11 September 2012

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How to cope when you lose friends and alienate people

How to lose friends and alienate people? Find a new direction in life and stick to it. It’s often as simple as that.  Speak about new-found interests with friends who don’t care and enjoy activities they don’t understand. You can further alienate them by being passionate about things they don’t find very cool or relevant at all.

Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams

Friendship has this way of not always accommodating both parties if one starts to dance to a different tune. Where you were a pair of feet, suddenly you are both right feet. As our ideas about life changes, we can’t always agree on what is right! Or relevant, or necessary, or enjoyable - but you get the idea. We invest so much in friendships and when we grow apart it can be really painful. Sometimes it’s slow and gradual and sometimes friction causes you to avoid hurting each other’s feelings by avoiding your friend’s company.

How do we deal with this? There’s no easy answer, but I’ve lost my fair share of close friends, so I can share my own ways of coming to terms with this kind of loss. Sometimes I wasn’t the one who needed new things in my life and I was on the end feeling alienated, but most of the time I’ve been doing the alienating. Both of these can be really painful. By alienating your friends with your new ideas or past times you often feel like you think you are better than them for making different decisions. When you feel your friend pulling away you might feel like you did something wrong.

Billy wasn't always interested in Gina's branch of philosophy

Or maybe it’s just me; I try to look for the problem with myself first! And then with the other person. But in time I’ve learned that this is not the right way to go about it. When you start looking for causes you start to shift the blame one way or another. Who needs that? It’s better to accept that the friendship dynamic has changed because people change all the time. Our relationships with other people shouldn’t hold us back from pursuing what we want in life. Unless you want to pursue a full-time singing career when you are the poster child of generation debt, you didn’t make it through the first round of Idols auditions and your choir teacher asks you to sing a bit softer. Then you might want to listen to your friends.

You have to give yourself permission to choose

We learn so much about life and ourselves through our relationships with other people and even more in coping with the loss of a friend that you deemed a very important part of your life. As an introvert, I don’t make friends easily and the friendships that I invest time and love in are really dear to me. So losing a friend can leave me as hurt as some might feel after breaking up a romantic relationship. Therefore it’s important to remind myself that I am doing the best I can.

I also look at where I went wrong to be more compassionate and understanding in the future. Often I alienate people because they don’t understand me, but this isn’t necessary when you can respect each other’s differences. Of course, people’s idea of what it means to respect differences also varies, so nothing is ever simple!

Focus on the things in your life that are making your new decisions worthwhile, be grateful for people who are willing to accept you even though you have changed in some way and focus on learning more about yourself.

By putting yourself out there and doing things you love, you often get the chance to meet people who share the same interest as you, so you might end up gaining more than you thought you were losing! It’s not that friends are replaceable, but I feel that a friendship comes into our lives when we need it and leaves when we should stand on our own two feet. Maybe you don’t need to dance to the same tune after all.

1 comment:

  1. This really helps! Due to a marriage that may be ending and a dear friend who has been helping me, but is also married. It seems his wife is not so fond of our friendship. I have always been devoted to my husband and my best guess he has to his wife. He is pulling back because of her and even though I understand, it doesn't make it hurt any less. I don't have many friends, as I am not very trusting.

    Thank You!!


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