When you lose your best friend over a bad relationship, it’s usually because they think eliminating you from their lives will solve the problem. They get defensive when you try to offer advice, even though they asked for it in the first place. They justify why that person isn’t so bad after all. They say they’re going to do one thing, and then they do another – it’s like they morph into a different person completely.
There’s only so long you can go on just trying to offer a comforting shoulder or some words of advice. There’s only so long you can see your best friend suffer and not start to tell them, you need to get out. There’s only so much drama you can withstand before you have to get out of the way, too. You might be villainizing yourself because you think you pushed your friendship away by being honest, but that’s not what broke you.
When someone has a toxic relationship in their lives, they often have to isolate themselves away from anyone who would be a voice of reason. It’s the only way that relationship can continue to function.
When you are that voice for someone, it can be easy to think that you were the one who did something wrong. After all, you are the one with unreturned phone calls. You are the one second-guessing their actions. You are the one who feels broken up with in the end.
When best friendships end over bad relationships, it always turns ugly. The insults become personal because there’s no real counter-argument. They know you’re right and yet they cannot allow you to be.
They call you jealous and insecure and a slew of other things that they know will trigger you. Most of the time, they don’t really mean it – they’re just reaching for anything to shut you up and make you believe the problem is you.
It’s a hard lesson, but it’s an important one: People will not change until they want to change. You cannot force them to see reason until they’re ready to see it. If they want to push you away, they will. If they need to blame you, they’re going to. People are webs of need and at the core of them is usually some kind of deep knot of romantic love. Often, when people get stuck in these kinds of bad relationships, it’s because they have conflicting internal desires, and they are the only ones who can rectify them.
You cannot force someone to exit a bad relationship even if your argument is completely valid and you are ultimately very correct about your assessment. You cannot force them to see the light until they want to. You cannot make them let go until they are ready to. You have to allow them to grow for themselves, be uncomfortable on their own, and figure it out autonomously. Nothing else will work.
Sometimes, being someone’s best friend means being the only one willing to give tough love. Sometimes, it means being the only one who will say what everyone else is thinking. Sometimes, it means being the only one who doesn’t prioritize ‘avoiding confrontation’ over speaking up when something really needs to be said. It means being the one who cares more about someone’s well being than you do your own comfort.
Sometimes, it means being willing to accept their choices, even if you don’t agree with them. Sometimes, it means having the courage to walk away to make a point. Sometimes, it means being grateful for the time you had together but realizing you value different things and are now on different paths.
Sometimes, the person you really have to save is just yourself.