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As you become truer to who you are, as you learn what you value in life and as you start to make decisions to please yourself instead of others, be prepared for some people who won’t understand. At first, it is upsetting because most people need a friendship to have a fight to the end. Most people want to point fingers and blame someone for being at fault so they can justify their actions or feelings. You will be blamed, but that’s ok. I’ve lost a couple of ‘long-term friends’ over the past 2 years and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, don’t get me wrong- I wish we could just drift apart and realise that we are not as close as we once were or our paths have just diverted for a little while… but most have not ended that way. I’ve been accused of being a shitty friend for not wanting to party like I used to, for not saying yes to social events and for not being as available as I once was either on the phone or in person. I’ve even been accused of not being fun enough while pregnant and sick and mocked for my diet and lifestyle choices. I’ve been accused of ‘changing’ which is true, and I couldn’t be prouder of those changes. My work requires me to be ‘on’ 24 hours a day. I get emails and messages at all hours of the night and I am proud of what I do because I am helping others to believe in themselves. It does mean that come the weekends I often just want to stay at home or hang out with my family instead of doing all the social things I used to really enjoy. My mum died of alcoholism 2 years ago, and I have always been a big drinker, so I avoid situations that tempt me and people who drink excessively because I don’t like the impact that has on my health or my mind. I’m not judging them, I’m just doing what I need to. Yes, I’ve lost a few friends, but in doing so I’ve gained a much greater appreciation of others and gained new friends who share the same values as me and it just feels so much easier. I’ve realised the friends who are there for me, they understand me and they are proud of me and the changes I’m making. I’ve gained an appreciation for the small texts, the occasional comment on social media or the tag in a meme even if it’s making a joke at how often we don’t see each other. The lunches and dinners are few are far between but I cherish them even more. The friends that say ‘bring the kids’, not ‘get a babysitter’ because they understand that when you share custody of your children you don’t always want to get a babysitter on your weekends with them. The friends you don’t see or talk to for 6 months but that’s ok because there are no ‘prerequisites’ for their friendship. I’ve gained an appreciation for the friend that says ‘Sarah I need you right now’ which helps me prioritise their missed call from the other 50 on my phone. The friends that I play phone tag with for days and instead of getting cranky, we laugh about it because we appreciate that life gets busy and that our friendship is one thing we don’t have to worry about. I’ve gained a respect for those friends that understood this view of friendship before I did, and I apologise to the friends that I used to make feel I inadequate if they couldn’t meet MY expectations or answer the phone exactly when I needed them. I’ve become a better friend for this because I now empathise with my friends and their situations too and don’t use a misunderstanding or misalignment in values undermine a whole friendship. So whilst growing apart from someone you share beautiful memories with can hurt (especially when they get nasty about it) I prefer to take a minute to appreciate the lessons. Call me selfish, call me up myself or call me a jerk, your words cannot hurt me anymore like they used to. I’ve spent my whole life caring about what everyone else thinks and I now choose happiness instead. I’ve never been a shit friend, sometimes my friend’s expectations are just at heights I’m not prepared to reach for anymore. Why can’t we just leave it at that?
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