It happens every couple of years. You lose a best friend. Or you realize that you have a bad friend. Or you laugh at the phrase, ‘best friend forever“.
Sometimes the end of a friendship happens out of the blue – like that moment when you can’t find your keys and you KNOW you just had them. Sometimes it happens like the dress at the back of your closet – you had forgotten how much you loved it and decide to wear it again or you realize it no longer fits and you really should let it go.
I am amazed by people who have had best friend relationships for decades and decades. In my lifetime I have had at least 17 best friends. I have had moments of my life where I had no one I would claim as a bestie, and some moments (like now, for instance), where I am lucky enough to have several best friends.
Yes. I do believe it is possible to have more than one best friend. And yes I do know that by doing so the term “best” doesn’t really fit, but I have a team of best friends and it is fantastic. I also recognize that for every different life I have lived I have needed someone (or a team of someones) to help me through.
But then there is that moment. That moment when the person that is at the top of your speed dial stops calling you. That moment when you realize you have stopped calling them. There is that moment when you go through something huge and the person you had thought was your best friend is nowhere to be found. There is that moment when you realize you were not invited. There is that moment when you watch their life pass you by on platforms like Facebook and there is a hurt there. A specific hurt.
I have no idea whatever happened to best friends 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 13. I reconnected with 1, my first best friend (yup, from first grade!), when I was in my late 20’s. We had an intense and powerful catchup and marveled at the common threads of our lives. We even met up and I introduced best friend #1 to best friend #11 (they lived in the same town!) and I watched, from afar, as they became friends and then watched as the friendship faded away. As they often do.
Friends 7, 8, 9, 12, and 14 have evolved to being friends online. I have stood on the sidelines and watched them fall in love, move to new states, get married, have children… There are some where I pause and think, “I used to know everything about you. We used to talk. Now we don’t.” Now I am an FBFF (former best friend forever) and relegated to liking the photo from their wedding day or saying “Congrats!” when they announce the birth of their son.
There is an acceptance of, a normalcy even, when we lose a school friend as we move forward with life. It is incredibly rare to find someone who is still best friends with the person that they were best friends with from elementary school, high school, heck, even college. So when those friendships fade away we let them. We celebrate the wonderful, powerful, meaningful moments that we had and then cast the friendship out to sea so that another person can pick it up.
What is most painful are the best friend relationships lost as an adult. Things happen. Big things. Small things. Maybe they got married. Maybe you had a kid. Maybe you moved away. Maybe politics evolved. Maybe you have no idea what happened. You just woke up one morning realizing the shift had happened.
I know many women that have gone through a best friend loss as an adult. It is truly horrible to go through. It can even be messy and awkward as we cling to old familiars and try to repair something that has disintegrated. Some friendships just have to be let go. In our hearts we know this. In actuality it is devastating.
It is personal evolution that happens and we all go through it. The hard moment when you realize your best friend didn’t invite you to something is a gift. The moment when your best friend says something wildly offensive or mean – that is a favor to you. The moment when you realize that your best friend never calls you – that is your answer.
Walk away. Slip away. Release it.
As gut crushing as it is to move away from a friendship, it is a million times more wonderful to realize that the person or persons that you DO have are amazing. There were people there for you when you were going through that awful thing. There were people there congratulating you on that victory. There was someone for you to call to yell, “Omg! Turn on your tv!”
Thank you to the best friends that I have had: past, present, and future.
I am curious if any of you guys have gone through a best friend loss. How did you know? Have you realized it was for the best.