Exploring the very painful world of friendship breakups

Guest post by Erin KLG
Photo by Linhh-Los Angeles - CC BY 2.0
Photo by Linhh-Los AngelesCC BY 2.0

I recently went through a period where I thought a friendship of mine was dying. It didn’t, thankfully, and much of the anxiety I had about it was in my own head. I had never experienced an adult friendship breakup, and I had no idea how to handle it. Did I need to put a fine point on it, to pronounce it as dead? Did we need to have a talk, or could we let it die with the dignity of cowardly silence?

Whether because of a fight, distance, or natural causes, friendship death can be especially painful. Unlike romantic relationships, we don’t expect friendships to have expiration dates. There are no “where is this going?” conversations, no breakup war stories, no vows or pronouncements in front of friends and family. Friendships are what you turn to when you end a romantic relationship; they’re there when you begin a new one. Friendships can be forever.

But the most painful breakup I’ve ever had wasn’t with a romantic partner.

I was 12, and, at that time, had started rigorous figure skating training. I had been skating since I was 8 years old, but adolescence became the time to up the ante in order to show you were getting better, to prove your parents’ investment was worth it. It’s the age when many figure skaters quit, as the next few years become only more intense. Like every figure skater at that age, I had Olympic dreams and the injuries to show for it.

My best ice skating friend, Nina, was the same age as me but had started skating about six months earlier. It was understood that anyone who started before you would perform better than you in competitions. It was only natural, and everyone accepted it. Until you got to the top of the game, the narrowest point of the pyramid, could you expect those age and time differences to even out. But not at our level. Nina was always just a bit ahead of me — a better jumper, taller and stronger, better at dealing with thumps and bruises. She trained hard.

Nina and I took every class together, rolled our eyes at instructors we didn’t like. We listened to the same music (Paula Abdul was one of our favorites). I made her laugh. We had sleepovers together, lunches together. She was my favorite Marco Polo partner for the pool. Nina was an only child being raised by a single mother, and she was fond of telling me that if she could have a sister, I would be that person. I once worked on a friendship bracelet for her that was so involved it took me two months to complete it. She wore it to competitions.

You get the picture. As with many friendships, ours was based on the fact that we were isolated together, going through a unique experience most others couldn’t comprehend.

Nina was my best friend for two years. Then, in the summer of 1991, right before I turned 13, Nina and I both entered the same competition somewhere outside of Philadelphia. We had competed before — Nina always placing ahead of me, as was the natural way. But unlike those other competitions, I had recently started landing the Axel jump (arguably the hardest jump in figure skating), as well as a few double jumps, and they were incorporated into my program. In essence, Nina and I were now on the same level.

We both did okay in the competition. Not great, but not bad. I stumbled once, and she fell on a double jump. The results were posted on a wall across the rink. She grabbed my hand and we ran over together. We couldn’t see over the heads of the other competitors. But once they cleared, my eyes landed on the middle of list, hoping to find my name. I would never look to the top three — it seemed impossible that my name would be there.

Fourth. I was fourth. Fourth! I was excited — it was my best performance to date at this new, higher level. I looked closer. I wasn’t the only one in fourth place — there was another name there.

“Nina!” I screamed, turning to find her face, “We tied! We tied together for fourth place!”

I don’t know what I expected. Did I expect her to be happy because this was one more thing we could share? Her face was unreadable. She stared at the paper again. “There must be a mistake,” she said. Then she turned away.

That was the last time Nina ever spoke to me.

We would see each other at the skating rink every day after that competition, making it painful and embarrassing when our mutual friends asked what had happened. I didn’t know, and saying so turned my cheeks crimson. I quit skating one year later, right before I entered high school. I didn’t quit skating because of Nina, but the loss of friendship there certainly made the decision easier.

I never quite recovered from Nina dumping me. It took me a long time to understand how it could have happened, to understand what I might have done (or not done).

Today, I can understand why a 12-year-old might, under pressure from her mother to perform, cut off a friendship with someone who had caught up with her, skills-wise. She couldn’t afford to be nice to someone who might one day beat her. I understand that now. And if the roles had been switched, perhaps I would have done the same. I’d like to think not — but we were 12, and many 12-year-olds don’t know magnanimity.

But the experience created a blind spot in me. I can’t see how to bring a friendship to a gentle end. Maybe when you’re dumped like that, it’s too painful to think you might have to do it to someone else. Maybe there are no nice breakups, no matter how you view it.

I would love to hear your own friendship breakup stories — what worked, what didn’t, and how you coped.

REMINDER: Assume anything you post in the comments will be read by the person you’re writing about (and your mom… and your boss). Comment with integrity.

Comments on Exploring the very painful world of friendship breakups

  1. I’m in the situation that I don’t regret that the friendship ended, but rather the way it did. One of my best friends from high school gradually became someone I just didn’t want to hang out with anymore. We had different interests and the only thing she wanted to talk about was gossip from our high school years and the guy she was sort-of seeing. She was completely uninterested in my life. So I took the “fade out” approach. I just stopped calling. When she called, I got off the phone sooner and sooner. We reached the point where she didn’t call for three months, and I thought “OK, good, we’re both just going to go our separate ways.” I was SO WRONG! I got a nasty Facebook message from her, telling me that she had been “testing” me to see how long I could go without calling. It drudged up every single thing I had ever done or said to make her angry. Stuff from years and years ago that she had never brought up but apparently still was bothered and hurt by. I tried to apologize and work through it (she had some legitimate points, no one is perfect and in high school I was kind of a bitch). But after a few exchanged, it became apparent that she didn’t want to work through it. She wanted me to feel bad about it, and grovel for it. Ain’t no one got time for that. The last communication we ever had was an email I sent her letting her know that I wanted to be friends, but that I was not going to accept all the blame. I heard nothing again. It’s awkward because our parents all live in the same small town. My mom often sees her mom.

    The thing is, I’m not sure I would want to be friends with her again. She was immature and selfish, despite being a lot of fun to party with. We didn’t have much in common anymore as our lives changed. But I really wish we wouldn’t have ended with a fight and hard feelings. I wish our friendship had ended the way my other high school relationships did; a gradual lack of phone calls, maybe a drink when one of us is in town, liking each other’s Facebook posts. But that’s not an option anymore either.

    I guess the only thing I can say I learned from this is honestly. If you’re the one who’s pulling away, be real about it. “I just don’t think we have much in common anymore. Nothing bad has happened, but it might be best if we went our separate ways.” If you’re the one who’s feeling the pull-away, just ask. “Do you feel like we’re still close? I feel like you’re pulling away.” It hurts at the time, but an honest conversation is better than feelings of awkwardness or abandonment any day.

