To my great regret, I have decided to end a long-term friendship this holiday season.
This is difficult for me. I hate confrontation.
I've only had to end long friendships a couple of times in my life and it has always made me sick to my stomach.
(Spoiler alert. If you're my Facebook friend you don't have to worry. This person doesn't believe in Facebook.)
I'm a pretty tolerant person and I put up with a lot of crap from my friends -- much more crap than I should -- but the older I get the more I realize that my own self-worth is too important to continue to be friends with people who treat me with disrespect.
This particular friend has been treating me badly for years, but I've put up with it because the friend helped and supported me during some very difficult times.
Most recently, the friend has embarked on some very sketchy behavior, the kind that I find morally reprehensible. Normally, I would look the other way, but I can't do it anymore. My conscience won't allow it.
Besides, I'm tired of the friend making me feel small and stupid.
It's not necessarily a big deal if I never speak to this person again. I see the person only occasionally around special occasions. And I rarely run into them.
But each year, I find it harder to swallow their smarminess and rude behavior.
Our visits are usually accompanied by a panic attack which I've come to see as my conscience warning me. It's like I'm the girl on the phone and Ghostface has come to kill me -- yet I'm too stupid and trusting to realize it.
Needless to say, I rarely have any fun on these annual outings unless I get completely smashed -- and I'm too old for that kind of behavior.
This year, I will have to address my feelings, which means no Christmas lunch. Or drinks. Or dinner.
I've been trying to decide whether to be honest or to lie and spare their feelings. I know if I'm honest, I will just make the person angrier and everyone will hear about.
So I'll just make an excuse. It's cowardly but it's how I roll.
The friend will be oblivious. Maybe make a smart remark to someone about what a silly girl Rose is.
If that's the case, I can deal.
To be honest, it makes my heart ache. The friendship died long ago. Yet, I've suffered years of verbal abuse and bullying.
So I wonder.
Why have I been putting off ending such a toxic relationship?
I don't know the answer. But I'll be trying to figure it out in the coming days.
It's so sad to lose a friend -- we make so few true friends in our lifetime.
But at some point it's time to realize that a true friend has your back.
Imposters stab you in it.