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

Nkem Ndem

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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?

Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for copywriting, editing and proofreading. She is also a content creator (web, T.V, radio) who has had stints with Jumia and SpiceTV Africa e.t.c. Now she works at Glam Africa as Online editor and BellaNaija as Features writer. E-mail: [email protected]; IG: @kem_dem; Twitter: @ndemv

10 Comments

  1. Tolu4show

    October 14, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Just let it go. 20 friends can’t play for 20 years. It’s the cycle of life.

  2. Bodunade

    October 14, 2017 at 7:37 am

    *Severing
    Friendship is not by forze..
    If you are angry your friend did not obey your clear instructions and it affected your relationship with them, who is to blame?

    She’s your friend, something very difficult to come by these days.
    Withdraw but don’t cut her off, when she is ready to obey her master she will be back.

  3. mystery

    October 14, 2017 at 10:07 am

    this spoke to me. i am someone who holds on to friendship especially when we have come a long way.but lately i discovered that when you hold on to someone they kinda have this feeling they are doing you a huge favor and gives them the right to be rude.. i just simply withdraw myself..

  4. Baiby

    October 14, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Do what ever makes you sleep well at night. But withdrawal is sometimes better than cutting off. Cutting off sounds more like malice, atleast let us be cordial when we see. And note: baby girl is just in love for now

  5. Neil Strauss

    October 14, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Let me ask a question real quick: 6 years ago, a friend was accused of rape by a girl he was asking out then. The case dragged for a while and messed up the guy but they settled out of court somehow and I heard the girl got paid because this friend is loaded financially.

    Six years plus one wife and one son after, the guy is still doing good plus updating on Instagram all the luxury life, travelling, dinner and all the normal pepper dem gang posts. The accuser suddenly come say back and wants to bring up the case to make the guy pay for his crime. Although no lawyer has been involved on both the accuser and accusee(?) sides, does she really have a stand/chance?

    P.S: we still don’t know if he did it or not because no one talked about it plus he’s kind of like a public figure and would rather pay than have this get out. And it happened in USA.

    • Hanee

      October 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Your friend need to get a good lawyer. There is no way the story won’t come out because the lady will keep coming back for more checks and at a long run the story will definitely come out. All he need is a good lawyer and family support

  6. Debby

    October 14, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    First I must start by saying ,Nkem u do have a good command of English, superb write up..
    Back to the matter I have come to realize that no matter how u try some relationships will not just work . It takes two to tango and d bible clearly says can two work together unless they agree?
    If the relationship is getting toxic let it go.Its not peculiar to u alone ,it happened to me also

  7. Friendship is bae

    October 15, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Nkem,
    You should learn not to make constant references about your friend’s relationship. She also should not come to you for advise since you don’t like the bf. That should be a no go area for both of you since your friendship to that point has been okay.

    @ Neil, after course settlement why is she coming back to make him pay? Since it’s in the US, a good lawyer and family support is what is needed.

  8. Emeka

    October 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    It’s always easy to put the blame on ur partner whenever their is something wrong in a relationship/friendship, u kind of outlined ur friend’s fault more than u outlined urs. As someone up there said, friendship is not by force. Maybe u need to examine what’s pissing ur friend off and start avoiding it, u could give the friendship a last chance.

    • Queen

      October 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      I agree with you here. The writer needs to avoid talking about her friend’s relationship. My bestie dated one of the most untrustworthy and manipulative guy I know. He was my class rep, so I knew him better before they started but she went on with it and I had to be able to live that. She never talks about them to me and I never ask, so she’s in love and our friendship intact

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