    • The fact that she was fun to party with, became uninterested in your life, and “tested” you are indicators of narcissistic behavior. At least according to the book I recently enjoyed called “Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist” (haha). I feel your pain. But I just want to say I don’t think you did anything wrong–the fade-out is fine for most people who are generally wishing you well but drift apart because we’re all busy, etc. She was upset that you weren’t calling, not because she missed you (you said she was uninterested in your life) but because you weren’t catering to her needs. Yes, in the long run, it may have been easier on YOU to have the conversation cutting it off. But you didn’t do anything wrong by pulling away from a one-sided friendship. In my empathetic opinion. <3

  2. I don’t really have much to add here, but it’s comforting beyond what I can express to know that I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way. I’m still emotionally gutted from a “break up” that happened last year (she was my MOH), and it feels like we never finalized anything, but…we don’t talk. We went from talking every day and coffee twice a week to nada, and though it’s not rational, the evil little voice in the back of my head says she doesn’t care. It sucks. It hurts. This is one of the crappy parts of life. Thanks for making me feel less alone, ladies.

    • I’m still getting over my best friend dumping me last summer during my honeymoon. She was also my MOH, and although I knew we had some issues to work through, but to go from her calling herself my “other soulmate” during her speech to just straight-up dumping me via text a week later for supposedly being a bridezilla gutted me. My sweet husband has been incredibly supportive, but this still hurts. I went from thinking we would be friends until we’re old and grey to seeing a flood of facebook posts about her new bff. Add to that the fact that she told our mutual friends “her side” of the story while I was still out of town, but then told those friends not to talk to me about the breakup because it was “personal,” and the whole thing really isolated me. For a while I felt like I couldn’t trust my own friends, because they would only accept her view of the situation. I just wish she would have talked to me about the stuff that bothered her, rather than stewing in it and letting it pile up. If we could have talked through our differences, maybe this would hurt less. Maybe not, I don’t know.

  3. I would love to know how Nina thinks of that day now… if she’s (appropriately) ashamed of how she acted, haha.

    I’ve only really ever had one falling out with friends (tried to live with ’em- bad idea) – the rest of the time it’s just been a slow build up of neglect. I think Facebook has made it a little easier to maintain relationships at a very slow burn when they would’ve otherwise fizzled out by now. I’m still in touch with most of my very good friends from high school even though we only see each other maaaaybe once a year and we don’t really talk that often. We just keep an eye on each other’s goings-ons, “like” each other’s posts, etc.

    • Oh wait I thought of one! In kindergarten, my best friend told me at recess that her ex-boyfriend (uh…yeah…what?) had told her on the school bus that if he saw us hanging out again, she’d be “dead meat” (I remember this because it’s the first I’d heard of the phrase.) And then she left and that was it. Never spoke to her again. I’ve thought about looking her up but since her last name is “Smith” there’s no hope, haha. I… don’t even want to wonder at the interpersonal dynamics involved in that “ex-boyfriend” situation.

  4. I broke up with a friend about a year ago, and it definitely felt like a break-up. We’d been friends for years and went through a lot together, but it was not a balanced relationship. I gave too much and she would ditch me as soon as whatever current boyfriend/fuckbuddy snapped his fingers, even if they told her not to be friends with me since I was, “A waste of space who should have been killed at birth.” (I’m disabled. Apparently this was a problem for one of them. She stayed with him until he dumped her for someone else).

    I shouldn’t have stayed either, but I loved her. I kept hoping that one day she would find a boy/girlfriend who wasn’t an arsehole. I didn’t want to watch her being mistreated again (if it sounds like her boyfriends were horrible to me, that’s nothing compared with how they treated her at times). I hoped that she would continue being a friend during her relationship instead of casting aside everything else. But I couldn’t take that she didn’t put as much worth on me as I did on her, and I shouldn’t have stood for that. I should have ended things sooner and never looked back. However, I wasn’t so sure of my own self-worth at the time. I thought that I deserved to be left behind. Friends aren’t as important as relationships, especially if those friends are trying to open your eyes to how your boyfriend’s treating you. I only know now that trying to tell her was only driving her away and that trying to stay friends with someone like that means keeping your mouth shut until you have to pick up the pieces. And she wasn’t worth all the time and effort that took.

    I still held out hope of being friends again one day until I found out that she was still friends with a once-mutual friend who tried to rape me, because, as she put it, “He’s really sorry about that. He’s such a nice guy, really.” It was the same line she used for her boyfriends when they were acting out or just plain abusive towards her, or her friends: “He’s such a nice guy, you just don’t know him very well.”

    I wish it hadn’t came to that before I realised that I never needed someone like her in my life ever again.

    I’m getting better. Leaving her meant leaving other ‘friends’ who either didn’t know the whole story and thought I was just being a dick, and leaving ‘friends’ who did know the whole story and still thought I was just being a dick (“He’s really sorry, you know. He’s just too proud to say so to you. Why can’t you just forgive him?”). I’m at a new university, with (very new) friends. I’m still regaining my confidence in friends.

    But I’ve recovered from the break-up.

  5. Commiserating here too. I’ve had a lot of friendships fizzle out, and a lot that have evolved over time to be not-as-close-as-we-once-were-but-still friends. But I was definitely friend-dumped and still have a hard time with it. We met in college, dated for a few months, and then broke up. I did the breaking up romantically, and gave lots of space afterwards. Because we had a group of friends, we decided to try our best to be friends, and it actually worked. She met someone else (later married her) I met someone else, then someone else (later married him) and we stayed friends through it all. She was in my wedding, and we asked her to be godmother to my daughter when she was born. We emailed back and forth every day, as we lived in different parts of the country.

    Then, emails stopped coming so often. I found out her dad was diagnosed with cancer, and I made a rare phone call (neither of us are phone people) and she rushed to get off the phone, promising that she would call me back. She never did. We ran into each other at a college reunion, and things were awkward and strained. I emailed when I got home and asked if we were still friends, and she said yes we were, but there was no more than that. I finally sent an email asking what was going on and she wrote back basically saying that she felt our lives were going different directions and that we weren’t friends any more. She didn’t want to discuss it further, she said. It wasn’t really “out of the blue” but to this day (5 years later) I have no idea what happened. (And our lives weren’t really all that different – we’re both teachers, now we both have kids, we have the same interests, etc).

