Somehow, we never anticipate that a close friendship is going to end, certainly not in the same way a love relationship might.
Perhaps to some degree, we understand that relationships change, and that over time friends come and go, most of them without much ceremony; no hard feelings, but rather a recognition that as we grow, the direction of our lives can quickly shift, our priorities change, and long absences from friends are no longer necessarily earth shattering.
It’s the natural flow of life.
But what happens when you consciously and sometimes even dramatically end a relationship with someone you considered a close friend?
You know the one; that one person who knows you inside and out, was always on and by your side no matter what. That person you might have even considered to be your forever friend.
Then suddenly your friendship takes an unexpected u-turn leaving you feeling hurt and betrayed. With no clear way to navigate through the aftermath, you are left feeling completely derailed.
Losing a friend can feel more difficult than ending a romantic relationship. At least when we start a new romance, usually there’s a thought of “this will probably not work”. As the relationship unfolds, we begin to ask ourselves questions like, “Does this make me happy?” or, “Is this what I’m really looking for?”
Yet there doesn’t seem to be that same rational approach to friendship. You meet someone, feel a strong connection, they make you laugh, and the rest is history.
Perhaps all too quickly, you begin to share the mundane details of your every day life, often divulging thoughts and feelings you never even considered sharing with your significant other!
That’s why we have friends.
They are our lifeline, a constant in our lives — the one thing that remains when all else, including marriages, fail. Your best friends are like siblings to you – sometimes completely annoying, but your love is unconditional and reliable, and neither of you would ever do anything devastatingly malicious to the other.
So when a friend betrays you, the feeling of vulnerability you experience around all you shared, can seem both overwhelming and confusing.
Ending a love relationship is always easier to rationalize. He cheated on me; I was bored; We’re just not compatible.
But the unanticipated end of a friendship is just not that cut and dry. Even when you’re the one who chose to end it, it seems so much harder to rationalize not only to others, but to yourself, why you pulled the plug.
And unlike dating, there’s no “getting back on the horse”. Finding a new friend isn’t that easy. There’s no dating service or “Cupid” for friendship.
The worst part is that the person who was there for you through thick and thin – the person you would call when your heart was broken, the one person who could make you laugh no matter what – that person isn’t there to help you get through the devastation of losing a friend, because they’re the friend you’ve lost.
Sometimes things happen with friendships, and we get hurt.
And although I’m not completely convinced, perhaps in the end, friendship is a wild card worth enduring.
Some friendships may end up being short and sweet, and yet completely forgettable, while others may completely light you up, and you just know deep down inside there is something extra that exists between the two of you. And others yet may end in a jolting and unexpected breakup.
Affairs of the heart will always be tricky. I guess that’s the risk that makes the whole endeavor so damn intriguing.