Dear Barb—Tryhard Friends

Dear Barb:

I am just approaching my fortieth birthday and having a difficult time.  I am the mother of two teens.  My life seems to be changing so much and even my relationship with my husband is not what it used to be.  My kids are being typical teenagers: they have no interest in family times and would rather hang out with their friends.  I miss my old life.  The worst thing for me is the loss of my friendship with my best friend.  We have been friends since grade school and rarely had any problems until this last year.  It almost seems like she’s tired of hearing about my problems, even though I have always been there for her.  Jill is on her second marriage and has no kids, so she doesn’t seem to be able to relate to what I’m going through.  These differences never seemed to cause problems in our relationship in the past, so I don’t know why they are now.  We also seem to be growing apart in our views of life and living with Covid.  She seems to think the masks are useless and she said she is not taking the vaccine.  When I try to discuss these issues, we end up arguing and then not talking for a few weeks.  I am wondering if something I am doing, or not doing is causing my life to have changed so much, or does this seem to be the normal course of life.  Looking forward to your response, Michelle. 

Hi Michelle:

Thank you for writing and I am sorry you are having such a hard time.  I am going to try to address the issue that seems to be bothering you the most, which is your relationship with your friend.  Unfortunately friendships don’t always last throughout our lives, people change, circumstances change and consequently friendships change.  Maintaining a friendship for a lifetime requires a lot of work and understanding, which most people are not willing, or able to keep up.  There are a few common behaviours that will guarantee your relationship will not survive.  For example, relationships require give and take, and it’s not always 50/50, sometimes it’s 150/20 or 80/20, depending on what each person is going through.  If one person is always complaining and negative, it will impact the relationship to the point where the other person will begin to back away.  An ongoing conflict between two people because of different world views or beliefs is difficult to ignore.  Simply choosing to ignore the conflicts will not make them go away, they have to be discussed and resolved in a healthy manner.  Accepting the other person’s view, does not mean you agree with it, you simply accept their right to their opinion, while still maintaining your own.  Michelle I would suggest you stop trying so hard and just accept things as they are, sometimes resisting change makes things worse.  Hope I was able to help.

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