“You don’t know me.”

I came to a hard decision this week. I walked away from someone I’d considered a friend for half my life. But I’d realized: this so-called friend had no idea who I was.

A few weeks ago, this friend- or, rather, this person was telling me about someone in their family who had started to write an epic fantasy story. He’d step away from the table after dinner, my peer informed me, and say, “I haven’t written today, and I need to sit down for a few hours.” I commended that dedication, because it sounded so familiar to me. Upon being questioned regarding his desire to write a story, the young man informed this person that he wanted to become a rich and famous writer. Then, my long-time acquaintance said, “He’s the only person I know who’s ever been really dedicated to writing.”

I have never been struck so speechless as I’d been at that moment.

I couldn’t believe it: here was someone who’d known me since we were basically kids. I’ve been writing stories through that whole time. But because my end goal isn’t to be rich and famous, I didn’t even register on this person’s radar as a writer, or even a storyteller. That’s when I knew: I might have been a friend to this person for all those years – I’d listened to the school and job and relationship trials and lent the sympathetic ear – but they hadn’t been a friend to me. I’d been merely a project to them, a person to mold in similar image. When I’d gone my own path, when I wasn’t interested in being something they could fix, I wasn’t anything to them any longer.

I don’t have a lot of friends. I’ll miss having one I thought was so close. But, I’ve felt a lot of love around me, especially through this past year. Why waste time on someone who doesn’t have my back?

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22 thoughts on ““You don’t know me.”

  1. And the fact that they made that comment to you at all seems like a deliberate dig at you. I’m guessing you must have had doubts for a while about this person, but was maybe in denial about that, and then that one sentence she uttered confirmed what you had been trying to not think! It’s hard when you have to break off a relationship like that, takes strength.

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    • Thanks, Vanessa. It’s been hard coming to this decision, but I think it’s the right one. Not just because of the writing thing, but my trust in this person has slowly but steadily gone away over the years.

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    • Thanks, Gabriela. The steps I’ve already taken on this journey keep pointing me in the direction of fulfillment rather than fame. Not that an artist can’t have both – I follow a few writers who have even managed that – but it just doesn’t interest me. I’m sure some people think there’s a level of personal cowardice in that decision, and there probably is. I just can’t be somebody else’s project, anymore.

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  2. Congratulations on a brave decision. It’s hard to call time on a friendship – especially one that has spanned so many years – but sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Now that you don’t have this “friend” to stifle you, and to drain your time, you’ll probably find other friendships blossoming in unexpected places…. not to mention having more time for writing!

    I’ve never met you, but even I know how much your writing means to you, and how dedicated you are, which just shows how self-centred your friend must have been not to have noticed. You are better wothout them in your life, even though yo may miss them for a while.

    Big hugs xx

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    • Thanks, Sally-Jayne. πŸ™‚
      It actually doesn’t hurt as much as I’d thought it would do…which is probably a sign this had been brewing a long while.

      Everybody has their passions, and everyone enjoys and employs them to different degrees. I’m just hoping to find other people who are willing to let me be who I am, instead of what they think I should be in their world.

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  3. I feel bad for you. It’s hard to break up with friends you’ve known for such a long time. I envy people who have such lasting friendships. At the same time, I don’t think people realize what they have. They’re quick to trash a relationship as soon as someone announces something that throws his world out of alignment.

    Sometimes, it takes courage to end a relationship when you realize that person turns out to be detrimental to you and what you value, especially, as you said, they try to project their beliefs and goals onto you and expect you to follow along. Those kind of friendships are not worth keeping. I know people who complain about their friends, yet do nothing to make their own lives better by severing ties for good. They re-enter a relationship that is toxic.

    While I envy people who have relationships that stood the test of time, I wonder about those who stay in toxic relationships because they don’t see the need or have the courage to end it. I applaud you for having the courage to do so.

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    • Thanks, George.
      I can’t understand how people stay in detrimental relationships, either. I can sympathize with the pain or the problems, but I don’t have any personal knowledge, so I always feel lame trying to connect.

