I’m 27. That means I’m old enough to reflect on failed friendships. There have been many friendships that were very close and ended. Some ended quickly and some slowly. Some I tried very hard to delay the falling out, only to have that falling out be far worse than it would have been had it taken its natural course.
One of the terrible truths of life is that the more you get to know someone, the more likely you are to dislike them. You see their grimy parts they don’t show strangers. They become comfortable with you and show less social tact. Or they care about you but express it in ways that harm you. The flaws that were always there repeat themselves enough to become visible. Or just what used to have been endearing becomes annoying.
All of us are petty selfish people. In America especially, social skills is about how others annoy us but never how we annoy others. We really do commodify each other for entertainment. We don’t even know what it would look like to view others as an end in themselves.
You try apologizing to the friend. No one is ever innocent in a falling out. You tell them you can barely even remember what they had done wrong. They appreciate the apology but don’t reciprocate. Nor are they interested in forgiveness, despite what all they used to say about Christian love. You slowly realize the great lack of emotional depth in our society.
When I was in fifth grade, Lord of the Rings came out. I loved these movies. The loyalty of Samwise in the third movie was a great inspiration. That’s what real friendship looks like!
Except life doesn’t work like that. For one thing, the fate of the world doesn’t depend on your friendship. But more than that, a friendship isn’t based on a finite task like destroying a ring. It’s something that continues on until it doesn’t. Ideally it would be never-ending. Another terrible truth of life is that loyalty has its limits, and to exceed those limits will only hurt you and the person to whom you are loyal. In all likelihood, the other person will not appreciated your loyalty at all if he does not want it.
We are all selfish, petty deplorables. Apologize to the people you have done wrong, don’t expect anything back, and then forget they existed.
As Jimi Hendrix said, “Everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to decide who is worth suffering for.” On a long enough timeline, you will dislike on some level everyone you meet.