12.16.18 - "The Mutual Fizzle, and The Death-Match"

Dear Sweet Babe,

Today I want to talk to you about friendship.

Friends are, to put it simply, a blessing; the family you choose; your ride or die sisters from other misters and brothers from other mothers; your kindred spirits. They will help you to shoulder your burdens through empathy and counsel, lending their time and effort. They will support you through your lowest lows, offering their shoulder to cry on, and keep you grounded through your highest highs, reminding you of the greatness you’ve always held. Friends are important, because, well frankly, while our family will not always be near us, our friends will always be around us to witness our lives; to assure us that we will not live an unexamined life.
Friends can also afford us a metaphoric scratching posts for us to sharpen our skills upon. Through the example they provide of just being their wonderful selves they help us to grow and learn. Through our care for their well-being we are lead to find our best selves by being better friends to them. Friends cudgel with love and cajole with sarcasm. Friends give us the sweetest memories through their company, and provide us with companions on the road of life, holding our scrapbook, our road map, and our compass in their capable hands.

But, friendship takes a lot of work. The thing is, no one comes into the world ready to be a good friend. As babies we are all self-centered beings. It’s by no fault of our own, and it’s not a terrible thing to be so selfish when we’re so young. We have to concern ourselves with staying alive and learning how to simply be in the world. But, friendship building is an important step, and, if I do say so myself, a step that is best taken early on. We have to learn how to love and trust others, how to pick those that we want to surround us, and how to balance motivation and acceptance in dealing with those we’ve picked.
Friendship, mostly, takes trust and faith. You will have to trust that friends love you, and have your best interests in mind. You will have to trust that you are indeed lovable, and that your friends are able to see why you are. You will have to have faith, when certain friends leave you, that you can and will find new people who will help you to progress through your life. You have to have faith that you can remember to help them in return. Because, unfortunately, there are no guarantees to when or how those friends will come into your life, or when/if they will leave.

So, how do you know when a friendship is ending? 

Well, there are two paths a friendship can take when it’s ending. There is the mutual fizzle, and the death-match to the grave. The mutual fizzle is when two people allow their contrasting schedules to lead them apart. They both agree, usually separately, that they are alright with not seeing each other any more, and they simply part ways. The death-match is almost the exact same…except one side of the friendship doesn’t agree to part ways. The death match is often marked by intense and heated discussions or arguments, hurt feelings flying back and forth, and some pretty strong truths and opinions being lobbed from both sides.
Both paths of ending are differentiated by the question: when do you stop fighting for a friendship?
Well, friendships are meant to be productive. Like all social interaction, one of the main reasons human beings participate in friendships is to make ourselves better at surviving in our modern social world. By becoming better at relating to others, solving our problems with the aid of others, or at simply supporting our fellows we are ensuring that when times are hard we will not be alone in our fight to survive; to continue. That is the basis of friendship…so, if a friendship isn’t helping you to be better at surviving, then it’s time to reconsider participating in that relationship. If you are only indulging in base wants and wallowing in unproductive behaviors with friends, then you might need to reconsider your friendships.

But, who am I if I’m not friends with certain people?

I agree, the mutual fizzle does sound much sweeter, but both ways of ending a friendship are equally tragic in their own right. Y’see, whenever we end a friendship we are entering a period of grief, a time of loss. Sometimes the grieving for the person you’ve lost is short and sweet, sometimes it’s long and arduous, going through every individual stage of grief. But, no matter the ease of the grieving (or lack thereof), we must find a way to come to terms with who we are without those people. We must reconnect with ourselves, who we are as individuals, and journey forward in life with that faith that we will find new friends that will journey with us on our next stretch of road.

Friends come and friends go, sweet babe. The friends you make at first will not always be the friends who stick by you, or even the friends you want to stay by your side. We are on a twisting and winding path through life, but, if you continue to work hard on being the best you can be, and if you trust that you are already quite great, you will always find friends to guide you, journey with you, and love you.


Erik SchneiderComment