      Admittedly, this probably sounds like a minor thing to end a friendship over. And, I don’t know if I’ll shut this person out of my life entirely. I can still be an acquaintance; we can still chat about the weather, school, families or whatever. But, it will always be that sort of superficial connection from now on. I just don’t want to invest my genuine interest in someone who doesn’t reciprocate.

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  4. I’m sorry that you had to terminate such a long friendship, but I do hope that this person realizes that they lost a great friend due to their mistakes.

    I do hope that everything works out in the end. Maybe you’ll find an even better friend that will reciprocate the friendship the way you do. Or, maybe you’ll get even closer with a friend you already have.

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  5. Wow, and I literally just finished writing to you about Starscream…
    Moments like that are some of the deepest cuts to bear. To be put down or verbally knocked back is one thing, but at least the other party acknowledges you exist. To be outright dismissed as if you were the breeze unnoticed by a rock…there’s such an empitness there.
    Well, from my little corner of the writing desk known as Earth, you are definitely a writer, and a damn good one. And there are clearly several others here who agree. We love the stories you tell, it’s just that simple.

    Hope all is well now!

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  6. Sorry you had to end a long friendship. It’s never easy even when you realize the person doesn’t know you and support you the way you do them. Hugs. It struck me as ridiculous that was how he defined a serious writer because most serious writers would laugh at anyone wanting to get rich and famous from writing. It might happen. But if it’s why a person is writing, they are very likely to be bitterly disappointed. For every breakout hit, there are 100,000+ writers toiling away in obscurity.

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    • Thanks, Kourtney. πŸ™‚

      I love writing. But, I really like my day job, too. Which is probably a good thing, because I can’t even get drafts ready to the point where they’re worthy of an editorial look. LOL! This person has always been more concerned with impressing others and climbing a corporate/management ladder than doing a good job, though, so I probably should have recognized this issue sooner than I did.

      It just feels good to be able to move on.

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      • I think you have the best of both worlds. Rarely do people get to have a day job they like and also know what they are passionate about doing.

        I bet you just cared enough to overlook the issue. πŸ™‚ Glad moving on is going good!

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  7. Wow, I can’t believe a “friend” could say such a thing. But I can imagine how stunned and hurt I would be if someone said something similar to me. Good for you for having the courage to say enough is enough. Life is too short to spend time with people who aren’t as interested in us and our lives as we strive to be in theirs.

    Have no fearβ€”I and the other bloggers who follow you know that you are a dedicated writer. No matter what some people might think, publication is not a requirement of being a writer!

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    • Thanks, JM. πŸ™‚

      This person has always been good at forming plans and executing them for success…but their measure of success didn’t match mine. Sure, I’m still chasing that elusive goal of writing the perfect story to share. But, I’m more interested in the learning journey than I am in any trophy at the end.

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  8. That ‘friend’ had her/his head up the arse when it came to you, Mayumi. I’m gutted for you because I have had to deal with a similar situation. I know the feeling, and I’m sorry it happened to you. However, you did the right thing by ending the friendship, thus opening yourself up to other relationships that are healthier and more supportive. You are a very dedicated writer, and you know just as well as other dedicated writers, that dedication has nothing to do with fame or fortune.

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    • Thanks, Kate.

      I actually did connect with someone recently who shares similar interests. We talk a lot about story and craft, and it’s a great feeling, to be reminded I’m not as alone as I sometimes think. πŸ™‚

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  10. Aww, that shit is hard. I hate trying to tell someone that I don;t want to be friends with them. It’s usually people like this one who are just sort of… a loose definition of friend… that is, they update me on their lives… but it’s always hard to be like, okay, let’s not talk ever again.

    But don’t feel too sad. I see that you’ve got a lot of comments here, a lot of people who care about you. Sorry it took me so long to see this. I don’t know, I forget to look at all the sites. ^.^;

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