    I’m truly sad to have lost the friendship, for my daughter to have “lost” her godmother. While I likely could have done things differently, I still don’t know what those things are. I guess it’s the friendship equivalent of “the one that got away.” I’ve moved on, but do wonder about it sometimes. Thanks for the post.

  6. It’s interesting to read all of these stories. Absolutely the most painful break-ups for me have been being “friend-dumped”. It’s happened a few times in my life, and nothing shatters your self-esteem like being told by someone that you have loved and been loved by for years that you’re no longer worth their time.

    The worst for me happened in college, when my best friend since high school became increasingly distant. We had spent the past six years inseperable, and had supported each other through a difficult high school experience. By senior year, even though we were at the same college and had roomed together sophomore year, she wasn’t returning my phone calls, texts, emails, anything – but when we ran into each other, it seemed like old times. Talk about mixed messages! I tried to give her her distance, and asked her what was up several times, but never got a straight answer until years later.

    I actually beat myself up for this breakup for years. I missed her and still loved her, and could never figure out why she had distanced herself from me. I figured I must have done something terrible for her to want to cut me out of her life when we were so close. When I got engaged last year, I finally sent her an email – telling her how sad I was at the loss of our friendship, and trying to figure out whether I wanted her at my small wedding. She responded, and apparently had felt as though I was being really competitive throughout college to the point where she didn’t want to be around me any more – she said she felt like a sidekick more than a friend. This was a complete shocker to me, since I had always thought she was so amazing and I was lucky to have her as a friend! If she had communicated those feelings to me earlier, we might have been able to salvage our friendship. Then again, if I had tried harder to get a straight answer out of her when she was first distancing herself, maybe that would have helped too.

    We’re still vaguely friends since those emails cleared the air, and I did invite her to my wedding, although she didn’t come. I’ve been able to get over a lot of the guilt that I had about our friendship ending since we both came clean about our feelings.

    Moral? Always talk it out.

  7. I had a best friend in college with whom I had a super intense friendship. We were damn near inseparable. We held each other up through relationship drama and I had more fun with him than I’ve ever had with anyone. If only we’d been physically attracted to one another, we might have been soulmates. (We weren’t. The thought of kissing him was like kissing my brother. Ew.) And then he went and fell in love with this miserable crazy girl who decided that she simply must fuck her way through all the men in our little friend group, including MY boyfriend. Of course, once we found out about these shenanigans, me and my BFF were crushed. We dumped them both and ran off for a week of drunken foolishness in another city. And when we got back…he got back together with her. And there was friction. And it was made worse by the fact that he and I were roommates. And that was made even more uncomfortable by the fact that, I’ll admit, I was not the most responsible or reliable young adult to be living with. I owed him money, which didn’t matter when we were BFFs, but started to matter once I protested the presence of the miserable crazy girl in our apartment. It culminated in him kicking me out on my birthday, and me being homeless for the better part of a year. He and our whole social circle completely ignored and alienated me, and I eventually became completely immersed in work and a romantic relationship, and moved away.

    He and I, eventually, years down the road, started speaking again and had a long talk where we both apologized (I bore some responsibility in the situation, too.) but we are not part of each others lives anymore. And honestly, even all these years later, that relationship with him has changed how I am able to have friendships. I have never experienced that level of closeness with another human being who I am not romantically involved with. I am skeptical of “friends” and people who regard friends as family. Because I had that relationship with a best friend who used to get drunk and cry and tell me I was his only real family, only to have him discard me completely in a terribly hurtful way over something that, in the grand scheme of things, was super trivial (200 bucks and a girl who ended up cheating on him again two weeks after he kicked me out. And totaling his car.). Not saying all friendships are fair weather, or that true friendship isn’t possible…just that I have never really opened myself up to it again. I have great friends who I enjoy and have fun with…but I do not trust them the way I trusted that friend and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. And I am less likely to seek out human companionship, where before I was a social butterfly, I’ve spent most of my real adulthood as someone who is much happier at home.

    • Nothing groundbreaking to add but I totally feel you here. Opposite sex BFF dates crazy ass chick, he can’t see the crazy and she decides that he needs to chose between her and me because “nobody can be that close to the opposite sex without dating” despite me being MARRIED. We chat every few months without her knowing and I watch from the sidelines as she slowly dismantles his life and he loses every good trait that made him such a great person before she was in the picture.

      I would love to see a healthy Offbeat article about this. It’s such a complex territory and unfortunate for those of us who really get along better with the opposite sex. I find myself defending and explaining friendships so frequently thinking, ‘are we really not able in 2013 to wrap our minds around the fact that a girl and boy can be JUST friends?’

      • Man, I hear you. I would love an Offbeat article on this too.

        From my perspective: I used to always have male friends until… well, they did just want to screw me. It sucked to come to that realization, because I believe that YES, you CAN have a male friendship and it still be platonic. I mean, from MY side I can, but it seemed that despite having 2 male BF’s during my life, in the end… well, they did just want to date me, or whatever.

        So yeah, I’m not helping that argument, am I? But I do believe that opposite sex folk can be BF’s, it just never seemed to work out for me. I do still have a very good, extremely reliable male friend (who about 10 years ago had tried to get with me, twice) who hasn’t tried a move since, but I always wonder and never quite trust him.

        • Ugh, that sucks. I think it helps when both of you are in separate relationships but it did seem like with certain friends that as soon as they became single it was like, ‘why don’t we just date?’ Ummm because we have a great friendship going here and I’m not attracted to you??

          • There was absolutely no sexual element to our friendship at all, ever. And I’ll be the first to admit that that was weird. But it wasn’t there. We were sexually neutral to one another. We even slept in the same bed/tent sometimes. It was even a conversation that we had, how if only we DID have that going on, we would be the best couple. Everyone was always talking about what a wonderful couple we’d be, and even assuming sometimes that we WERE. We even pretended to be married in order to get the apartment that we shared. And yes, the nut girl was jealous. She was the sort of person who made all her relationships sexualized (once she found out I was bi she even hit on me) so she couldn’t understand how we could have been close for so long, and even lived together, and not be fucking.

            I admit to being one of those women who gets along better with men most of the time when it comes to friendships, especially when I was younger. I’ve never had the same friend dynamic with the opposite sex, though, ever again. I’ve had close male friends who I thought were platonic, but invariably they have turned out to harbor annoying and inconvenient feelings. I think opposite sex close friendships are possible, obviously, but tricky.

