What would it take for you to decide you despised your best friend? To what extent would your closest ally have to go in order to permanently alter your feelings towards them? What could they do that would bring into clear vision the fact that you cannot stand to spend another moment connected to them in any way?
Steal from you? Lie to you? Ruthlessly exploit your vulnerabilities? Hurt someone you love? Threaten to ruin you?
Most people will look the other way if their best friend lifts a fiver from their change jar. They’d probably say something at the $20 mark – maybe ask if their friend was in trouble and see if they could help. But how much is a friendship worth?
If your best friend told you they couldn’t make your lunch date for reasons you knew were untrue, you’d likely steam for a minute or two and then move on. If they made a habit of fibbing to you, you might ask them if anything was wrong. But is there a lie big enough to completely destroy the relationship?
I’ve had friends take advantage of me and still called them friends. I’ve defended friends to loved ones they have hurt in attempts to smooth things over without lasting damage. I simply don’t like to consider friendships terminated without very good reason. Because of this fact, I have probably endured more abuse than was necessary, but I’ve also finally come to learn about the true nature of friendship.
Yeah, yeah; it’s trite: The true nature of friendship is when you care about another more than you care about yourself. And even if you give yourself a break for being selfish and admitting you really love yourself best, at least you acknowledge that you truly care about another individual – that their happiness makes you happy and their sadness makes you sad. That’s friendship.
In light of this, I have realized the one thing that will make me turn my back on someone I once called friend is when that person reveals that, depending on their own personal situation, they would as soon see me ruined as see me happy. When someone who once claimed to love me can suddenly turn around and cavalierly state that they will stop at nothing to destroy me, I can't help but be reminded of something Maya Angelou said:
When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
If someone steals from you, it’s not unfair to assume that person is a thief.
If someone lies to you, it’s probably safe to assume that person is a liar.
And if someone threatens or exploits you, it’s probably a good idea to assume that person is not your friend.
It's nearly impossible for me to let a friendship die. But at least now I can have my closure without anguish or remorse because in this one particular case, there was never a friendship there to begin with. What I have let die was nothing but a lie.