I am writing this for anyone who has been affected by the loss of a close friendship. It has given me comfort to express myself through writing, and I wish to share my feelings with others in the hopes that this, too, will bring some comfort to the broken hearts that need help mending.
The idea of losing a friend is always a difficult concept to discuss or think about, because nobody wants to imagine life without their closest companions. Yet, beginning from a young age, people everywhere gain friends almost as frequently as they lose them. And while the process of gaining and losing friendships is a natural one, it still does not make it any easier to watch someone you were once so close to suddenly gone from your life. The text messages and phone calls stop, the inside jokes wither with the friendship, and the memories that remain only cause a painful reminder of what you no longer have. Friendship break-ups can truly be just as painful as any other break-up in this world.
I have lost several friends throughout my brief lifetime, some break-ups easier than others. As a child, dwindling friendships was a natural thing – you befriended almost anyone who wanted to play tag with you at recess. As I grew older, though, the friendships I made became more and more meaningful, and I found myself beginning to invest emotionally. It is with these friendships that my story begins.
I have come across a variety of friends in my lifetime, and they all tend towards two categories: givers and takers. My “giver” friends are those that I have a symbiotic relationship with. They call me for favors, advice, or a friend’s company, and return my phone calls when I need the same. We are both constantly reminding each other how important our friendship is, and our time is evenly invested in each other. My “giver” friends are still in my life to this day, and they continue to expressively invest in our friendship as much as I do. My “taker” friends are those that have left me with grief throughout our friendship until the very snap of our amity. They call me for favors, and sometimes advice, but always seem to be busy and just out of reach when I need them the most. They make me feel as if I am inconveniencing them at moments, and the span of our communication only seems to reach the “Can you…?” “Will you…?” or “I need you to…” parts of a friendship. My “taker” friends exhaust me, and make me feel as if I am not important unless I am useful to them. My “taker” friends are the ones that have left me heart-broken many, many times.
After losing another friend recently, I found myself in ruins. My heart ached the same way it aches when the boy you love tells you he does not feel the same anymore. I would look back and wonder, Where did I go wrong? What could I have done to change things? But after giving myself the time I needed to cry the ache out and start to mend myself back together, I realized that I am simply better off this way. I dedicated a piece of my heart to these people, and I did my very best to be the “good friend” that my parents raised me to be. I realized that I could not change anything about the friendship break-up because it was not my change to make. Had these friendships continued, I would have remained feeling used, undesired, insignificant, and, most importantly, unloved. The silver lining of a broken friendship is not easily seen in the beginning, but it makes itself known the moment you cross paths with a true friend.
When it comes to the ending of a friendship, there are several different circumstances that make each situation unique and separate. But at the end of the day, think back and remember what kind of a friend you both were to each other. Did they notice you having a bad day and reach out to make sure you are okay? Did they set aside time to be at your Poetry Slam because they knew writing meant the world to you? Do they show unending love and support for your ideas and beliefs, even if they are not as passionate about them as you are? Did you do the same for them?
Friendships, like romantic relationships, are a two-way street. You both need to put in time, love, and effort in order to blossom and grow as close companions. Broken friendships tend to branch from one-sided friends – those who need you when it is convenient for them, yet will easily dispose of you when you no longer serve their purpose. If you find yourself tossed aside from a friendship that you had worked so hard to hold together, walk away with your pride. Understand that the loss is on their end, not yours. That you could not have done anything more or less to change the outcome of things. That you deserve a friend who will give back just as much as he or she takes. Remember that you have true friends standing beside you, and now you have more time to give to those who truly deserve it.
The silver lining of a broken friendship is that you are going to be okay. Sometimes broken friends will find their way back to each other, and sometimes they will never cross paths again. Whichever the circumstance, you will always learn something new about yourself. The heartache does go away, and the bitter feelings slowly follow. One day you can look back on it as a helpful reminder of the fortune you hold among your true friends.
The silver lining of a broken friendship is that you will always come out of it better and stronger than you ever were within it.