Tiffany, I cannot even express in words all of the emotions that flooded my heart when I saw that you unfriended me on Facebook. What a sad way to end such a meaningful relationship. I knew we were growing distant, but I never thought it was so bad that you would sever our friendship of 17 years.
DENIAL: In the last year, I felt our friendship disintegrating. I reassured myself that you were beginning a new journey & had faith our friendship would come around again once you settled in to your new life.
Let me start by explaining my delayed response to our previous conversation. I wanted to give myself time to really think about what I should to say before I responded from my reactions. I’ve spent three days writing, deleting, re-writing, and editing this letter. I’ve gone through many different emotions in the process, but at the end of this I am confident I will find acceptance.
Before I get to what I really want to say, I should explain my perspective on the events that led us to where we are now. I just want to get that out of the way so you can understand how I saw things go down, then I will move on to the important stuff. From my point of view, the decline of our friendship began about a year ago, last March. I was in town for 11 days to attend Toups & Lucy’s wedding that you were going to accompany me to. The 2nd night I was in town, we went to the dinner rehearsal and on the way back you told me you wanted to share something important with me. We sat in your car on Francis St. in Pearland, and talked about your new journey, how you were reborn and committed to serving Christ. We shared our opinions on spirituality and had what I thought was a very intelligent, and supportive conversation between two good friends. The following day, you told me you were bringing your mom to the wedding and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to do that (even though I love her to pieces). 30 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the wedding, you cancelled. After that, I went to Austin and you told me when I got back, you were taking 3 days off work so we could hang out. The first day you had off you told me you weren’t feeling well and we would hang tomorrow. The next day, you hung out with your friend Sam until about 4pm, when you met us at Papasito’s for 2 hours. Your 3rd day off you spent at the beach reading the bible. You told me I could meet you down there if I wanted to, knowing I didn’t have a car since I was visiting from LA. After that, I didn’t hear from you for months. In July, I told you I would be in Austin and would love to see you. You told me you were “strapped for cash on top of a few other things going on”. On a side note, I was rather insulted by that excuse considering I had driven to San Diego to see you in 2006 when I was broke AND you currently have a full-time job and no living expenses! In August I texted you to see if I could call you. You told me “actually I have church at 7 o’clock maybe we could talk tomorrow”. I didn’t hear from you until your “Happy late merry Christmas” text in December. Our last conversation was on January 7th, earlier this year. You wanted to cut to the chase and talk about Leslie being pregnant. You also told me we needed to have a conversation at some point when my mom wasn’t in the car with me. I asked you if I could call you the next day and you told me you would be taking your dad to dinner and you would call me on another day. After that, I went over our conversation and was disturbed by your criticism regarding Leslie & Josh’s decision to have a baby. By this time, Leslie & I had taken the obvious hints that you wanted to distance yourself from us. When you told me you thought Josh was an alcoholic and Leslie was in denial, I interpreted that as you casting judgment on them from a holy pedestal. Looking back now, I think you were just confiding in me, as we would do in any normal conversation. I continuously go back and forth about whether I should’ve told Leslie that or not. As a friend to Leslie, my actions are justified, but as a friend to you, it was wrong to betray your trust. At that point in time, I wasn’t certain where you and I stood as friends, so I felt obligated to tell her. After that, an argument ensued with you and Josh and/or Leslie, and the next thing I see is that you unfriended ME. With one push of a button, you erased me. Deleted. Obsolete. 17 years.
To add injury to insult, you do not respond to anything. Leaving me confused and feeling helpless. I wish you’d handled this differently. It’s as if you want to pretend I never existed. But I am a real person, with real feelings, Tiffany. I may live 1500 miles away, but the pain from being abandoned by a friend hits close to home & cuts like a knife.
ANGER: The way you have handled this situation has left me with very little respect for you and your character. It seems like you are doing a cleansing of some sort, wiping the slate clean and starting over, which is great. What is sad is that you don’t even have the respect to explain that to your old friends. If you are so proud of your new life, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just explain that to your old friends and move on. A simple “Hey guys, I’m on a new path and need to separate myself from the people in my past for a while” would’ve sufficed. Instead, you have taken a coward’s way out and are choosing to ignore anyone and anything that challenges your opinion. The definition of a bigot.
