Friendships can be hard to maintain with the constant demands from work and family. Friendships are a vital part of our society. They act as a support system and can be a valuable emotional outlet. Knowing not only how to make friends but keep them is an important skill for anyone. We like to think that our closest friendships can survive anything — marriage, kids, breakups and evolving interests. “Best friends for life” may be the gold standard for friendships, but the sad truth is that most friendships don’t have that kind of sticking power. We are all consumed with our every day life that we sometimes forget to acknowledge that we are not that only person dealing with everything going on in the world. We are so busy talking about ourselves and our problems that we neglect to ask how the person on the listening end is feeling.
Like many of us, people who I thought would be lifelong friends are no longer present in my life. While some friendships slowly fade, others end abruptly over a small fight or personality conflicts. It made me question the importance of my friendship in their lives as I literally couldn’t/ didn’t want to have to think about living my life with out them; how important could my presence really be to these friends who walked away as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I envisioned these people being in my life for always; these girls the family that I no longer have, when I pictured my wedding day they are the girls I envisioned being by my side. People that I would’ve gone to war for are the same ones people who decided my trauma was too much of a weight on their shoulders. It’s really made me question the relationships that I have invested over a decade into and whether our friendship was as remarkable as I made them out to be. Even now, as I’m writing this my heart aches at the realization that I wasn’t worth the effort of trying to work things out instead of just throwing away something so intricate.
Sometimes a friendship begins to feel “off” and we aren’t really sure why. Often, we are afraid examine what could potentially be draining your relationship. Talking about it might be hard, but it’s the right thing to do especially if this is someone that you truly do want to be in your life forever. This will definitely help avoid a blow out in which every party involved leaves hurt or offended. If you discuss things and come to the conclusion that you and your friend aren’t meant to hang out together anymore, so be it. If the end of your relationship is more about what your friend is going through than about you, wish them the best and move on. Do this even if you can’t talk with them directly. Acknowledge the end in your heart and appreciate all of the memories that helped create this friendship. It is okay to grieve the end of a friendship, you have to now learn how to live life with out your army. As hard as it may be, try not to get caught up in continually wondering “what you did.” Instead, do your best going forward and improving yourself as a person so you are able to be the friend someone needs in the future.
At the end of the day, I will forever cherish the years of friendship and the memories that were created during that time period. I will always have love in my heart for them and wish nothing but the best. I have to understand that my life circumstances are in no way “easy” and that at times it will scare people away. Perhaps most importantly, forgive yourself and your friend. No matter what happened whether your friend betrayed you, dumped you for a new love interest, you learn that they felt your friendship was toxic for their well being or whatever it is they did, forgive them. You’ll realize that the end of a friendship often comes with a lot of guilt. Forgive yourself as well. Don’t get caught up in the “If I would have done this, then we’d still be friends” thinking. The truth is that if you were meant to stay friends, you would have, regardless of what each of you did. There is a higher purpose to everything in life, and that includes friendship.
“It’s really amazing when two strangers become the best of friends but it’s really sad when the best of friends become two strangers.”