        • A quick note on the sexual component of friendships: I’m surprised by the heteronormative assumptions in the comments that only male/female friendships have these tricky dynamics. Once you start recognizing that sexual attraction can play a role in any friendship (cough cough), it starts to be easier to recognize why there’s no reason that ALL male/female friendships would be tainted by sexual attractions.

          Then again, this might be very much regional/cultural. In my corner of Seattle, it’s just a non-issue.

          • Agreed. Bible belt Midwestern culture here however dictates that same sex friendships are never sexual and assume that all opposite sex friendships are. It’s sad. All friendships are confusing yo.

          • I also think that it’s important to recognize that unrequited affection/attraction doesn’t have to ruin a friendship, whether it’s between same sex or opposite sex people. I’ve had crushes on friends before, and still remained friends with them knowing that it would never turn in to anything more than friendship. My brother had a huge crush on one of his friends for something like 15 years, and they stayed friends even after he mentioned it to her once and she didn’t feel the same. You might need to set some boundaries to keep both of you feeling comfortable, but if you can respect certain ground-rules together, there’s no reason that attraction needs to screw up a friendship.

          • I never thought about it in those terms, and I should have. I’m not going to say that I’ve never been attracted to a female friend, or been friends with a female that I had a sexual relationship with. But there was something less awkward about that for me somehow, and there were never any unrequited loves between me and female friends, or any embarrassing announcements of unreturned affection by me or anyone else. And in cases where the relationship became sexual (or became friendship after a hookup) it felt much less fraught and much more organic than anything involving a male friend. That’s just my personal experience, and certainly not representative of everyone.

          • And honestly, I feel like I personally could move past a friend announcing a crush that wasn’t reciprocated, but it has been my experience that sometimes the friend can’t. The friend who announced his love for me expected me to act on it RIGHT NOW. When I didn’t return his affections, he got angry and annoying and pushy, insisting that we should date, that I must give him a chance, etc. I had to eventually be very firm and assertive with him about the fact that it wasn’t going to happen, and he then just stopped speaking to me period. It wasn’t his feelings that made our friendship not work, it was his behavior. That’s the important difference, I think.

          • I completely agree with this, but am surrounded by people who can’t wrap their head around a non-sexual opposite sex friendship. Or, for that matter, same-sex friendships with sexual tension. I’m mostly straight, but have had crushed on my female friends, while feeling absolutely nothing sexual for my best guy friend. However, we never heard the end of it from several of my college friends about why the hell we just didn’t date. Having experienced this, I’m always naively “WFT?” whenever someone makes the statement “Men and women can NEVER be friends without wanting to sleep together.” But that attitude is still out there.

          • Exactly! Because if she had been down for it, I would totally have married my best college girlfriend. I still believe she is my soulmate. But we are now both married to men and she has drifted away, despite my desire for our friendship to remain.

  8. My absolute best friend in high school and I were completely inseparable up through my first year of college, talking on the phone for hours upon hours and spending as much time together as possible. We’d been through a lot together, including an incredibly awkward bit of groping that is one of the few life moments I regret, and I’d supported him through an awful, two-year-long abusive relationship/obsession with a piece of sh*t guy who was deep in the closet.

    About three weeks after I started dating a (harmless, if slightly weird) guy who I would almost marry three years later, my best friend decided he didn’t like who I was becoming as someone’s girlfriend. He felt like I was spending all my time with the boyfriend and neglecting our friendship, so it was “better” for him if we just ended our four-year friendship. He invited me over, and since I was with the boyfriend, I brought him along. Apparently this pushed him over the edge. I was COMPLETELY blindsided, and it took a long time for me to recover from that.

    It has been about 13 years since that happened, and we’ve spoken a few times since then via email, though not in a long time. He just requested an add on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I’ve left him in limbo because I just don’t know that I want him in my life, even in that small way. I sometimes feel like his complete abandonment is one of the reasons I fell into a deep relationship with that guy, who was just totally unsuitable for me. I eventually forgave him, but I also don’t want to let him back in.

  9. You guys, I’m going to repeat the caution that’s at the end of the post:

    Assume anything you post in the comments will be read by the person you’re writing about (and your mom… and your boss). Comment with integrity.

    I don’t want to be getting emails like this in a couple months. Please be cautious with your comments.

  10. I keep friendships going for decades. I visited a girl I knew for one week in summer camp in 7th grade 10 years later when she was living in Dublin and I was in London. Maintaining friendships across time and space is my thing, but I had a spectacular fail in recent years…

    I had an adult friend breakup that still upsets me. I was friends with this person starting in junior high. She was one of six girls that I consider sisters. She was funny, amazing, adventurous, the kind of friend you bellydance with in a parking lot at midnight or drive to see meteor showers with at 2 a.m. on a whim.

    When she started pulling away, I did try to have lots of “Where is this going? / How can I be a better friend to you?” type conversations. I will confess, however, that my particular Taurus loyalty is, to quote Elizabeth Gilbert, like “a cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle.” All it did was push her further away, in the end.

    She withdrew, got all weird about my photographing her baby (I’m a professional portrait photographer; this is the great gift I can give anybody), and talked about “boundaries” a lot. The thing was, she changed the “boundaries” all the time; I could never predict what would feel violating to her, and it was always petty stuff, like I had a negative memory about her favorite teacher in high school. If I crossed one of those elusive boundaries, our phone call would have to end, immediately, with no warning and no time for me to apologize. Apologizing also seemed to make things worse.

    I danced as fast as I could, tried to be the best friend to her that I could be, tried to find a way to include her in my wedding in a way that wouldn’t be overwhelming to her, tried to respect these ever-changing boundaries, and then one day I said, “No. I am setting a boundary. You either have to teach me exactly where these so-called boundaries are so I can never violate them again, OR YOU HAVE GOT TO CUT ME SOME SLACK.” She seemed really receptive to that, and I thought that our “rough patch” might be over once and for all. It wasn’t.

    The final straw was when someone in my family committed suicide. She sent a curt email saying she had gotten my voicemail and heard from someone else about what happened, along with some really weird cold religious bullshit. And I realized, you know what? SHE IS A TERRIBLE FRIEND. I don’t need this in my life. I can pour my time and energy and talent and affection into someone who actually wants to spend time with me.

    Of those six women, she now only speaks to one of us, which makes me sad, because this circle of friends are some of the greatest women I’ve ever known. It’s her loss. I know that, but sometimes it still really feels like it’s my loss, too.

