Today was an incredibly hard day for me. The hardest I’ve had in a really long time. I cut the last ties that bound me to the only group of friends I still have. I had to give up something I greatly enjoy. One of my very favorite things in fact that I look forward to every year. My rationale that I told one of them was that “I’d rather have no friends than bad friends.”
I made a public announcement to this group that I was no longer interested in participating in our activity that we have done together for probably 7 or 8 years. I understood the consequences of my actions. I knew that it was very likely that I would never see or speak to any of them every again. I thought about it long and hard. I envisioned the future I want to have with you, and being afraid to ask you to marry me because I wouldn’t have a best man or any friends to invite to the wedding. But this is something I felt like I had to do. For a long time now I have felt disrespected, ostracized, and taken for granted if not largely ignored. And its hard, because this wasn’t some random grouping of friends; this was supposed to be a brotherhood. But it never was for me. And I have so much anger inside about the numerous slights that have occurred over the years. I keep losing it and flying off the handle at things that probably aren’t that big of a deal on their own. Everything that happens becomes an extension of past wrongs and I cant let go of any of it because its clear that none of these people have changed since I’ve known them, and I doubt they ever will. For what its worth I probably haven’t either. Maybe a little. But at any rate, I had to remove myself from the longest tenured friends I have. All of them.
So with a heavy heart, I did just that. There’s a funny thing about telling yourself you have nothing to lose. That’s the moment you lose something else you had forgotten about. I realized after I did it, the true ramifications of my actions, the impact it would have on an already very lonely existence. But I still don’t regret it.
As it turned out, a few of them reached out to me privately. The ones I expected. And I confronted them. About the ways I felt they had wronged me. Some of this stuff happened almost ten years ago and I just internalized it all and never said a word. It felt good to say what I had been feeling. I had long discussions with three of them. One of them gave me his perspective on what had happened, and while it didn’t change my exclusion from something that was important to me, at least he was honest about what happened and seemed to deeply regret the way things played out. Another one of them was also honest, in admitting that while I was intentionally excluded from another event, its because I haven’t been a very good friend either. I know that he was right. The third just denied culpability for his role in yet another exclusion. But in the process of opening up and confronting him I remembered some times he had helped me out when I asked for it. Some incidents that my anger had obscured from my memory. A fourth reached out, someone who never wronged me, but was in fact probably even more ostracized and wronged than I have been. He just wanted me to know he understood why i did what I did.
All in all, I lost probably at least a dozen friends today. But at least one of the three I directly confronted, maybe 2, maybe even all three, my friendship with them was validated because I could see that they did really care about me. And in a rather serendipitous turn of events, as word spread of my actions, another couple friends that I really like but had unfortunately lost contact with years ago reached out to catch up. I know that I need to do a better job at being a better friend to the 3-6 of these guys that are still interested in my friendship, even after I disavowed everything that bounded our group together for the last decade. And I fully intend to. If I gained a few much stronger friendships through this process at the expense of many friendships I didn’t care that much about, then this will be a very hard fought victory for me.
But it was so hard. So emotionally draining. And that’s why I’m writing to you now. Because when I got home all I could think about is how much I wish you were there with me. So I could just lay my head in your lap and close my eyes and maybe cry just a little bit. A big piece of me died today. I hope that in the long run I will be better for it. But I am just so exhausted right now.
I love you.