I have to agree with you on the people changing bit, and I think it was me.... for many years taking care of ma since leaving school and being naturally a shy person, I became a bit of doormat - and sad to say they liked me that way. Perhaps you've experienced something similar?
Look, when something is important I will stand up for myself and my loved ones, but overall if its not critical I'll let you have your way. Being yielding can be a good thing, but when people take advantage of it or just expect it, then it becomes a liability.
When I met my husband to be he didn't like the fact I behaved like my wants were 20th on the list while everyone else's was No.1. He made me see what I had become. People were using me and I was making excuses for them and for me. Once the eyes are open you don't get them shut and suddenly I could see their actions and outright demands in a different light. Still I tried to rescue the friendship but now on a different footing, a more equal footing - and they didn't like the change. I'm saying no to things and finally putting up those boundries.... I guess they too were a bit stumped to my changes, but then I think they should have been the ones telling me to stop being a doormat if they were true friends.
The stress and dance! What an accurate way to describe it! When relantionships are going south it does feel that way. You try so hard to reach out and you practically get slapped back. Then its 'the everything is fine story' but 'no I don't have time to meet for coffee'. Uh huh.
Overall ridding ourselves of the negative friends makes room for the new positive friends and the new better experiences to push out the bad memories.
I hope you have a great day. I'll check out your forum when I get home today. 'Socialling' sites are blocked on the work servers (I managed to squeeze this one through somehow ) so I can't access it here.