“It’s a part of life.”
“It’s part of going through different phases.”
Those are the common explanations to an ending of a friendship. Much like a relationship, friendships carry a similar—maybe even deeper—sense of trust, companionship, loyalty, care, and an unconditional willingness to be there for someone through their darkest times. These are all words that we use to describe a friendship – but they’re not as common as it might seem. Those elements of a friendship can suddenly disappear overnight when circumstances become difficult. They may fade over time. They may be traded for other priorities in someone’s life. Like love, we hope and pray for genuine friends that will be the ones who will be by your side through thick and thin.
What I learned is a hard lesson that all of us must face at some point—not everyone has the same heart as you. People change their minds like the weather. People end friendships in an instant—or even worse, disappear—like the time spent together didn’t mean a thing. People decide one day you conveniently belong in their life, and the next day you don’t. People will show you with their actions that they didn’t value the friendship as much as they promised. People will turn their backs on you. Trust is broken.
One thing is for damn sure: nothing is ever certain.
Unlike a relationship, there is no breakup advice people will give you. No one will mention about having to reminiscence on all the plans, the songs you listened to, the memories you shared, the talk of the future, the jokes and mannerisms you picked up from them, and all of the amazing times you laughed about. All the tears, the worries, the late nights sharing your fears, listening to the ‘what if’s.’ It may have never crossed your mind in those moments that the friendship itself would be a ‘what if.’
Friendships are, at its core, pivotal to our personal growth. Their presence enriches who we are as people. They contribute to the mosaic of our identities, encouraging us to be better versions of ourselves, building us up in facets of our lives that even love can’t do. But them leaving can tear us apart, and no one talks about that sort of pain, the pain of them taking away a part of you. The very support system that is supposed to be there when you need it most falls out from under your feet.
Sometimes there won’t be closure. You may never get the answers to questions of why it ended. You may not want to let go because you never thought a friend could betray you like the way they did. You may question fundamentally if the bond you shared was even genuine.
But although friendships end, the best solace is knowing that your own intentions were true. No more making excuses for how it turned out, no more defending what went wrong or how you could’ve seen it coming. You can find peace with the knowledge that you made an effort to be the friend everyone hopes for: honest, present, true to yourself, trustworthy, and someone without ulterior motives.
Appreciating however much—or little—time you had is still a blessing. Forgiving yourself (and the other person) for the contributions made to losing the friendship may be the only way to move forward. You should understand that you may never get another similar connection like it again, but there is the comfort of knowing that there are many more people out there hoping for a friend like you.
At the end of the day, the people who will ultimately matter are the ones that you can count your time together in years, people who prove time and time again that you matter in their lives. It will be the people that no matter what happens, what goes wrong, or how much time passes, your ties are never completely severed. Promises still hold true regardless of the situation.
Know that one day, you will find your place with the right people, and you won’t have to feel loss like you are right now. You will understand why these people left your life, and that was to prepare you for the ones who will truly be your friend when their presence is needed most.