relief. Don't be fooled, it can get even worse then that.
If you're not prepared to deal with the consequences of friendship, don't get involved in these relationships. If you're already involved in friendships, think before you act. Before you risk a friendship over a promotion, romance or other reasons, think of the problems you will create for yourself and others. If you have made the mistake of crossing a friend, it's time to do some serious soul searching.
People who become seriously involved with others in relationships that don't involve romance or intimacy always take the chance of ending up with a friend or enemy for life. This is something you should consider before entering into such an association. If you're willing to take the risk, then you must be prepared for times when stress is placed on that relationship. Bad decisions, new people or outside circumstances can place a lot of stress on friendships.
Time usually cures situations where the addition of new people or outside circumstances places stress on a friendship. Events tend to take their course and friends will either become closer, remain the same or agreeably drift apart. But if you've done something to negatively affect a friendship, you should seriously consider taking any actions needed to correct that.
There are times when people make mistakes that cause their friends problems. In some cases a sincere apology is all that's needed. These usually involve a slip of the tongue or some minor breach of etiquette like being late or missing a planned meeting. These are things that people don't tend to take personally. All that changes if you have interfered in an intimate relationship, taken sides against them or caused your friend serious problems by a deliberate action. Fixing situations like that may require correction and compensation.
Perception is everything in a friendship. You don't always have to be wrong to get in trouble with a pal. Dating mutual friends can lead to the perception that one of you has 'stolen' a potential mate from the other. You can either stop seeing that person or risk ending your relationship with a friend. Sometimes you may have to accept temporary responsibility for being wrong, even if you're right! Time will probably shed light on the situation so that you're vindicated and your friend sees the truth. Saving a friendship by accepting blame in the short term, can pay off big in the long term. If a pattern develops where you are consistently accused or blamed for things not your fault, it's time to confront the accuser and get out of that relationship.
Anger is usually fueled by indifference. If you have wronged a friend and they believe you don't care, refuse to talk about it or make any attempt at correction, you can expect the worst from them. People hate to be ignored, especially by those who have caused them problems. Ear some crow by sitting down and discussing the situation. Ask what you can do to make things right? Don't insist on an immediate answer, but allow the harmed party to think about it. As times goes by and anger subsides, the solution may be far less costly or complicated the first believed.
Never leave things unsettled. Friends may secretly hold grudges against those who have wronged them. If you have to, insist on some sort of mutually acceptable settlement that meets the criteria for the offense committed. Do all you can to work things out before things spin out of control. If you've been wrong by a friend, attempt to talk it out with them and come to a solution. Many things can cause a good friendship to turn bad and most of them are fixable. Having an ex-friend become an enemy for life isn't something that most of us are ready to deal with.