Giving Up On Friendship

Recently, I lost a friend. He didn’t die, he just decided he didn’t want to be friends anymore. The reason? Partisan politics. After twenty years. We were very good at preventing our considerable political differences from hindering our friendship until we weren’t.

I’m not sure how to write about it. I don’t want to give you just my version and I don’t want to try to summarize my former friend’s thinking. Suffice to say, he just got to the point where he said, “I can’t take it anymore.” I think “it” being anti-Trump liberalism.

I guess we weren’t as good as friends as I thought. Like many, many times before, I wanted to work it out. For the first time, he clearly didn’t.

I’ve learned at least two things. One is that I’m not immune from the relationship destroying political dissension that so many people are experiencing not just with friends, but family. I was naive about that, wrongly thinking that my interpersonal skills and educator sensibilities enabled me to sometimes befriend my political opposites. This failure has been humbling.

Another thing I’ve learned, or more accurately re-learned, is that all friendships are based upon reciprocity. Each side has to continually extend themselves. If one side stops for whatever reason, it’s out of the other side’s control. Most simply put, friendship can’t be forced.

I can’t think of any way to spin this as positive. It’s upsetting and my attitude about it, “Fuck it, it was stupid of me for thinking we were close,” is poor.

But I’m okay with having a poor attitude. I accept he doesn’t want to be friends. Have a nice life.