We always talk about heartbreak from romantic relationships; there’s no shortage of songs, books, and movies about the pain of breakups and losing your romantic partner. What we don’t do is talk about the pain of losing friends—at least not enough.
I bumped into an old friend at a café a while ago. Either she didn’t see me or pretended she didn’t. We were essentially strangers, which made me think about how close we used to be. The person I talked to almost daily—with whom I shared my hopes, dreams, and secrets—was no better than a stranger. I had no idea where time has taken her, what she’s doing now, or what her hopes and dreams are.
I don’t regret breaking that friendship; it was possibly the best thing I could’ve done for myself. I couldn’t stay in a friendship where I wasn’t respected or appreciated and was constantly getting made fun of for doing the things I enjoyed. There was no big dramatic fight at the end, either. I simply pulled myself away and the relationship fizzled out. We eventually went from speaking daily to ignoring each other so much that we once spent a whole semester sitting beside each other and exchanging less than 10 words.
Even though I don’t want to revive the friendship, I still grieved the end. It’s not easy to let go of close friends. I was very lonely after; I didn’t have anyone else. But I did learn to be alone and comfortable in my own company. Eventually, I found better friendships—ones in which I felt more comfortable.
Friendship breakups can be painful. At the end of the day, a friend is someone really important to you. You share lots of yourself with that person, especially if they’re a very close friend. So when the friendship ends, it hurts. A friendship breakup can be just as painful as a romantic one. You should take the time to be sad after it. You’re going to miss them, and you might even consider reigniting the relationship. It’s not less serious than a romantic breakup, and you’re certainly not making a big deal out of nothing. Eventually, the pain subsides, but you have to give yourself the chance to grieve so you can move on.