Taking The High Road

Take the high road
Photo by Tim Walker.

“So I made the mistake of falling for my best friend. Which usually can be quite the beautiful thing but in this case, we drove each other mad to the point where I was slamming doors in his face and he was screaming out my window à la Streetcar Named Desire. And then some.

My initial question was, how do I salvage this friendship? I never wanted him to not be in my life, I simply thought my life could have been more full if he was my lover. However, he explicitly said he never wanted to talk to me again, so my first question is rendered useless. Since we both go to a small college, I see him on campus almost every day. And it’s gut-wrenchingly awkward (death stares on his part, turtling into my coat on my part), to the point where it almost makes me cry at times. The more appropriate query would be how do I deal with such interactions? I’ve been declining invitations to parties where I’ll know he’ll be just so I don’t have to see him more than on a path. This seems utterly ridiculous but is my current solution.”

I suppose the first thing I would say is that you shouldn’t allow his inability to be civilised to control your life. I quoted Viktor E. Frankl in a recent article, but what he said is so great that it bears repeating.

“Between stimulus & response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth & our freedom.” — Viktor E. Frankl

Basically what this means is that ultimately, you have absolute, total responsibility for the way your life goes. Other people will act however they like, you can’t change other people. But choosing to allow them to mess up your life is just that: a choice. No one has any power over you unless you give it to them. So the way that you are feeling right now is part of a choice you’ve made.

I don’t blame you for that, though. It is normal to feel the way you do. It is awful when a friendship goes awry — it can shake you to your core & leave you lying awake in the night, wracking your brains as you try to work out what you did wrong. All of this stuff is par for the course. But you & only you have the power to decide when this situation stops controlling your life. If you have a penchant for self-flagellation, you could easily allow this awkward state of affairs to continue until one or both of you leaves college — but why would you want to do that to yourself?

The best thing you can do for your own sanity & self-respect is to take the high road. That might sound kind of confusing, but here is a decoder ring to taking the high road. It means you don’t dignify the other person’s behaviour with a response.

Now, just so we’re clear — saying “I’m ignoring you now!” is a response. Yammering on about how much you “don’t care” about their behaviour to your girlfriends is a response. Rolling your eyes at them is a response, too! Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we’re not responding when actually we are. No response means no response. It means that the offending person could dance around you naked whooping & yelling & you’d just keep walking.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. In order to get to this stage you need to do a bit of emotional heavy-lifting. You need to grieve the friendship you had — it might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. The end of a friendship can be a devastating thing, especially if it’s done on such horrific terms. Choose a time-frame. For example, you might choose to get a bit pouty over it for a week. Read your old email conversations, listen to your favourite songs, have a wallow. Wear black, cry, yell & carry on (err, in private!). As the week draws to a close, you’ll realise it is very much time to pack it in, get over it, switch modes. So move on.

I’d also suggest using EFT to deal with the emotional bracken surrounding the demise of your friendship. You might be feeling a barrage of conflicting emotions, such as guilt, regret, sorrow, embarrassment, anger, shame & fear, & EFT is the best way I’ve found to deal with anything like that. Click here to learn more.

Once your grieving & emotional madness is over, it’s over. There’s no looking back. Well, there is if you want to, but there’s not much point. (“Don’t torture yourself, Gomez! That’s my job.”) You just need to get on with your life.

Hold your head up high — don’t respond to his Super High Drama Factor behaviour. Go out & have fun! Go to any parties you like — whether he is there or not. Kick ass in your exams. Have a Spring romance. Buy a devastating new lipstick. Discover some new bands. Go on a road-trip. Start writing a novel. Paint your bedroom.

It’s your life, & it always has been. Even when he was temporarily holding the reins, it was still yours. You can shape it so that it is anything you want. We are only ever limited by our own perceptions — I hope that’s as great a comfort to you as it is to me.