  11. This hits home for me in a big way, being dumped by my best friend all the way back in grade 8 impacted the dynamic of my friendships for the rest of my life. I never really found out why I was dumped but I suspect that fact that I didn’t start smoking, and hanging out with the bad girls etc, probably put me in the boring friend category.
    So not only did she dump me but all the girls we hung out with stopped speaking to me one day. I was completely and utterly shunned, living in small town, life sucked for quite a while after that.
    I was way into my thirties before I realized that I don’t hang out with groups of friends, all my friends know each other well enough to have a conversation if I have a party but they don’t hang out together. I am not unhappy with the dynamic of my friendships, I am still very low key and I like seeing people one on one or if I have a party the numbers are small.
    I guess I am still that same boring girl, I just have way better taste in friends now.

  12. I’m going to refrain from posting specific examples from my friendship break-ups, but here’s a few things I learned over the years:

    1) If you’re breaking it off, find an objective and willing person to talk to. Lay out your reasoning, facts only, and invite them to ask questions about whether or not there may be some responsibility/attitude adjustment on your end.

    2) Do you want to break-up or does the other person need to change? Expecting the latter could cause the former. If I can think of a specific outcome I need then I reframe this as not a break-up. Good friends will hear you out, and if you truly want the friendship to last you’ll both work at it. This works for both sides.

    3) Examine your role in the friendship. If there’s a chance you contributed to the decay of the friendship acknowledge it yourself. And if the other party calls you out on hurtful behaviors actually listen. Your hurt feelings are still valid, but at least give each other a chance to be heard.

    4) My mother once told me as a teenager that friends don’t have to be everything to you. At first I was horrified because I thought she meant use people, but now I realize she was telling me to accept other people’s limitations whether they’re emotional, physical, or interests. So enjoy someone’s company, call them a friend, yet maybe never go to them when you’re in need of a shoulder to cry on.

    5) Break up in person and be succinct about it. One thing I learned too late was to approach them when you’re in a good mood. My mentality has since become, “I feel that we’re both very different people and at an impasse. However, I loved our time together and wish you the best in life!” When you’re the dumped and it’s clear that they’re breaking up, or asking for an unreasonable change, it hurts like hell. And as much as it hurts you’ll feel worse for prolonging it.

    • I second many parts of this.

      I’m a busy woman. My friends are from all areas of my life, and I don’t necessarily have time to hang out with all of them separately, so they need to mesh together well.

      About once or twice a year, I go through what I call a “friends cleaning”. I evaluate my friendships and decide if my interactions with that person are awesome (or even desirable) 50% of the time or more. If the answer is no, I send an email.

      I recommend email over face-to-face because email can help you organize your thoughts, remove any emotional stuff regarding the facts or e-yelling you might want to do, and can easily set the tone for (or request) an in-person conversation to deal with the issues at hand.

      My emails are to-the-point. Here’s a quick and easy example:

      “Hi [person],

      I’m in the middle of doing this thing called “friends cleaning”. I’ve looked at our friendship over the last [length of time], and I realized it’s not going as well as it used to.

      Although I know that both of us are responsible for a friendship, I’ve experienced certain things that [make me uncomfortable, hurt me, hurt my other friends, make me feel like we have drifted apart]. I regret not saying something earlier, but I think now is a good opportunity to have a conversation about it.

      It bothers me when [you make racist comments, you joke about my financial situation, you don’t tell me about new partners in your life I’d love to hear about, etc. Full list here, everything that has even been a slight nagging on your brain. Do make it clear which are deal-breakers- such as the racism- and which are just annoyances].

      I totally realize that some of this might be a surprise to you, and other parts of it might bring up things you are uncomfortable with that I do. I would be happy to hear what I can do on my end as well. This could be a really great opportunity for us to deepen our friendship and for each of us to grow.

      On the other hand, I understand that some of the deal-breakers I’ve listed may be outside of the things you desire to change. I understand that, but that does mean I can’t continue our friendship [list why, if you feel like it- for instance, “you’re hurting my other friends and I need my circle to be fully supportive of itself”].

      My goal is to continue this friendship as a completely new and amazing entity, so please take some time to read and digest this. I’d love to have a conversation about it whenever you’re ready!

      And thank you for the past [x years, months, etc.] of friendship. You have been great to have in my life, which is why I think it’s worth it to try to figure this out.”

      And if your intent is not really to salvage the friendship but you think there is an outside chance he/she might respond well, still send this. You’ll notice your own opinions changing as you write it, particularly the positive parts.

      And if that person responds with a bunch of crazy or mean or whatever, you will definitively KNOW you did the right thing. His/her true colors will immediately show. And honestly, a high percentage of these will end in a dramatic reply, or a non-response. However, that small percentage who respond with “OMG I had no idea- let’s work on this!” will be SO worth it.

      • I think this could come off as cold and hurtful to a friend- possibly creating some bad blood even for people who are generally even-tempered.

        Emailing with a list of things you don’t like about a person/ stuff they did that you don’t like generally won’t make someone feel good. It will probably start a fight, or at the very least cause some quiet resentment.

        Maybe there could be another possibility here to address someone in a way that would start a conversation (perhaps talk – or even think- about what you value in that person, and what they value in you) that would lead to a healthier relationship/ end of relationship.

        • I didn’t post the full lengthy thing I would write, which of course does include a request for a convo about it. However, as the recipient of something like this, I would so totally love to see the thingsthat had bothered the other person so clearly and logically laid out so we could deal with it.

          Remember, this is something that is sent when I feel it’s pretty much been over or is about to be over. Therefore, it’s a last ditch effort to address those hidden issues rather than letting them lie dormant and not say anything about them.

          So maybe those 20% who respond positively are just the kind of people I can speak honestly with and openly with about things that don’t work in our friendship and do work in our friendship…. And those are the ones I want!

      • I realize that the sentiments behind this are all good, and that a “friend cleaning” might be brilliant (?), but for me — and I am a classic email-person-phone-hater-to-the-max — I would be hurt to receive something so personal that reads as so… calculating. That kind of immediate hurt would probably cause me to react with either a “dramatic reply, or a non-response.”

        I don’t write this to attack you Morgan, at all. I am just pretty sure people are reading these responses looking for answers and ideas, and I want anyone considering doing something like the above to also consider how they’d feel if they received that email.

        • I know you aren’t attacking me 🙂 and I’m just not as good at delivering a message in person without getting activated by it (I.e. upset, crying, angry), especially if it has been there for a while. I’m not as able to easily think on my feet and say all the things that are there without getting sidetracked.

