Recently, I’ve separated from someone I’d been very close to for 10 whole years. It wasn’t a romantic partner. It wasn’t a family member nor a mentor, although both roles fit the description at times. Family more often than not.
I lost my best friend.
And I lost her after months of avoiding conflict, which only ended up escalating it when it finally came down to it. When I think about it, though, it wasn’t only a few months that I was hiding my real feelings — it’s been years since I started establishing this sort of behaviour, this phobia of any conflict whatsoever.
It’s been years since I properly argued, since I fought back, fought for my own self rather than for peace within the friendship.
Watch: Best friends: translated. Post continues below.
She got used to crossing my boundaries. Because I didn’t stop her. Because I didn’t properly tell her where exactly they were. Because every single time we had a fight, I ended up thinking about how upset she was, how I had to make it up to her, how I wanted her to calm down, come back and make peace with me. I didn’t think about my anger, my hurt feelings or how I could care for myself.
I’m a people-pleaser at the core, and it shows.
Avoiding conflict in relationships is often what breaks them, slowly, invisibly, until one day, you realise that you feel hollow inside, that you don’t have a say, that you need to take a break from the other person only to find yourself again.
If you don’t tell them and start distancing yourself away from them without any explanation, though, they will eventually explode at you — and the whole strategy backfires. You’re right in the middle of the conflict, crying, getting drunk, ranting about them to everyone, living with that dark anger bubbling underneath your skin for weeks to come.