I truly believe that the most difficult of break ups is not the romantic type, but the friendship break up.
You see, friendships are just…different.
In your heart, when in the beginning of a new romantic partnership, you are weighing your emotions against your experiences with the person you choose to spend the bulk of your time with, ultimately deciding if they are going to be the person with whom you spend the rest of your mornings..your life with.
Friendships are like that, in a sense.
But friendships are different, because the best of friends, those not tied to you by romantic intentions, are the people you truly share your most intimate selves with. Your friends have seen you at your absolute worst, both physically and emotionally. Your friends have comforted you during the storms of your life that left you questioning if you could carry on. Your friends celebrated in genuine delight with you when the storms ceased and wonderful opportunities came your way. And while you felt that the changes that naturally come with life could change your friendship, they never did. Because your friendship was strong enough to withstand absolutely anything that came it’s way.
Or so you thought.
Because unlike a romantic relationship, that could easily dissolve if both parties determined that the relationship was not beneficial to them, a friendship takes far longer to get over. Your friends are the people with whom you have chosen to invest your time. Your energy, emotions and heart are poured in to the friendship, and while similar to a relationship in that way, when a friend breaks your heart, especially sudden, the trauma can seem overwhelming.
I have had two friendship break ups in my life. Each person was crucial, during the journey of my life, to aiding me in navigating the uncertainty of my future. With these friends I shared some of the most intimate moments and discussions. One friend, in particular, was someone whom I had known for years, spending most of my adult life sharing major experiences, such as college and our transition in to the corporate world, together. We were close, and the fact that we were able to see one another every day as we were both employed by the same company, not only magnified our friendship, but strengthened our common bond.
Ultimately, life would guide me in a different direction, and this very literal shift in our dynamic affected our friendship as well. As we no longer saw each other daily, and no longer had the same interest at heart, our friendship quickly dissolved. I found, a short time later, that this person had allowed even a social networking site to define our former friendship, in the manner of an immediate “friend” deletion.
Another, sudden and swift friendship break up occurred in a rather similar manner. Like the first friend, this person and I shared a long history that spanned years. With this friend, I felt as if I could be my most raw and honest self, sharing opinions and emotions with them that I was even hesitant to share with my husband, as I was not sure how he would feel about them. When the single most devastating event to occur in my life thus far happened, she was there for me. This friend listened as I struggled with my faith, and she always had a kind word to offer. Any struggle that she faced I would reciprocate, sharing with her the words of wisdom I had available, my foremost intention to always protect and encourage my friend.
I’m not certain when I went wrong, or where. But I recall the night before she stopped being my friend. Like many other days preceding it, we had discussed the daily nuances of our lives, sharing our inner most feelings and silly comics guaranteed to make us chuckle. I sent her one that I found particularly funny, and we laughed in agreement. I fell to sleep that night, exhaustion weighing heavily in my bones as another long day wound to a close, and with my phone on vibrate, as is my nightly ritual to produce the most comfortable sleep I can achieve with small children in the house, I missed one of the messages she sent me. I awoke the next morning, to a notification on my phone, a simple message with a comic and her commentary following. When I hit the message window to reply to her, I received this message “We’re sorry, but this person isn’t currently accepting messages from you.” I had been friendship blocked.
Again, without warning, and again, so suddenly, a friendship had dissolved before my eyes with little explanation as to why.
Both of these friend break ups were difficult to understand at first, and I wondered if I were the problem, the common denominator in the dissolution of these important relationships. For many months thereafter, I would blame myself, wondering what I had done wrong, knowing that I would never receive the answers I desperately sought.
Yet now, I know.
God shapes us in our constant and ever changing walk through life. As we change, as we are transformed by our experiences, so too do our friendships change. Some friendships are strengthened and some bonds become even tighter, while others are doomed to fail. It is not the fault of either party when they do, as often, a lesson that only perspective has taught me, these relationships were flawed from the beginning. When trials test either party, if the flaws are too great, and the friendship will not succeed.
I do find myself missing these former friends at times. I certainly still wonder where the winds of their lives have drawn them too. I wonder if they are happy, and if they are doing well. I am, and I will always be this person, the one who cares with her entire heart. And though it is painful and bittersweet, when I find myself missing them in these moments, I remind myself that I have to let them go. It is okay to move on, to create a better person in myself, even if that means I have to leave others behind.