          For me, it is important to give the other person an opportunity to absorb and think of a response…and of course send back any things about the friendship that haven’t worked for him/her. At that point it is all on the table and we can choose to deal with those issues or walk away with irreconcilable differences. It’s just bringing it all to light.

          Sure, not everyone likes to hear about things that aren’t working. But those who can and who are willing to have a conversation about it are the only ones I have time to spend my verrrrrry little free time with !

        • I don’t know, if I received an email that made it sound like someone was prioritizing their friendships and I didn’t make the cut, I don’t think I would feel inclined to try to save that friendship (or even respond nicely). Something about specifically saying “I’m in the middle of doing this thing called a ‘friends cleaning.’ I’ve looked at our friendship over the last [length of time], and I realized it’s not going as well as it used to” makes it sound a little too much like a systematic culling of friends who don’t make the grade. At least, that’s how it sounds to me.

          I totally understand and support sending an email to broach the subject–I know I can express my thoughts/feelings very clearly in writing but tend to get flustered and confused during a face-to-face conflict–but I’d maybe suggest some gentler wording? Something that sounds a little more personal and a little less like it’s time for the annual friendship quality review? Just a thought.

      • I can see where that would be a good exercise to help me sort out my feelings for a person . . . I actually have one in mind and it might provide me with some clarity.

    • I totally agree with Claire’s comment, however it is important to keep in mind that if you are dealing with a friend who is mentally ill or violent you may need to take different routes than if dealing with a reasonable individual.

      For instance, in these cases, using email could be a good way to help “filter” verbal abuse. Hopefully since it is in writing, the person could also eventually go back and read it if/when they get to a more reasonable mental state.

      From personal experience, having the ability filter a mentally ill/verbally abusive friend’s emails by way of marking their email address as junk email (goes directly to trash) was a godsend. Although the break-up was painful, this helped me to cut the ties mentally and keep myself from being bullied by this person.

      Sorry about the grim nature of this response.

    • I remember my own mom trying to get me to realize #4 once after a particularly painful romantic break-up, and later, my trying to instill this in my step-sister after her going through a particularly difficult non-romantic break-up. I will still insist on telling this to my son when he goes through difficult times, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of those events that must be lived to understand.

  13. I can’t believe that this is posted today, since I am in the midst of a “friend downgrade,” that I’m suspecting might be the start of a friend “breakup.”

    My adult best friend is getting married in the fall. We were the single buddies and “wing women” for each other as all of our other friends paired up. I moved out of state about 2 years ago. We fly to see each other 1-2 times a year now.

    When she called to share news of her proposal I just knew I was going to be in the wedding party. We had talked about it for years. She even joked that she was going to be my maid-of-honor one day.

    I waited for the call to ask if I would be a bridesmaid, and waited, and waited. I called and to ask about planning. She answered all of the questions and made no mention of bridal party. I stated to think that maybe she wasn’t having one, or maybe just her sister and cousins.

    I finally asked her who her wedding party was yesterday. She is having a bridesmaids and even including one friend she lost touch with for years, just not me.

    What hurts most is that she didn’t feel like we were even good enough friends that she needed to tell me I wasn’t going to be in the wedding. If roles were reversed, and I was the one getting married now, she would have been one of my brides maids, no question. Now when I get married next year I guess she won’t be in my wedding.

    I am incredibly hurt and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to ask her to justify her wedding decisions, I’m sure she has to do enough of that already. At the same time, I feel like she does not get a pass to be a crappy friend just because she is planning a wedding.

    For there to be any hope of saving the friendship, from my side at least, I need to express how hurt and confused I am. I’m trying to decide how best to do that now. The immature part of me want to write her off, not address it, and just let the friendship die.

    I know this comment is buried deep down, but if anyone has advice, I’d love to hear it.

    • Just like in any relationship, sometimes there is the capability for person A to be more into it than person B. Sounds like you’re both just not on the same level of friendship anymore.

      Absolutely express your hurt. Chances are she has no idea you’re hurt and that she just assumed it was the same for you as she felt a drift apart. Just make sure that you express what you feel only, and the events that made you feel like that- say them as facts. Until you can detach enough from the events to state things as facts, you have a large chance of having the whole thing blow up.

      I suggest writing it out: “I felt [really abandoned/hurt/angry] because [list all the things]. Because our friendship has been so important to me, I want to make sure I’m being totally honest with you and not hiding these feelings.” When you can read what you wrote and not get activated by it (i.e. not start crying, balling up fists, etc.), send it.

      And there’s no reason you can’t have her in your wedding but not be in hers. People do that all the time! You may not understand her reasoning for choosing the people she did, but you don’t need to make similar decisions. If you want her in the wedding party, have her. That’s it. 🙂

    • Morgan Culture,
      I can’t tell by your post, but this sounds more like a fight then a breakup. You haven’t mentioned any long-standing fights or major problems with your friend, and you guys don’t seem to be incompatible.

      How big is her wedding party? If say, she is only having a MOH and the sister of her husband or something, that is one thing. If she’s having 5 girlfriends, it is another, I think.

      Something admirable that I saw in my life was actually my BFF’s situation with another friend in college. My BFF did not have this girl in her wedding party, despite them being BF’s all through college. They had talked about being in each other’s wedding, etc all through college. When the time came, though, my BFF mentioned this but said that they just hadn’t talked as much since they both returned to their home town. So she didn’t invite her to be in her party, but did invite her to the wedding. The friend came, no drama, etc.

      HOWEVER, that girl got married a year later and still had my BFF in her wedding. I thought that was pretty cool, that she didn’t begrudge my friend for not having her in her wedding party.

      Sometimes the numbers just don’t work out for bridal members, or whatever. Either way, though, I would tell her you are hurt by it but don’t let it be a deal-breaker if your relationship is otherwise worth saving. It is up to you to decide how much this friendship is worth to you, and whether she is a good friend that just can’t fit you in the wedding party or whatever. I don’t know the situation, but its worth having a frank talk with her and letting her know your feelings are hurt.

      • It’s also a possibility that she’s going to want the bridesmaids to do Tons of Stuff locally and doesn’t think that it’s practical to have one who would have to fly in. I just had my out of state Maid of Awesome, but all I expected her to do was show up wearing a dress of her choice, but what people think the job of the wedding party is varies. You don’t say where the people she picked live in comparison to her. But yes, talk to her and let her know that since you’d talked about being in each other’s wedding parties for years you were hurt, especially because she didn’t talk to you about it. But there may be reasons why you aren’t in the bridal party other than having been downgraded, or at least significantly downgraded.

