Breaking Up (with your best friend) Is Hard to Do

Break-Ups: the catalyst for every romantic story I’ve ever been exposed to.

Before I knew that “dating” meant more than holding hands, I knew that boyfriends and girlfriends broke up. Movies showed me stories of break ups with the jock leaving the cheerleader for the weird, artsy kid. TV taught me that people could break up and get back together (several times a season, if the writers didn’t know where they were going with the story line). Most songs on the radio are a sad ode to a break up, with an irresistible dance beat. We are obsessed, as a culture, with love not working out.


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 I remember the first time I had to break things off with a person. I was 16 and had been “hanging out” with a sweet, goofy, unsuspecting 17-year-old boy. I didn’t really have a good reason to break up with him, other than “I wasn’t feeling it.” I remember how unhinged I felt as I sequestered him at a pool party to deliver his fate. I had barely choked out the words before he was telling me it was okay. We then hugged for way too long, nearly made out, and I went home early. I cried for two weeks. Isn’t young love so sensible and grand?

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Break ups come in all shapes and sizes, and I felt as though I had been exposed to them all. That is, until I discovered a form I didn’t know break ups could take.

The Friend Break Up

Unlike its wild and romantic cousin, the friend break up doesn’t involve you and a significant other. The friend break up takes someone you thought you couldn’t break up with and smashes that notion apart with a hammer. Media hasn’t really explored the idea that you can break up with your friends. Your girls are your girls. Sure, you may fight sometimes, post unflattering Snapchats of each other and subtweet. But, then you are back at it again when your boy messes up. For guys, I am sure it’s the same way. There is nothing in this world like true friendship.

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 I experienced the friend break up first hand last summer. Because, I was so blissfully unaware that friend break ups were real, I wasn’t fully prepared for it. It happened with my best friend of ten years. She and I had been through so much together; first kisses, horrible fashion choices, family issues, deaths. We cried together when life wasn’t kind and celebrated when either of us had joy. We were one.

A boy somehow managed to get into the middle of this beautiful union. I’ll spare you the details, but it was as messy as a situation could be. Remember in The Hills, when LC disapproved of Heidi’s relationship with Spencer and it caused all that tension? Yeah, that was basically my life, but with way more crying (Reality TV doesn’t prepare you for how much things actually hurt).

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So, my best friend and I stopped talking. She was with him, and I was thrown into the deep end of a pool that was a “Friend Break-up.” Honestly, I felt like a woman being left by her husband, for his much uglier assistant or something. Everything reminded me of her. I would break down crying in the middle of stores and restaurants. I lost weight because I didn’t really have an appetite. I purged my room of items that she had given me or that belonged to her. I felt as though someone had died.

friends-966489_1920As bizarre as it may sound, we can grieve the loss of our friends just like the loss of our relationships. Love is love, whether it takes on a romantic component or not. I cared about her in such an extraordinary way, that when she wasn’t in my life anymore, that love had nowhere to go. We are so used to the idea of losing boyfriends and girlfriends, we forget that a loss of friendship can hurt just as much.

Miraculously, my best friend and I repaired our relationship. Not right away…it took lots of long talks, hundreds of apologies, and months of separation, but we got there. They say you can’t really appreciate something until it’s gone, and I now believe that is true. I think it has really made me value our friendship even more.

So for all of you out there who are suffering in silence over the loss of a friend, SUFFER NO MORE! I hear you! I recognize you! Lets talk about this pain. No, you aren’t crazy. You just love the people who are in your life.

Also, can someone PLEASE write a sad dance song over losing a friend? I think I would really connect with that over drinks with my best friend.

♦ ♦ ♦

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