When it is time to let a long friendship go

Tis Thing Called Life

We will go through different phrases in life, finding and embarking on different path. Our best or closest friends may share our perpective and choices. Or they may not.

Sometimes a long term friendship may seemed to drift apart for non apparent reason. Just like it takes two hands to clap, keeping in touch requires effort from both side.

What happens when suddenly someone whom we are close with just stop returning our calls and messages or even blocked us?

We may try to seek clarification but if the person does not respond, then move on. Don’t shut the door, ie if ever one day the person initiates contact again, then resume the friendship. Don’t take things personally and because of our hurt feelings, we refuse to forgive.

I am advising this because it is something Iearnt along the path of my life.

For about 5 years in high school, my best friend was one of the most popular girls in my school. She was pretty, rich, pleasant, humble, thin, intelligent and kind. While I was an introvert, shy, poor, overweight and awkard girl.

We were classmates for 5 years and almost everyday we would talk on the phone about…well just anything. Her mom really did not like me- I always felt she viewed me as beneath her daughter ad not good enough for her.

After our form 5 exams, we did preuniversity separately. She went to one of the most popular college to do her A Levels and then to UK. I continued in my school.

And then, few months into her A levels, she started avoiding me. I could not reach her via the phone. She never returned my calls.

Her actions were very hurtful because she just threw our friendship out of the window. To be honest, it took me about two to three years to completely get over the friendship. Here was a friend whom seemed like kindred spirit who could understand me very well. We also shared interest in a lot of topics.

You gotta believe me when I tell you that when you lose something, you always gain another thing. In my form 6 (pre university), I ended up speaking to a girl who sat next to me in class.

We had language communication barrier because her Mandarin was excellent while I could not speak the language then. She was not fluent in English and could not speak Cantonese which was my dialect.

But our friendship grew despite the language and different background barrier. It was her sincerity, genuineness, helpful nature without being calculative or having ulterior motive that really warmed me up to this friend. Also she went by slow and steady method of studying and constantly encourage me and herself to study.

Till today, few decades later, we are still close friends even though our path of life, perspective and values are different. Often she does agree with my unconventional choices but she accepted me for the way I am.

When I came out to work, I spent more than 10 years working in corporate. There, we would bound to develop close friendship with some colleagues because a large part of our lives are spent with them. Even having our meals with them.

But both the companies I have worked for are stressful environment. And over the years, people come and go. I find that I could be close with many colleagues at different stages of my career but after they got transferred, resigned or I left the company, the friendship is more or less gone.

When I resigned from the first company after 9.5 years of working there…. Guess how many people, out of the hundreds whom I had helped and many whom I had been friends with bothered to keep in touch and ask me how I was doing?

Only 1. The rest were not interested after they realized I resigned without a job.

That is why over years of experience, I have taken a less serious approach and would not take it personally when it is time to leave friendship, even though it is a long friendship.

Do not feel too depressed or hurt about when your close friend dumps you or betray you or stop contacting you. The friendship was good while it still last. But it would come a time when your path with this person need to separate. This happens for a reason.

Looking back with my former best friend who was like a real kindred spirit, I would be influenced by her had we did not go our separate ways. She was into the kind of life that totally different from my natural inclination.

Till today, I do not think I have meet a friend quite like her. But the end of that 5 years of close friendship also taught me that nothing remains permanent. It taught me to let go. Since then, I pursue paths on my own even when none of my friends in real life have the inclination for. And it has been real rewarding because these adventures, led me to find my path and my calling. And also allowed me to meet new friends who shares similar values and aspirations.

It is the same for you. Often it would be really difficult for you to find those amongst your inner circle of friends especially childhood friends who share your dreams, interests and goals. You would only meet like minded people once you learn to get out of your comfort zone.

Even then, do not take it too personally when what was good did not last and it is time to move on.

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