        • I suspect that this is the case, since all the other women live in/around her city. I feel that is a fully rational decision. As you said, I just wish she had addressed it rather than ignoring it.

          I am so used to reading these lovely, rational wedding blogs like OBB that drive home the point that no one has to justify their wedding choices. I was seriously questioning if I could even bring this up with her. Thank you for the reinforcement!

          • I think you can ask.
            I have a very very few girl friends. The girl who was my designated “Best Friend” in high school appointed herself maid-of-honor, based on the fantasy wedding she created in her head. I never corrected her because our friendship would not have survived.
            Maybe try a:
            “Hey, I know you’re doing a lot with the whole wedding thing. I was a little hurt that you didn’t choose me for your wedding party. Is it something that I did, or did it just not work out that way?”
            If her reasoning is that it just didn’t work out, then just give her some love.

          • I think it’s a matter of walking a line. Being “Hey why aren’t I in your wedding?” in a way that sounds like you’re asking to be in it would be crossing a line in making her justify her choices. A calm “hey, I thought we had been planning to have each other in our weddings, could you let me know if there’s something wrong between us that changed that or if it was just a matter of logistics?” followed by acceptance of her answer but acknowledging that you wished she had told you up front seems non-offensive between friends to me.

  14. I’m generally the dump-er in friendships. In my defence, it’s usually been because the friendships I’ve ended were stressful and/or one sided or in one case coinciding with severe depression on my part.

  15. Thank you for this post (and subsequent comments)! I had a bestfriend “breakup” about a year ago. It was the right thing to do but still hurt a lot. It didn’t start out as a breakup but as me sharing some hurt feelings, then having to actually evaluate the friendship after some dialog occurred. I knew the decision to end the friendship was right, but it still hurt a lot. I now feel at peace with the decision, and I am able to look at old photos and just appreciate the friendship for what it was when it was still thriving. I have been surprised by my ability to do this but really grateful! I have been trying to appreciate that not all good things in life have to last forever, and good things can end badly, but they can still be good experiences overall.

  16. Man, I’ve had a lot of friend break-ups for different reasons and each one hurt. I’m very non-confrontational, so I let these “drift apart” rather than just come out and tell each person why we shouldn’t be friends. That’s my regret, but I’m a better person now without most of them in my life.

    That being said, I think that romantic love and platonic love are remarkably similar. Maybe you would hold back something in a romantic relationship that you would not from a platonic one because you are expecting the hurt from a romance gone sour. I know I’ve broken up with plenty of romantic partners with few hard feelings.

    Of course I married my very best friend that was one of those “always a friend, never a suitor” types, so there’s a lot to be said of sharing everything with a person and having it work out right!

  17. I remember a painful childhood breakup where the parents of my best friend from 1-6th grade told her she needed to find “better” friends and I felt abandoned at a time when I needed her the most. it was awful. Most recently I was the dumper and it’s feeling really great. I had a friend who has recently divorced. She and I went to the bar one night and she was babbling incoherently about something “truly awful” that she did. She led me to the direct conclusion she was sleeping with a mutual friend’s husband and it was shameful and she was in love with him. A few days later she told me the truth and it was NOT what I thought. The realization that I wouldn’t put it past her to make such a bad choice led me to avoiding her (later she flounced on a group of people so I guess it was a mutual breakup) and I have to say it was cleansing and I feel confident that I made the right decision.

  18. A couple of years ago, I moved to a a new city with my husband and knew nobody. I ended up at a Unitarian Church one Sunday and there I met two girls who would be my best friends for a few years. We did everything together, we drank, we smoked, we partied and just couldn’t get enough of being with each other.

    About a year ago, one of those friends moved in with the other and started living together. This was the point I started seeing things I never noticed before. They always wanted me to take sides, and I just wouldn’t. About seven months after the one friend moved in, she moved out. She just needed some place that was her own. When she told the gal she was living with, the gal flipped her lid. She would call her names, accuse her of things and was just particularly nasty. This made me sad.

    I then noticed I was friends with the one who moved out much more. I tried to keep up with the other gal, but she became more and more negative with hardly anything nice to say. At one point, I said something about how much I love my husband on FB and she said “That is the drug I hate to see my friends on” (LOVE). I realized she wasn’t there because she wanted a happy friendship, she was there for co-dependency, and I didn’t want that. Since that time we have slowly been drifting apart, and I’m okay with that. Sad, but okay.

  19. My freshman year of high school, Apple (not her real name), had practically invited herself to be my friend, since we had 6/8 of our class periods together (except gym and elective). I was a shy kid and had none of my former classmates from junior high in most of my class periods, so I was eager to be making a new friend. I was even more excited when she told me she also had a xanga (remember those?).
    Skip forward a year. I made a light-hearted joke about the performance of the band and flag team, knowing that my friends who were on the team and read my blog would get a laugh. Apple did not get the joke and had gone so far as to print out the pages of my online blog and go around showing a ton of our mutual friends, trying to insist that I had typed this mean, horrible thing with tons of malice. Instead of getting mad at me, a lot of them got mad with her, because she was known for starting drama for fun (probably living out her own Lizzie McGuire fantasy).
    I later apologized and we made up. However, I quickly dropped her like a hot pan less than a few months later, as she was proving to be a total pain in the butt and lying to everyone about all sorts of things just to make their lives more miserable than hers. At least she taught me not to waste my time on friendships that only serve to try to drag me down.

    That was probably the most drama-filled friend break-up I ever had. My friendships with a lot of the people I grew up with have mostly fizzled, with the exception of a few. However, what I find interesting, is that even if I have not talked to some friends in months, I feel like I can easily reconnect with most of them. Some I no longer have anything in common with, and those kind of slowly die off, but others just come back together like a couple of old puzzle pieces. I talked to my mom about this once, and she said that maybe it’s because of the kind of person that I am, and it makes me someone people feel they can always come back to (although she might be biased). I try to keep out those who have let a lot of negative things into their lives. I still care about them, but I can’t let their negativity consume me. Sometimes I feel like that’s a bit mean. :-/

  20. My best friend and I were Will and Grace for over six years in late high school and early college. He called me his soul mate, and even though we both had boyfriends, our relationship was the closest. I studied abroad in Europe, and when I came home for Christmas, we hung out twice and all of a sudden he hated me. He had gotten a new boyfriend recently whom I didn’t like much, but I tried to just ignore my feelings… I don’t even know what happened. To this day, six years since that time, I still have no idea why he called me out of the blue and said it was over and why he started flaking out on me. I’ve tried to open the lines of communication a few times since then, and what always happens is we meet for coffee, spend 8 hours together, say we miss each other and we need to hang out, and then he flakes out and hates me again. I have no idea what went wrong. I hope that we might be able to mend things in the future… I can’t imagine that he doesn’t miss me as much as I miss him. Ugh. It still makes me depressed and haunts my dreams on a weekly basis.

