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Why Friendship Fallouts Are Okay

It’s been quite some time with this whole quarantine, self-isolation period that is going on. It’s become this new normal. This situation has given me time to learn to appreciate things in my life that I haven’t before. Through spending time with my family, and reaching out to old friends, I’ve also had some time to self-reflect on myself and my life. During these many sessions of self-reflection and self-doubt, I have begun to learn over the course of my life that friendship fallouts are okay.

If I had to describe myself to someone, I would say that I’m caring, compassionate, and tend to get attached to other people-- oftentimes people who reciprocate the effort I put in. This has always been the person I have been, from middle school to current day.

Everyone has been sharing that this quarantine has opened their eyes to who their “real” friends are. As a person who is constantly busy with school work, extracurriculars, and my job, it’s difficult to balance all of that in addition to relationships. There’s a saying that goes, “You’ll always make time for things that are important.” There’s much in this I agree with, but a lot that I also disagree with. As I mentioned, I’m a fairly busy person. Sometimes I get caught up in the whirlwind of tasks that I don’t always get to prioritize my relationships. My work always comes first, but this doesn’t mean that I absentmindedly neglect my relationships. I make it my priority to squeeze in a time to connect with my family and friends. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to send a text and check up on someone.

Despite the complications of my schedule at any given time, I’ve managed to find a simple balance that works for me. My family is always my number one priority, and after a long week of draining assignments and exams, it’s their voices that I want to hear. When it comes to friendships, I don’t have a large circle of friends. I have a couple friends from high school whom I’m in contact with, and the other couple of friends I’ve made in college, and of course my best friend. How do I manage keeping in touch with all of them? To be completely blunt, I’m not the best at it, but I try my best to take a few moments to check up on them. That doesn’t mean that I text them every day or every week, even. Sometimes I only talk to them every few months, but those, I’ve learned, are the really unique relationships. The ones that even after months of not speaking, the moment you reach out, the same level of friendship you two had is back.

This leads to another question: When is it time to call an end to a friendship?

This is an extremely difficult problem that many of us have faced in our lives, perhaps a few times. The simple reason behind it is usually the loss of communication on both ends of the friendship. There’s only so much you can do to drag a friendship along, especially when it’s one-sided. This is what I realized during this quarantine in one specific situation.

I made an amazing friend last year. She’s the sweetest and most outgoing person you’ll ever meet. Last year, things were going well. We used to get coffee, I went to her graduation party, and I even invited her to my house to meet my parents because I knew how much they enjoyed meeting my friends. A really important thing that I knew about her though was that she wasn’t the best at communicating. She was busy graduating college, finding a job, and things were hectic in her life. I understood where she was coming from. I was a busy person, too, and if we didn’t talk all the time, it wasn’t the end of the world. However, as time passed, I reached out to her on occasion, checking in to see how she was. She used to respond so energetically whenever I did and it made me feel like I had made the right choice continuing to keep our friendship alive. That is until I sat down and realized, when was the last time she asked about me? When was the last time she reached out to me?

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m far from it. I’m not the best at replying to texts right away. I get busy with my school work. I’m human. What I’ve been able to see and realize from this experience though, and countless other experiences similar to this one, is that if you’re the only one putting in the effort, it’s no longer a friendship.

I have so much love and respect for that girl still. If she reached out, I honestly would still go and hang out with her (obviously not during this pandemic, but you get what I mean). But I respect my time and worth enough to know when a friendship needs to end. The feeling of knowing this is heartbreaking. We used to have such a good time, we made so many memories. But how do you keep checking up on a person who doesn’t put in that same effort?

I realized the true meaning of what “a friendship is a two-way street” meant, and I’ve learned when I need to stop and take another path.

The decision to end a friendship is never easy and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, it’s okay to put yourself first. You cannot always be the only one giving your love and attention to others. You deserve to feel loved and appreciated too. It’s taken me numerous friendships and experiences to reach this conclusion, but I hope through me sharing this, you’ll be able to come to the same realization and move through your relationships with confidence and understanding.