I was talking to my Dad this morning on the phone on my way to the gym about a friend whom I have known since I was 13. Our friendship has changed. It seems to be out of date and not working anymore. You know those friends where you reach out to them on their birthdays because it seems like “the right thing to do,” but you haven’t actually spoken to them in months, maybe even years, but you do these things out of a sense of not wanting to be the first one to “give up on the friendship.” You don’t want to be the one that stopped. The one where life events roll around and you don’t say anything because you feel like it will draw a line in the sand.
I don’t want to be the not-polite, not-kind friend. But, also, what am I holding on to? If I don’t feel like talking to them, if we haven’t had a conversation that was about anything more than the weather in the last year, why am I reaching out? Do I really wish them a happy birthday? Do I really care? Yes, hands down I wish the best for them. I want them to love their life and enjoy every minute and maybe someday it will make sense for us to be friends again, but right now I feel like a phony wishing them a happy birthday.
Doing something out of a sense of obligation is never a good idea. Wishing them a happy birthday that is cold and mediocre…what does that do for either of us except remind us of what we’ve lost?
So, why am I holding on? I love my life, they love theirs, but we aren’t what we used to be and what we used to be I’m not sure I need right now in my life. (Cut back to my earlier post about people coming into and leaving our lives for a reason.) Playing this game where we send texts back and forth, “hey, have an awesome birthday.” Ends up being more hurtful and sad than thoughtful.
So, maybe it’s time for me to be the asshole. Maybe it’s time for me not to reach out on their birthday via some lame text.
I thought about this a lot while I was in the gym (it’s where I get most of my good thinking done). I don’t think I’m ready to not reach out at all, but I’ve decided instead of texting I will send a card. I will be honest in this card and say I miss what we used to have. I am sad that our relationship isn’t what it was and I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I hope that they really have a very happy birthday. If I say those things, I know I mean those things and I am not then hiding behind a mask of niceties that don’t really mean anything. And maybe that doesn’t make me an asshole or impolite or unkind. Maybe that just makes me honest.
“Honesty is the best policy.” UGH. We hear it all the time and yes, often, being honest sucks because most of the time the truth is not fun to hear, but I spend too much of my time protecting other peoples’ feelings and not being honest. Not being honest leaves me stuck in a hole because when I speak words I don’t mean or when I do something because it’s “the right thing to do” I don’t always mean it and then this little dishonest ball festers inside of me and then one day I explode at all of these people I’ve said platitudes to over the years, through no fault of their own because I haven’t been honest. The precious time we have on this planet doesn’t need to be spent making time for people that don’t make time for us.
So, here’s what this all boils down to, friends. If I have friends I can’t be honest with, they probably aren’t the right people for me. If I am doing things out of a sense of obligation, it is not the “right thing to do.” I’m actually doing a disservice to myself and the person I’m interacting with. I need to stop shoving square pegs into round holes because I don’t like to let go of things and because I don’t like change.
Today begins my dishonesty detox and I need y’all to hold me to it. To keep me honest. To ask me if I mean what I say because I hate making people sad or mad or worst of all I hate it when people don’t like me, so being honest is freaking hard. I need people like you to remind me when it seems like I’ve lost my honest touch. You can help me with this, right?