Your behavior on social media has been nothing short of self-absorbed. Your page is FLOODED with selfies and religious tirades. It’s as if you require your friends to constantly stroke your ego and agree with every opinion you have. But remember, self-centeredness leads to self-gratification and overlooking people’s needs. Being focused on oneself usurps the biblical command to love thy neighbor (John 13:34-35), to not pass judgment on others (Romans 14:13), and to forgive (Ephesians 4:32). In Philippians, Paul explains “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you the interests of others.” Do you feel like you have done that, Tiffany? Have you unselfishly accepted other people’s interests before yours? Or have you become intolerant and unforgiving to other people’s beliefs, putting your “new life” above everything else? Your behavior has proven that you have become careless of how your actions affect others.
BARGAINING: While coming to terms with the fact that we will never be friends again, I tried one last time to reach out to you. I sent you a heartfelt text message in which I explained that I was sorry if I hurt you and that my spirit was crushed, but I would always love you. I knew that the chances of you responding were slim, but still had a glimmer of hope that you would reply. My predictions were accurate, and I see now that you would rather live in a pretend world where you imagine I never existed.
When one tap of a button ends 17 years of inside jokes, music exploration, 2am car-dancing, and overall life-coaching, what do you hold onto in the aftermath?
DEPRESSION: Some people in my life seem to see my friendship as a revolving door, an endless series of embracing me at their convenience, only to eventually leave me in the dust. I never thought you would be one of those people, but sadly, you have now placed yourself in the same category as both of my deadbeat dads.
I told you in my text “of all the people who abandoned me, this hurts the most”. In theory, friendships are supposed to be everlasting. They’re built to survive your life’s problems and glide you to the finish line. When a relationship with a boyfriend or husband ends, it sort of makes sense. People fall out of love with each other and ultimately, the people involved and surrounding the situation get hurt inadvertently (i.e. parent’s divorcing). However, I consider you ending our friendship a personal attack on my overall character.
I am happy that you found a new love for Christ. I’m confused on where I fit in to the whole equation, being that I’ve always been a supporter of your faith.
Which brings me to what I really want to say. Since you have decided to call it quits and disassociate yourself with me, I would like to use this letter as closure. A eulogy for the death of our friendship, if you will.
ACCEPTANCE: Now I am finding peace. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, I will see that I cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and I must readjust.
I’m not sure that I will ever understand what I did to deserve being dumped like this. But one thing I will ALWAYS understand is that I want you to be happy. And if that means removing myself from your life, that is what I will do. That’s what friends do. They take each other’s pain even if it comes at the cost of their own happiness. Do you remember feeling devastated when your relationship with Matt was rocky? Leslie & I spent 2 days helping you remodel your room to get your mind off things. We used to spend hours down at the creek and at Poly Ranch Park confiding in each other about our troubles at home. And there’s no denying that we discovered and explored drugs together. But when the time was right, we carried each other through the struggles of addiction and did what we thought was right in our adolescent minds. When I was in rehab and you and your mother were my only visitors besides my mom. We smoked cigarettes on a patio table inside the hospital courtyard. Then a few years later, the same thing happened to you and we wrote each other letters that I still have in my desk drawer.
We’ve spent countless hours advising one another on relationships. One time we listened to Portishead’s “Roads” on repeat in your bedroom for a half hour because Bryan Seely broke up with me. We’ve told each other secrets that we will probably both take to our graves. We’ve had a special way of helping each other through life. Remember that weekend we went to your parent’s time-share in Conroe and took pictures on that tire swing? We counted 200 something shooting stars that night. We used to daydream about going to Hawaii together. Then we did it. When we wanted to express our shared love of music with each other, we made the ultimate commitment and got matching tattoos together. Then we finished that day by dancing and laughing hysterically on my roof. This is how I wanted to remember you. Unfortunately, the way you have handled our friendship in the last year left a bad taste in my mouth. Instead of remembering the fun, loving Tiffany I once knew, I am forced to realize what you became: Self-absorbed. Intolerant. Ignorant. Cold.
I genuinely hope your new friends will never have to discover this about you. I hope you never do this to anyone again. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy. There are a lot of people in this world who are not as socially accepted as you or I. They desperately struggle with finding friends who will accept them or even just hang out with them. They will never know what it’s like to have a real friend. Someone they can laugh with, cry with, and who will be loyal to them no matter what. I was prepared and committed to offer all of the above, but sadly, those efforts were not reciprocated and I respect you enough to let you go.
You were one of the best friends I ever had, and no matter how much I hate having to say goodbye and wishing it could be otherwise, it’s time for me to fade from your life.
I will always love you, Tiffany.