Friendship is a central theme in the story I’m working on right now. So here is the last guest post from another of my writing friends. If you'd like to chime in on the theme or have something to say regarding friendship please feel free to comment.
My next guest blogger is Diana Robicheux. Diana is a paranormal writer, a talented artist, and a convention maven. You can find some of her artwork here. Thanks, Diana, for helping out with the theme!
When Clipper asked me if I would like to guest write about friendship, I told her yes without hesitating. Then she gave me my topic “What kills friendships and possible ways to prevent it or deal with the loss of a friendship” and my brain went “Eek! How do I talk about THAT!” After I thought about it, I realized I’m probably more acquainted with the topic than I’d like to admit.
Losing a friend sucks. No matter how or why it happens or how old we are, it sucks. Sometimes it’s our fault, theirs, or nobody’s. These are some of the major friendship killers that popped into my head, ones that I’ve been through.
1. Losing Touch:
We’ve probably all been through this one. We say goodbye to our friends at graduations and when we change jobs or move.
Long distance friendships used to be hard to maintain, but it’s pretty easy these days between cell phones, e-mail and voice chats. So if you say you’ll keep in touch, just do it. Don’t forget to remember your friends, even if they’re not right in front of you every day. I have a lot of great friends, some of whom I’ve never even met in person, so there’s no excuse to let physical distance be an obstacle to our friendships.
But what do we do if the person we thought was such a close friend doesn’t return our calls or e-mails? First, don’t be too impatient. They may have things going on that are taking all their attention. Wait a few months then try again, but if they don’t respond then it’s best to take a deep breath and move on.
2. The Replacement:
The first friend I lost was in sixth grade. I was out sick for a few days and another girl took my place, literally. She took my desk (with all my stuff in it) and my friend. First, I told the teacher she was in my desk so the teacher made her move. Next, I tried to make friends with the new girl too. I figured adding a new friend was better than losing the one I had. But the new girl turned my friend against me, and that was the end of that friendship. It was awkward and difficult to look at the two of them every day in class, until I made friends with my old friend’s twin brother. New friends are the best way to soothe the pain of losing an old one and him being her own twin brother was just cake.
Don’t exclude your old friends if you make new ones. Introduce them if you can. Maybe you’ll end up with a whole new circle of friends.
3. Misunderstandings and Disagreements:
Losing a friend to a misunderstanding is tragic. Sometimes a misspoken word or an action taken out of context can derail a friendship and we may not know why. Hopefully we’ll give our friends the benefit of the doubt or at least time to explain themselves before dumping them over something we may not even have the right idea about.
If we have a disagreement with a friend over anything, decide what’s more important: the friend or the argument. Is your opinion, or theirs, worth losing the friendship over if you can’t find common ground? Friends don’t always have to agree to make their friendship work. If there are “touchy subjects” (politics, religion, etc.) that could hurt your relationship or the other person simply avoid those issues. There are plenty of other things to talk about.
4. Breaking “The Code”:
Since there may be a few out there who don’t know what “The Code” is, I’ll elaborate. “The Code” is the understanding between friends that boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses are off limits period, even after a break-up (unless the friend gives their permission.)
It goes without saying that this is a deal killer. Friendship over. Walk away. I’ve been through that kind of betrayal and I can honestly say that there’s no way to repair the friendship after it happens. Turn to other friends or find new ones to help get you through it and let it go. I know, easier said than done, but it really is the only way. Don’t even let yourself think about them. Take a trip and get away from the situation all together if possible. If not, treat yourself to something you love. Ice cream or chocolates are easier on the budget than diamonds, so keep that in mind. No matter what, keep your head. Neither one of them is worth doing something stupid over.
5. How NOT to Lose a Friend:
The best way to keep our friends is to BE a good friend. Keep in touch, just being there may mean more to them than you realize, even if “being there” is by phone or on-line. Don’t fight over insignificant things. Treat each other with respect. But if it happens anyway, make some new ones. In the mean time, there’s always chocolate.