So I skipped a dinner tonight.
Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. And I’m not really that sorry. Because I’ve realised with some surer finality that I’ve closed that door.
I used to be very close with these two people who I was to meet tonight. We go back years and years. Just about every day in my Facebook memories I see posts from the three of us. One I fell out with a few years ago and while we later reconciled we’ve not been particularly close since. Even working in the same centre, we kept separate groups of friends.
The other I would have described as a best friend, almost brotherly. We talked daily – openly and honestly about everything. Even after he left the country we continued to be close. I told him my secrets and he told me his. Then we fell out over an issue with mutual friends. And that was the fracture point.
They say that a friendship is like glass; once shattered you’ll never be able to set it the same way again.
And it’s painfully true. We were not the same. Not when apologies were shared, nor after.
He recently returned to Australia and I vaguely hoped to see him. Though my expectations were low as in previous visits he’d not found the time to catch up. We’d had one conversation in this time. It was started by me and ended by him not responding mid chat on Facebook. If I didn’t feel before that it was over, I felt it then.
So yesterday when I heard from the other mutual friend that he was in town I was equal parts miffed and unsurprised. She invited me to dinner with them, he was staying at her house. Information that further triggered angry emotions and ultimately a bit of a split. I couldn’t go to this dinner. I left it at a maybe, gritting my teeth.
Early this morning he messaged me. And I said yes. Before regretting it. After talking it over with my boyfriend (who felt I should go), I knew that I wouldn’t. I ended up telling a lie and sat in front of Doctor Who instead, eating terrible Chinese takeout.
For many years I’ve struggled with being rejected and undervalued by people I thought were my friends. I sat uncomfortably with that rejection and it destroyed my self worth and self esteem. I endured brutal splitting episodes and ended up craving approval from the very people who left me to struggle. In DBT I learnt that it’s okay to leave these people behind. It’s okay to forgive myself for staying. And it’s okay to experience rejection (where valid).
And it’s helped. It’s helped me see with a great deal of clarity that this chapter has ended. I will probably always miss the closeness we experienced, but in life people drift apart. It just means you’ve made room for new people.
And that’s okay.