Nkem Says: How Much Rope Should You Give a Friendship That’s No Longer Enjoyable?

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    “I am not perfect” That’s the first thing I say to anyone (potential bae or platonic being) who tries to get close to me. I like to prepare their mind for the reality of who I am, and possibly kill whatever perception or expectation they have of me.
    This is because people’s first impression of me is almost always “WOW, you are so awesome!” or “You are such a nice girl.” and while that is true, I also can be a tremendous bitch. Yes. I have my moments. I have weaknesses. I am not proud of them, but I am not about denying they exist or pretending I have a firm handle on them all. I accept them and continuously work on improving them.
    There is a thing I do: I tend to put my left foot forward when I meet someone new, rather than the right foot, as most people do. I show them the worst version of myself – my weakness, insecurities, and vulnerabilities- at least for the first 3 months. I like to believe that if they can survive at least 3 months of my “awful” self, they are in it for the long haul and most likely won’t bail the moment things start to go awry in future.
    I am someone who values relationships and I always give my best to ensure it succeeds. I do not give up easily and forgive a lot, so I had hoped doing this would ensure that the person’s effort will match mine eventually, when it is time to work on the relationship… but apparently, it is no guarantee.
    I recently had a heated argument with a friend I have known for over 10 years and have since wondered if I should keep making an effort, or just cut-off from her. Our friendship has been growing apart for some time now, but I have been unwilling to just let it go. This is because I have invested so much time in building the relationship and letting go just did not feel right. Again, I can be a sort of martyr when it comes to relationships; I find it hard to give up on people I love and value.
    The first day I met this friend, she had walked into my room in the hostel back them in Covenant University and said to me: “I think we should be friends, people say that we behave alike.”
    She was right too. She was as sassy and sarcastic as I was; loved to read books and watch cartoons/anime; loved to eat spicy food, e.t.c. It was easy to talk to her, and actually at some point I think we started communicating telepathically. More so, she knew how to handle the not-so-great part of me: she never brooded for too long, kicked up a fuss or swore to get back at me at any point. She stayed and loved me the way she knew to. Of course, she had her own excesses which I learned to condone. She was lazy, unambitious and super laid back with a massive sense of entitlement. There was also this thing where she liked to play the victim and use emotional blackmail. But I was also okay with all of that…or rather, I found a way to deal with all of that.
    The stretch in our friendship came when I gave her my opinion about her relationship. She had started dating her boss’ ex-boyfriend who we both had condemned for physically abusing the boss, before they broke up. She had told me about their first kiss and how it was just a silly joke, then about their first night together which was when she had asked my opinion and I gave it, uncensored, to her.
    After the episode, I was suddenly too blunt and rude. She started to lie about everything. These petty lies – that clearly showed that she considered me daft and unobservant – expanded into full-blown fabrications. There was so many misunderstandings and miscommunication…but in all, I would always put aside anger and disappointment and check up on her, being there for her, even when my pride demanded otherwise.
    I guess at some point, she felt that my insistence on servicing the relationship meant our friendship was beneficial to me in some way and she was doing me a favor by not officially giving up . In our last conversation where we had the argument, she said: “If you are going to keep saying things that remind me of your stand against my relationship, I’ll be forced to stop telling you things.”
    The statement kind of opened my eyes to the fact that the relationship had become toxic, and perhaps there was nothing to save. For someone, who is against the cut-off culture, I was surprised my first instinct was to silently withdraw from her. I had no desire for resolution whatsoever, I was just done.
    If you have given someone the benefit of the doubt, given them the opportunity to change and evolve, and given the relationship a fighting chance yet somehow, things still are not right after over 2 years, haven’t you really given it your all?
    Isn’t it okay at this point to quit with the efforts and cut-off from the person? At the point when it is clear the other person is unwilling recognise your effort, or they’re too toxic to make any effort themselves, it really is fair to stop lingering and admit that you’ve already checked out. Yes or no?


    Written by: Nkem Ndem

    Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews. She has since worked with Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, Bella Naija and Glam Africa. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and snapchat:@ndemv. Email: nkemndemv@gmail.com.

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