1. Because they don’t want you to grow.
Every time you make an attempt to better yourself, they do their best to pull you back down to their level. When you try to quit smoking, they push cigarettes on you.
“Don’t be so boring!” they say.
They badger you to go out drinking when you’re on a detox.
“Just one drink,” they say.
They tease you when you say that this is the year you’re going to write your book, or start a business, or run the New York marathon.
“Not that again,” they say, eyes rolling. “Sure. You’re writing a ‘book’.”
They want you to do well, but not that well. They want you to believe in yourself, but not really. Not like, believe in yourself. They want you to need them to believe in you because it makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel like they have something going for them. Because they don’t have much going for them. It scares them, that you don’t need their approval because they need yours. They need everybody’s approval.
Why are you like this, that you are able to validate yourself from some mysterious internal source? They’re not going to let you get away with it easily. But there are enough things on planet earth holding you back, so you hope they leave. You hope they run away, these scurrilous scolding our mouths. The last thing you need is a pack that holds you back.
2. Because you’re tired.
They say things like “You know I’d never tell your secrets, right?” when you’ve just arrived at brunch and barely had a chance to look at the menu. But they’re still fucking talking. “You know that I’ll always be your friend, no matter what happens. Through good times and bad.”
You look at them over the menu, and you wonder why they’re defending themselves against a crime you haven’t accused them of, and also, why you can’t order eggs before we get to all this deep shit. You also know that a guilty conscience screams to be heard.
You’re tired of pretending that you don’t know that they’re lying to your face, about a million stupid things, and a million important ones. You’re tired of keeping the peace because you’ve got bigger things to focus on, and you couldn’t be bothered with the drama you know will erupt if you confront them with their own bullshit. Because the last time you did that, it didn’t end well. Because you’re always the bad guy for talking about the bad things, even though you didn’t do the bad things. It’s always your fault.
And dear sweet Lord, it’s making you want to put vodka in your orange juice.
You’re tired of listening to them spin whenever they get caught out. You’ve got better things to think about. You’re zoning out. You’re wondering if the waiter is single. The croissants at the bakery counter have caught your eye. You do love a croissant.
3. Because you’ve grown and they haven’t.
Once upon a time, you were both fucked up. But you decided to get your shit together and focus the time you spent being negative on building a better future for yourself. You started turning away from things that didn’t serve you and began consciously creating a better life for yourself. It was hard. It took a lot of effort. It involved affirmation cards and meditation and journaling and all the things they think are like, so lame. You worked to get to this positive space, and now that you’re happy, you want to protect this sacred holy ground of hard-won peace. They didn’t put in the work, and now they see how this has worked out for you, and secretly they resent you for it. Or not so secretly. But you’ve grown beyond getting caught up in other people’s’ issues. You’ve learned about boundaries. How they feel about your success is their problem, not yours. Fuck off, you think to yourself. Please.
4. Because it’s always about what you can do for them.
When you stop to think about it, they’ve never really come to the party. Or when they have, it’s because you paid for the Uber to get them there. You’ve always been the giver, and they’ve always been the taker. It’s the giant golden Damien Hirst mammoth in the room, and even though they think you don’t realize this, you do, and you marvel at how naïve another person can be that they’d take you for such a fool. It’s become a bit of a joke between your new self and your old self. But it’s not a show you want to spend your free time watching. See point three. Better artists write better comedy, and you’d rather give your money and your time to creatives who bust their asses to write good scripts, not mediocre chumps who turn you into the punchline.
5. They have zero integrity, and you don’t trust them for shit.
They’ll say they’ll take care of something, but you’ll have to do it in the end. They’ll invite you over for dinner, but you’ll end up cooking it. They’ll take you for a birthday treat, but you’ll end up paying for it. They’ll claim to be your best friend, but they’ll bitch about another person who they also claim is a best friend. They’ll hold others to ruthless standards while cheating on their SO. They’ll make a million promises, but never see any of them through. They say one thing, but they do the opposite. They think you’re naïve enough not to see any of this, which implies that they think you’re stupid. What you’re really thinking is: you’re a fucking mess. Go to therapy, you’re not fooling anyone. But you don’t say it because even though they’re a shitshow, you still respect their boundaries. You just quietly move away from them and say a prayer for those still within their radius of destruction.
6. Because they’ve fucked you over before. Badly.
They’ve slept with your ex. They’ve spread rumors about you, to make themselves look powerful and in-the-know. They’ve spilled your deepest secrets while they were drunk. And it’s all gotten back to you, and they haven’t had the guts to confess any of it, but they can happily pretend that nothing’s happened with a pathological cool that makes you think: you’re a fucking sociopath. And maybe they are. Leave me, you think. Get the fuck out of my life, you fucking psycho. And then you get back to your goals. Because who needs that shit.
7. Because you’ve given them a million chances, but still.
You’ve really tried. You’ve listened. You’ve given advice. You’ve taken advice. You’ve offered them a safe space, even as they’ve confessed the crimes they’ve committed. But no matter what you do, they don’t want to accept your love. They are happier bathed in poison, stewing in the idea that life is unfair, and somehow everyone else around them has got the better hand. This allows them to justify why they’re such dicks and absolves them of facing the fact that they might have problems. Because they’ll do anything to avoid facing the fact that they have serious problems. They’ll also do anything to avoid accepting that only they can change their lives. That state of mind feels like a million light years ago for you. You’ve moved on. It’s over.
8. Because you’ve realized you don’t actually like them.
It’s taken you a while to get here, but after all the thinking and growing you’ve done, you’re not sure why you’re in each other’s lives anymore. You don’t have much in common, except for a few superficial interests. You both like cat memes. You both hate off-the-shoulder dresses. But at your cores, you approach life very differently. You’ve realized you’re carrying them, and they’re constantly sucking the energy out of you. You feel tired after spending time with them. They’re constantly taking passive aggressive digs at you, and when you call them on it, they erupt in a burst of defensive negativity, or they turn it around and pretend you’re the problem. This isn’t nice person behavior. You don’t like them. And you’re pretty sure they don’t like you. Why do they want to be around you? Who knows. There’s the door. Don’t let it whack your nasty ass on the way out, you think.
9. Because they’re passive-aggressive.
They’re always late because their time is more important than yours. They don’t respect your boundaries and are constantly pushing yours to see how much they can get away with. They don’t respect the boundaries of the people in your life and are constantly causing chaos in your social circles. They set situations up to be awkward for you and your friends, and then bask in the drama that ensues because it gives them fodder for negative conversations for weeks to come. They act as if they don’t know what they’re doing, and pretend to be innocently unaware of the pain they’re causing those around them. It’s ugly. You want them to go away. Go away and don’t come back.
10. Because you’ve already left.
You’re done with fucked-up friendships, in which you wonder whether the person who calls you a friend really is one. You’re done with relationships that leave you with second-guess emotional-admin work long after the person has left the room. You’re done with someone who’s supposedly on your side, lying to your face. Sometimes they’re small little lies, sometimes big fat super-size ones. You’re done with not saying anything about that either so that it won’t be awkward for either of you. You’re done with them not knowing you know. And in your mind, you’ve left. But they don’t seem to have noticed, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference to them. Because who you are never really mattered to them. All that mattered was what you could do for them, how you could make them look better, feel better, be better. Because they can’t do any of that for themselves. And with all of that behind you, you feel relieved. Now if only they’d realize it, and GTFO and go sort their shit out. Because you’ve already gone. They just don’t know it yet.