A wise philosopher once said, “It ain’t nun to cut that bitch off.” Snip, snip, h*e (if you know, you know). And one thing about me, I will cut someone out of my life with the quickness.
Unfollow, mute, block, the whole nine yards. Your instagram, twitter, phone number, Facebook, even ya mama’s Facebook if need be. Down to the LinkedIn, once I’ve decided I’m done with someone, they are gone. They no longer have access to me or my goings on. Effectively dead to me. Completely nonexistent. I want nothing to do with them.
Unfortunately, 2022 saw the end of a few relationships for me. Some I’ve had since I was in high school. And while I didn’t like coming to the conclusion that I was done with these people, it wasn’t that hard for me to say “I no longer want them in my life” and take the necessary steps to ensure they’d quickly be out of it. I wasn’t happy to do it; some part of me will miss those people and those connections, but my desire to cut ties and maintain my internal peace far outweighed my desire to keep the relationship going.
Why is it so easy for me to end relationships, though?
Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t pinpoint any exact moment in my childhood that can explain why I am the way I am when it comes to resolving conflict. As far as I can tell, I’ve always been far more comfortable with myself in my own head than with others, so when someone comes into my happy little bubble of solitude and threatens that peace and happiness, my brain starts setting off alarm bells. They gotta go.
And let me be clear, I’m not just ending friendships left and right, I have plenty of wonderful, healthy friendships around me. But this post isn’t about them. Right now, I’m reflecting on the failed relationships, and my incredibly poor response to the conflicts that initiated their downfall.
Therein lies the problem: I’m so conflict avoidant that I will cut off someone I’ve known forever instead of talking through the issue in hopes to resolve the problem. Here’s my thought process, Amber’s Five Stages of Going No Contact with Your (Formally) Most Cherished Friends, if you will:
- [Conflict Occurs] “What the hell?”
- [🚨Alarm Bells🚨] “Why did they do that?”
- [Emotional Spiraling] “A friend wouldn’t do that to a friend, so why did they do that to me?”
- [Hasty Decision Making] “Doesn’t matter why. They did it to me, they’re clearly not a friend.”
- [Snip Snip – The Cutoff] “They’re not my friend, they’re dead to me.”
And there it is. By following these five easy steps, you, too, can completely sever ties with your oldest friends because of some relatively small conflict that could’ve been better solved had you just talked through it.
I’m not gonna lie, y’all, it’s embarrassing how quickly I can go from “everything’s good” to “they’re dead to me.” I’m reading over what I’ve typed and hating every second of it. I am the drama.
This is haaaaarrrrrd to acknowledge. And knowing that I plan to put this on the internet for the whole world to read doesn’t help. Thankfully, no one reads my posts.
It’s hard, but so necessary. It helps me understand where I go wrong. I literally showed myself how quickly my brain spirals and how soooooo many fallouts could have been avoided had I just took a beat and not let my anxious thoughts take the reins. This habit of mine doesn’t just damages bonds, it keeps me from being my best self by allowing me to rely on doing what’s easy, cutting them off, over what’s right, putting in the work to save a friendship.
It also helps me acknowledge that it’s not always them, sometimes it’s me. At some point while reading this you might’ve thought, “if you have to keep cutting people off, maybe you’re the problem.” Exactly, maybe I am. Taylor Swift was onto something when she said, “I’m the problem, it’s me.” I can acknowledge that. I don’t deny my fault in my fractured relationships even a bit. I can be difficult at times; I’m not always a good friend. And sometimes it’s not just the difficulty of navigating conflict that I’m avoiding, it’s facing the consequences of my own actions that I want to avoid.
And so, this much-needed and long overdue self-reflection has been the first step of addressing my avoidant nature. I have a pretty good idea of how to proceed from here. The first step: don’t let my thoughts spiral out of control. Calm down, breathe, don’t fire the nukes just yet. There are so many things you haven’t tried yet and you’re already blocking their profiles across every platform, stop that!!
The second: accept that sometimes friendships go through shit, that’s what happens in every relationship. Doesn’t mean that every time you have a tiff with a buddy you need to push the block button. Respectfully address the issue, sincerely apologize, don’t repeat the behavior that led to the issue, and move on from it. Water under the bridge.
The third: it’s not always them. Put on your big girl pants and admit when you’ve messed up. Full stop. Every conflict you get into isn’t the result of someone else’s actions. Take a step back and think about how you played your part in the conflict. Don’t shy away from being called out. When you know better, you do better; take the experience of being held accountable and use it to better your interactions with your loved ones in the future.
Finally: stop being so damn avoidant. If this person is your friend, surely you can talk through your issue with them before deciding to go no contact. Organize your thoughts and set aside some time to just talk to them. It’s going to be uncomfortable, sure, but so is going to the dentist and you (should) do that twice a year. A little chat with a buddy shouldn’t be nearly as hard as some stranger poking around your mouth with sharp instruments.
Before I end this post, I feel it necessary to put a little asterisk that this entire rant is (obviously) not applicable to every conflict in every relationship. There are some cases where surely it is 100% warranted for one party to go no contact after one instance. These words are simply my realization about my own relationships and how my avoidance often gets in the way of effective, meaningful conflict resolution.
With all that being said, my broken relationships will stay in the past. I’ve got no desire to patch things up, and I’m fine with the decision I made with those individuals. However, because it’s necessary for my personal growth and the longevity of my current relationships, I will take the lessons I learned from the past and apply them moving forward. I owe it to myself and my loved ones to put in the work to be a less avoidant, more openly communicative friend.