  21. I was always the weird kid in our area and clung to whatever friends I could get. This was back in the days before Internet access was common and living in a tiny semi rural community I didn’t know that other people like me existed (goth, fandom orientated,artistic). Chances are if I’d been born a decade later I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a large proportion of my real life friends. But in those days it felt like friends came in packs of 5 and you had to like all of them as a unit, you couldn’t just pick an individual.
    Midway through comprehensive (high school) I was on a shopping trip to another city when terrorists planted a bomb in the shopping centre. We were evacuated just in time but many people were injured and the store we had been in was totally destroyed. Had it happened now we probably would have had counselling and proper support but we had to deal with PTSD and shock by ourselves. Sadly some people at my school thought this whole thing was hilarious and tormented me with explosions and tried to trigger flashbacks. I started to withdraw to protect myself and those in my friends group who weren’t that close to me decided that defending me and putting up with delicate reactions was too much work. And told me so to my face. Eventually the whole group drifted away from me. The friends I developed at school after that was based on musical tastes or being fellow outcasts, rather than anything deep or especially meaningful. In the end it gave me the freedom to follow my own tastes and become comfortable with who I am in myself, but the last 4 years of school without a proper support network was pretty hard.
    The good news is there are some friendships that ruined by peer pressure that can be salvaged later on, once you both accept that ‘teenage you’ isn’t always the same as ‘now you’. If they are the same then probably best not to bother.

  22. I’ve never had a big, “official” friend breakup. Whenever friendships have ended for me, it’s been more of a gradual parting of ways that happens fairly naturally and without a lot of drama. More like “growing apart” than “breaking up,” really.

    Which is nice and, at least in my mind, preferable, because I can still occasionally catch up with those people without a whole lot of awkwardness between us. Fortunately, I’ve never found myself in a friendship with someone who I felt a need to suddenly and completely cut off contact with, but I imagine that would be a much more difficult situation.

  23. I’ve broken up with an adult friend. We were best friends all throughout high school and college. I won’t bore you with the details but we were so close it was almost stupid; we would spend most every free day together just hanging out. We loved the same things and we even had plans to move in together.

    Now enter a new man, she fell head over heels and I was happy for them he seemed like a perfect fit not just for her but for out circle of friends. Then little things started to come up, things I was not ok with (his controlling nature, in inability to apologize, his apparent disregard for the feelings of others)and I tried to communicate this with her but she would not listen. It ended up in him and I having a huge fight while of a camping trip together. I tried to do the right thing and fix it afterward but he would not help me fix the chasm that sprang up between us.

    I tried to just stay friends with her, but when someone is in a serious relationship you cannot have serious problems with their significant other and expect the relationship to work. Little things she said or did became bigger and bigger until I could not take it anymore. The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to say, was finding out that she had moved in with her boyfriend. It wasn’t the move its self that did it, more like her neglect to even tell me she was thinking about it or that they were looking for a place. I found out because of her Facebook status stating that the move was over. It was the clear sign that we were done, she was no longer telling me about big events in her life, and frankly I didn’t want to share mine with her.

    I actually took the first step and messaged her explaining how I was feeling in a very lengthy letter and my reason for ‘breaking-up’ with her. In return I basically got a not saying “sorry you feel that way”. Fine, whatever. It’s done. Right? Wrong.

    The problem was we had been friends for so long we also had a very tight knit group of friends and while I would have loved to tell them all that she was black listed and we should never speak to her again I knew I could not. But in truth a lot of them were feeling the same way about her as I was. So I did the adult thing. I sent her another message, trying to help her. Our friendship might be over but she could still save those she had with our other friend’s, but she needs to try again at those relationships or she was going to lose them too. I told her I was not going to stand in the way of her retaining friendships with those people. She never responded to that, but her choice was obvious enough. Though some of my friends’ still talk to her ever few months in a random Facebook comment no one has seen or heard from her in person in a long long time.

    I hurt, they was most people do when they lose a loved one. Hole in the chest, sobbing non-stop; I still can’t watch certain movie or listen to certain CD’s because they are just to fully of memories of her. The casual mention of her or a memory shared with her instantly bringing me down. It was bad. Watching TV/movie friendships while eating ice cream out of the carton and yelling at the TV “don’t get attached! She will only hurt you!” kind of bad.

    It’s been a few years now, mostly I am over her. Ultimately, now, I try to hope that she is very happy with her (now) husband and that her life is exactly everything she ever wished for. But some of the time I still can’t help but feel bitter about the whole thing and wonder how she could just give up so many friendships and history for a man.

  24. Thank you for writing that article and for all the great people who commented with their experiences!

    I have a friendship that is in a weird place. We were friends in high school and even parts of college but it seems we are better friends when we are far apart or on more casual terms. We had a falling out which was both of our faults, but I don’t think she accepts responsibility. When I speak with her now she doesn’t initiate conversation so it feels more on sided friendship or fake. It feels odd and uncomfortable to walk around the issues instead of stating the truth and speaking with genuine honesty.

    One of the things that caused me to take a step away from our friendship was when I noticed there was a heavy feeling of competition the year we both got married. She wanted to know what I was doing and compare it to what she was doing. It was uncomfortable so I stopped talking to her. It feels odd to think that life is a race, it’s probably not a healthy head space.

    it is sad. I still dream about having lunch with her or catching up occasionally. However I remember the anxiety and drama I felt after our falling out and her competitiveness. I”m glad to have closed the chapter and adopted a no drama approach with her.

  25. this is my poem called ‘frenemy’

    the anniversaries we’d shared had faded together until our entwined existence seemed obvious.
    habitual and comforting; my interpretation of you had failed to grow according to the waves and rocks that indeed shaped and shoved you.
    your image remained thirteen forever;
    earnest in innocence and passionate loyalty unbreakable by those apart.
    our truth was the unspoken certainty of ‘forever’.
    yet now in this flash of recognition i see you for the imperfection you have bloomed and bled and burrowed into – far less than my love had let me see.

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