Breaking up with a Friend: Why It’s the Hardest Breakup of All
It’s silly, but when I was younger I used to have a fridge magnet that summed up my very-picky social life. The writing on it said “Friends Are The Family We Choose For Ourselves”, and I used to smile from ear to ear every time I read those words. My definition of a best friend back then was basically a person I can talk to till sunrise and doesn’t judge me for eating two family-sized chocolate bars on a daily basis!
But you know, we grow up, and our definitions change with time….We find ourselves compelled to hit the pause button on the drama as we take on new responsibilities of starting families, work and focusing on what makes us better people. There’s this phase when we realize that life is a journey, and so we stick by those people travelling down the same road and aiming at our same goal….Sometimes the pulls of our priorities cause us to break up with the friends we made pinky promises with, even though we vowed to stay best friends forever….Did that ever happen to you…?
In my head, there’s a map of different destinations that many of us seek. Yeah, it’s on papyrus paper with cartoon drawings and everything! Some of us want to go here; to the ‘Kingdom of Success’ and make friends through connections on the way up. Down there is the ‘Land of Party Animals’. It’s basically just loud music and shallow bragging but you know, some people think that’s ‘cool’. Here on the right by the river is the ‘United Republic of the Cavalry’. People living there are always looking to make a difference in the world. Next to it is ‘Family First Nation’ and in it friends are always second-class citizens. Okay, on the far left by the slippery highway is ‘Checkered Land’, where people wear masks, use others under the umbrella of friendship then cast them aside when they’re done. It’s not a very nice place honestly so don’t go there. Wait I’ll highlight it in red so you don’t forget. There’s the ‘Lost Park’ where strays hang out till they decide on a destination, and next to it is ‘Candy Land’. I’m not sure what happens there, I just added it to the map for fun!
Here by the beach, after you cross the Rocky Mountains is the ‘Country Of Inner Peace’. I’ve been trying to interview the inhabitants for a long time now but they just smile and offer me green tea instead! Their hearts are tied to higher spiritual powers that only few will comprehend.
Now, there’s something quite extraordinary about this map. Whichever road you take, the people around you will filter out, and the only the ones sharing your goal will not only reshape your destiny, they’ll actually transform your character. Remember those endless lectures your parents gave you about choosing your friends wisely? Yeah, turns out they were right, because eventually you’ll become like the people you spend the most time with. If you’re in ‘United Republic of the Cavalry’ for example, you’ll end up losing your ‘Party Animal’ friends down the road. If you’re journeying towards “The Kingdom of Success’, you’ll have a hard time coping with all the jealousy and abuse coming from your friends in ‘Checkered Land’. If you’re still in ‘Lost Park’, you’ll always feel empty inside, even if you have tons of friends in every city.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I understand the struggle that comes with the journey of life and I know how hard it to lose a friend along the way. I experienced it first hand, and it still hurts sometimes. People change, and you suddenly see them under a different light. That friend you had chummy sleepovers with, is now distracted or is filling your life with negativity to drag you down. That best friend who once held the key to all your secrets found someone else on a different journey from yours, and left you wondering why you were so naïve to trust them so much. It could happen slowly, like digging into a wall that collapses over the years. It could happen unconsciously when we are too busy to water the tree of our friendship before we see it withering away. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere, like a car crash of betrayal that wrecks everything you’ve built together. All I’m saying is that if you and your friend have opposite goals, you’ll eventually find yourselves turning your backs to move forward…
It will hurt…and you’ll look behind your shoulders a couple of times, doubting your decision. You’ll walk down memory lane and your heart will ache sometimes. After a break up, most of us start feeling rejected and sorry for ourselves. We sabotage our new friendships because a part of us loses faith in the concept, or we become too attached, because we still remember the pain of letting go….
I wish I could magically heal all the broken hearts of those who’ve been through this. It’s the hardest thing to accept seeing years of closeness and trust slip through your fingers as best friends turn into strangers. All I know is that it gets better… just first pick a destination that gives your life meaning… and I promise there won’t be any strangers there…You’ll find companions instead of competitors and passion will replace your pain. You’ll meet a true friend who will stand by you and lift you up, and then you’ll discover this new place on the map I drew a big heart around….
It’s called ‘Home’….
Lilly S. Mohsen is an Author and Psychologist working as a part-time therapist besides being a spiritual speaker and a contributing writer to a number of renowned websites. For more about Lilly, please check her new blog: lillymohsen.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @Lillymohsen.