I remember the first time somebody that I like liked let me down. I was still a teen, just about stepping into adulthood, and with it I took some lessons of learning away from a
relationship situationship for the first time. I lost my appetite for 2 days (very unheard of for me), and bounced back the following week. Easy peasy.
The second time I can say that I actually experienced some form of heartbreak, I was now in university and filing an unfortunate experience into my book of sitationships. That one took a lot longer to work through – months in fact. My friends rallied around to cheer me up, but more than anything, time was the greatest healer. I was a lot younger and lacked a ton of confidence back then, so I definitely handled it differently than I would today. Again, it was another lesson to take with me onto what eventually turned out to be a 7-year relationship (and counting).
We know about romantic breakups… we hear about them all the time. There are articles upon articles online titled “How to Get Over a Breakup”. You log onto YouTube, and periodically, you’ll come across a video titled “We Broke Up”, sometimes from your long time faves (queue the droves of Twitter folk who then say they don’t believe in love anymore, even though their parents have been together for 25+ years. I digress…).
Break ups and dealing with them are constantly shoved in our face. But what about the friendship breakup? This is much less discussed.
In my life, friendships I’ve been in have ended for a number of reasons. One – well, sometimes you just drift apart from people. Life takes us in so many different directions, and at times, you really just grow apart from someone or grow into different people. That’s not a particularly painful friendship break up, but it’s very much one where you can look back in nostalgia at the moments you shared with someone, and still root from them on the side lines when they update their LinkedIn or get engaged and start popping out babies.
There have been friendships I have decided I was going to end. Or times when I have decided to, going forward, hold someone at arm’s length. Heck, I’m sure there are people that have done that to me too. When I was a lot younger / in my teens, I was quick to cut ties when somebody upset me. But as I got older, and I started to value my friendships – especially the long standing ones – more. For me now to decide to sever all ties, I’d have to feel pushed to the edge. Generally – I like to think of myself as pretty understanding.
Then there are the friendship break ups which are a huge falling out. After this, suddenly, you can feel so bitter and negative about someone you once screamed with excitement to see after a prolonged period apart. You butt heads to the point you aren’t even rooting from the side lines anymore, actually – are you even connected on social media at all?
I’ve had my share of friendship break ups. Most of them have been changes with the season, and not so painful at all. But I’ve also had painful friendship break ups. I’ve had the huge bust up – the deletion on all social media accounts, communication to a sharp stop, the only thread still connecting us being maybe just a pree here and there on the odd occasion when my mind ticks back to the past. I had a friendship bust up several, several years ago, and my parents still sometimes ask me how this old friend is doing (they’re clearly not paying close enough attention). I’ve also experienced a slow burn, suddenly being held at arm’s length, and waking up one day to find the lights of our friendship are off when I hadn’t even realised how fast they’d been dimming down. Personal struggles, and even something like a pandemic, only exacerbate situations like this.
Friendship breakups can be equally as painful as a breakup with your now estranged partner. They too can take weeks and months to move on from. Very quickly, the chats you had had together about growing up, being each others’ bridesmaid and having kids at the same time suddenly become redundant. In it’s place, you have some fond memories that can still warm you up inside to remember sometimes.
There’s a quote that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and that applies to any relationship – romantic, platonic and then some. Everything always happens for a reason and as long as I am happy with how I’ve acted throughout – then I’m powerless to the rest and can sleep peacefully at night.
Appreciate those in your life, treasure good relationships, and those that really do last a lifetime, are truly special.
Have a good week people! My 3rd newsletter of the year comes out this Tuesday – don’t forget to sign up for more exclusive and personal pieces!