Sunday, 20 March 2016

SHAKE IT OFF| Finding Freedom after Fraudulent Friendships

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift ♫♪

I wasn't going to upload this post until I read this amazing post about friendship breakups. It hit home so much, that I was compelled to share with you guys what's been going on with me.
There comes a time when you outgrow certain friends and vice versa.
It's super hard to walk away, but it's really brave and like I've found, it can turn out to be the best thing you can do...
The past five or six months have been incredibly tough for me. Along with final year uni stress, I've had major health issues too, which have made life that extra bit harder.
It's times like those when you need good friends around to support you, call you and try to make you feel better, when you feel like poop and start to withdraw.
But unfortunately for me, when things got tough, some of those friends were nowhere to be seen.
Instead of concern and compassion, I was ignored to the point where the awkwardness was too much. So, to save my sanity, I decided to cut them off completely.

To be totally honest with you, I was incredibly hurt because if it was the other way around, I would have been there for them, making sure they were okay. That's not even the role of a best friend, but that of a decent person.

A part of me tried to hold on for as long as I could in order to find out what the hell was wrong, but then I decided that I couldn't be dealing with that kind of stress on top of everything else I was going through.

Instead of genuine texts to find out how I was, I received weird, calculated texts - a icebreaker psychological test to see if I was still in their good books. A light-hearted reply = yes, no response = the friendship was dead. I chose the latter because I'm not a fake-ass, fraudulent friend.

In a non-romantic way, I was heart-broken. Heart broken because after all the hilarious times and strong bonds formed, the support and kindness was just ripped from beneath me - out of nowhere. The bonds just fizzled out when I became unwell.
For the weeks that followed, I was lost in friendship limbo and utterly miserable. 
Who are my real friends? Should I try to reach out one last time and find out what's going on? Should I just leave it? Why aren't I good enough anymore? These were the questions that flooded my brain every day for about two months - pretty unhealthy, right?

The thing that saddens me most is that I started to doubt myself and withdraw. I didn't want to go to class, because I wouldn't know if I was welcome to sit with the usual friends. But I didn't want it to look like something was wrong, so I often just bit the bullet and sat there in a silent, psychological prison
I could tell from some of their faces, voices and body language that I was no longer welcome.
I felt like even though I was struggling, I was the one who had let the friendship die and I was the one who didn't make the effort.
And when I did sit with them, they would not talk to me for the full 2-3 hour lecture, turning their backs to me (I'm quite observant when it comes to body language), and then have the NERVE at the end of class to say "hey".
So was I invisible for those few hours, or nah?

It was at that point when I realised that I'd outgrown those particular people. I was no longer compatible with their ideals and behaviour. I realised that this friendship had been completely one-sided, not fake, asuch, but it had no real substance anymore.

So, what did I do?
I can't believe I'm quoting Taylor Swift, but it fits so well...I decided to SHAKE IT OFF!
I shook them off completely and fought back with forgiveness.
I shook off their cowardice and chose to keep calm and collected.
I shook off the bitchy rumours I was hearing and killed them with kindness instead.

Guys, let me tell you something,
Shaking it off and no longer caring has been the most liberating thing I have ever done.
I sit with whoever, I talk to whoever and it's something I've missed doing that! Some people even mentioned that I was unapproachable before, but now I'm hanging around different circles, it's much easier to chill with me. 

I honestly had no idea it was like that until I was told upfront.

A lot of the people we keep closest to us dont always have our best interests in mind. Yet we keep dragging the friendship along due to comfort - we don't know anything else and sometimes don't want to make new friends again because it feels like starting from scratch.
Not belonging to a group or (dare I say it...) a clique doesn't mean you don't belong. 

I can't lie to you, I did think long and hard about maybe airing some of their secrets and personal stuff/gossiping about them as a way of 'payback'. After all, I felt humiliated, so why shouldn't they feel it too?
But then I decided that if I did that, what kind of person would that make me?
What would give me the right to be preaching about bad friendships when I would be just as bad or even worse?
Me shaking them off doesn't mean they are off the hook and that I'm "weak".
I choose to remain loyal even when perhaps, it's not deserved.
Because I know it's the right thing to do and I know that the Lord was teaching me a lesson here.
I had to reach rock-bottom before I realised that He is the rock at the bottom. He brings blessing in the most miraculous ways, and this was one of them.

I know some of the people I'm referring to in this post read my blog and will think this post defamatory, but I don't give a shit. 

You should know by now that I write about everything - good or bad in my life. I'm trying to be an open book both online and offline, and it's hard to take then that's your problem.  
You can make of this what you will, but I'll never hate you or even dislike you, because I'm beyond and above all of that.
This is super important to me and I am done putting your feelings above my own *flicks weave*.
With that said, you need to look at your dodgy personalities and make some serious changes, because you're bad friends and it's better you read it on here privately than have people leave you out in the cold in adult life.
For your own sakes, leave your shit at undergrad stage and choose to go forward as better people. People will like you more and gravitate towards your warmth, I promise.

Now for the rest of us, we need to look at the people we surround ourselves with and ask:

Do they have my best interests at heart?
When all we talk about is gossip and mutual dislikes of other people, is that really a friendship?
When good things happen to me, are they cheering me on and genuinely excited for me?
Can we both/all take part in something without it becoming a competition?
When they bitch to me about other people in the friendship group and mask it as 'concern', are we really being good friend, or frauds?
When I go through a tough time and they hesitate to support me, is that really a healthy friendship?
Do they encourage and motivate me?
Do they inspire me?
Do your friends actually know me, understand/appreciate me?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, I really recommend taking a step back and really thinking out whether these people are good pals. Don't waste your time and awesomeness on shitty people, please, I'm begging you!

The quality of friendship is more important than the quantity and at 22 years of age, I really should have realised that before now. Because it got to a point where I prefered to be alone than spend another second in the company of false friends - harsh, but true.
It's been a hard couple of months, but that's life, and most of the time, we have no control over it.
All I know is that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
So when you shake them off and remove that consent, their power is gone. It's at that moment when despite feeling like you've lost, you've won... and boy, is the prize worth the pain.



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