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I work my way through people like a well-oiled machine. I know the pattern.

I get very close very quickly. And then it’s good for 6 months to a year. And then I very slowly, but unstoppably, start to lean on the self-destruct button. I put strain on relationships insidiously, but effectively. I find the weak point and apply constant pressure. And it always breaks.

I know myself. I know I do this. I know all the signs that it’s happening, but I still can’t stop.

It’s happening again. It’s happening now. And all I can do is to balance the books.

Clearing all outstanding debts. Buying every drink we said I’d pay for “next time”. Returning every kind gesture and favour. Making good on every promise. Winding up my affairs and evening things out.

It’s a sad process, but it’s the only thing which makes me feel less powerless. Because once I’ve broken the friendship, I can’t come back and settle the scores. I can only try to leave things as untouched as possible. As if I’d never been here. As if we’d never been friends at all.