You knew each other’s crushes, she knew who was at the other end of your first kiss, you had a code word for when a parent entered the room, you have a sultry story of which you promised not to speak regarding that youth hostel in Latvia and the German and Australian crew (what happens in Riga stays in Riga!), and she cried when you got married, getting mascara all over her maid-of-honor dress.
And now something’s changed. You laugh at the memories, but the conversations don’t seem as deep and fulfilling as they used to be. You think differently about things now. Maybe you have gone a different spiritual path; maybe you just see another point of view now. You love her, but it’s not the same.
1. Communicate where you are
Let your friend know that you’re not in the same place you used to be. If she takes offense that you’re judging her life as if she has not grown, you can let her know that your path now is not a good or bad thing. It’s just different. If you still feel animosity from her, then...
2. Decide whether it’s time to let your friend go
How do you know when it’s time to let go? When you feel worse after talking to her, every time you talk. When you’re being honest and heart felt, does she say things like, “I just don’t know you anymore,” because she no longer understands your perspective? It’s okay to have a friend who doesn’t always understand you, but does she accept you, anyway? If she makes you feel guilty that you don’t think the same way as you did 10 years ago, then it may be time to move on. After all, the people in Nikola Tesla’s life a century ago probably just had to accept that this man thinks that we can communicate between countries with a device that fits in your vest pocket, and just went with it. Would your friend do that for you when you have “crazy” ideas?
3. Love her, lover her, love her
Realize that you can love her from afar, and limiting your contact with your friend does not mean that you have to hate her or that she did something wrong. In my life coaching practice, I often see people who come to me feeling guilty that they’ve disappointed a loved one, when they aren’t everything that person wants them to be. Remember, you aren’t doing anything wrong, when you take care of yourself. When your cup of the love you give yourself is overflowing, it’s easy to give love to your friend. Even if it’s at a distance, you can still wish her the best.
4. Body out of events gracefully
You don’t have to lie when your friend asks you to do things you just don’t want to do. You don’t have to blame a sick child or say you can’t get a babysitter. Just say, “that’s a no for me.” If you close your eyes and think about going to the event, and you feel heavy in your body, that’s a no. And a little no is still all no. If you feel light and smile when you think of going, then the great gauge of your emotional state that is your body is telling you yes.
5. Live as if your friend is one great ingredient in your soup of life
Just because you longer eat basil straight off the bunch, doesn’t mean that it’s not a great ingredient for your soup, which is comprised of all the ingredients that make who you are today. Be grateful for all the times talking until three in the morning, and even be grateful for the time when she accidentally ripped your favorite black jeans. It is experience. You are a multi-faceted being who now has great stories to tell of your multi-faceted friends who helped you get to the place you want to be.
She helped you get there, whether as a guide or by seeing something you did not want for your life – you became more clear.