From Our ReadersBest Friends Forever: How I Survived a Break-Up With My Best FriendsFrom Our Readers

Back in middle school, when both reality TV and the concept of popularity was on the rise, we used to play Survivor. This was simply a cruel way to get rid of girls we didn’t like sitting with us. I believe this ritual was done only two or three times, but it was enough to become a part of my childhood memory. At the 13 year-old mecca known as the lunch table, we’d politely tell a girl that she had been voted off the island and could no longer sit with us (Tina Fey must have been a lunch aide during this time). The conversation would usually end in tears and eventually we’d pull the “just kidding” line and they’d be back sitting with us, usually stemmed from my guilt of ostracizing girls at their most awkward stage of development.

These table eliminations would involve myself and two of my best friends. Our fourth counterpart went to a different school, but I’d swear she was in there in spirit as sometimes my memory places her right alongside our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were inseparable, slightly awkward and the entire bit loud. These would be the girls that I would celebrate birthdays with, go to sweet sixteens with, try my first sip of liquor with and have my first lesbian-esque experiences with. There was no doubt in my mind that we’d be on the altars at each others’ weddings and chasing each other in nursing homes.

That is, until they dumped me.

Post-college in 2011, things went into the s**tter for college grads. I had three internships under my belt, one being at one of the best selling women’s magazines out there. I had studied abroad and completed a book, all while managing to still get wasted and partake in the occasional wild sex story. I knew I was meant to be something great, and although my girlfriends really didn’t have aspirations that paralleled mine, I still loved them.

The four of us never really had anything in common, we just happened to be in close proximities in math and history classes circa 2001. Like every other girl, I liked to think of us as the less emotional and more insane version of Sex and the City. All different but all having our quirks that made us mesh perfectly together. No matter what bumps in the road we hit, we were always able to sweep them under the rug and go party.

Now when I was interning in the city YET AGAIN trying to make sense of my life, they were all still at home or in school. I had struggled with depression for years and I felt myself beginning to regress. It’s like a wave that you see in the distance, slowly swelling, gathering and picking up speed as it comes closer. I was questioning my self-worth after moving home and juggling internships to prove that I was the one dancing monkey that should be chosen for a job.

After eight months of this, I was still working, losing money and going nowhere. My home life was nothing but screams and fights and my love life that was supposed to end in an engagement, crumbled around me. It was a 1-2 punch in a boxing match and my heart was K.O.ed.

I didn’t want to bother my girlfriends, they wouldn’t understand anyways (I’d later realize this is why I never talked to them about ANYTHING serious for ten years). I was still fun and goofy. I could still play Survivor.

So when one of the Fantastic Four invited me out, I said yes. It had been awhile. I was excited to see them and even offered to drive.

This would be the last night we would be all together. I had gotten home from work at 9pm and scurried to put myself back together and pick everyone up to head to a local club.

The night started off fine, but slowly began to assist in my meltdown. My friends demanded we stay right next to the speakers while the band played. There was no way I was willing to risk my hearing for a s**tty cover band, so I broke off and headed to the back. Next, I tripped on my heels (which I NEVER do, I worked in NYC for Christ’s sake) and slammed into some girls. I saw stars because I hit my nose so hard and everyone gasped. I picked myself up and then proceeded to wash the pain away with a drink. I then made my way back out by the band and they played a song that I’ve loved almost as long as I’ve loved my three girlfriends. About not giving up, that you’re just in the middle of this ride called life. Regardless of the s**t people say and things that happen, in time you’ll be okay.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. Losing your “best friends” I felt was way harder than any loss I had experienced. 5 years later after ending a 10 year friendship I am still not over it. But in the end you will love the time you spent with them but need to realize we are not the same people we once were and that is ok. We never want our friends to leave, but sometimes the time for the relationship has come and gone.

  2. What a great article. I had a similar-ish experience in high school with a “best friend” who dumped me for someone else. I’ve also experienced friendships that have naturally faded as we grew apart. It’s hard, especially when they’re childhood friends, and making friends as an adult is *really* difficult. But this is one great thing I love about HG; women sharing their stories with the community so that we can all feel a little less alone. :)

  3. I am going through this right now, and the sad thing is that it’s not the first time. I feel like i’ve been there to my friends, and then I am so easily put aside. Even though I know I should think THEY are in the wrong, I can’t help but feel what is wrong with me.

  4. I love this article. I’m going through something similar with a childhood friend. In therapy, I discovered that the relationship is nothing more than an “attachment”. It is incredibly comforting to know that, to know that this “friendship” that I thought I had been building for so many years was really, in truth, just an attachment to a person who lived around the corner from me.

    I’m sorry to hear your friends were such jerk faces though. That kind of behaviour should have been left back in middle school, but they clearly haven’t developed an iota in the friend department.

  5. I really appreciate an article like this and it’s nice, in a strange not-so-nice way, that I’m not alone in having had terrible friends like this. Your situation was almost exactly the same as mine except mine took place in my last year of school where I could never properly cast them out of my life. I was sad for a long time as we’d been best friends for years and they turned everyone against me. But they never cared when I was upset or serious and just wanted to have fun and to stand next to the shitty speakers and listen to the shitty band. I’m relieved, despite the hard times, that I got rid of them. We’re both better off without these people.

  6. great article

  7. Thanks for this great article. I am, and have been, experiencing a similar thing in my life. Since moving away to University while a large number of my friends stayed in my home town, I am finding it increasingly difficult to connect with them emotionally. I feel like they don’t understand me, and it leaves me feeling quite alone sometimes. While I love them dearly and still have a lot of fun when I am with them it is becoming increasingly clear that we are drifting apart, and I think that maybe that is ok. The problem I am facing now is how to replace these friendships with new, meaningful ones!

  8. I went through someting similar with some girls I considered close friends. Eventually, when they simply decided I had no use for them anymore, they cast me off. I totally agree with what you said here: “as you get older, and realize that sometimes you befriend quite simply, “Mean Girls” with no aspirations, then maybe it’s okay to be voted off the island.” It’s their loss afterall.

  9. To be fair, it sounds like you were too focused on what you could get from them instead of what you brought to the table. It also doesn’t sound like they were ever really your friends. Forgot your birthday? That’s girlfriend 101 stuff. Love yourself a little more and go find some people with whom you actually have something in common.

    • I feel that this kind of guilt-ridden, self-blaming reasoning is an integral part of breaking up with men in a heterosexual relationship – I’m uncomfortable with that line of thought in women’s friendships.

  10. I, along with others i see, cannot agree more with this. It spoke to me in many ways, just reading the title i stopped what i was doing to read it.
    I am blessed to know that the one or two friends that i have, while a lonely number, are exactly what i need. And while i know we drift apart, and sometimes i miss great ‘chapters’ in their lives, these girls are my sisters and we always come back to each other and fill each other in.
    Sometimes the ones we think we need the most, don’t end up being the ones we want to keep around. I’ve lost a number of ‘friends’ recently, and am slowly coming to the same conclusion: Its okay to be voted off the island.

  11. All of the trust issues, insecurities and anxieties I have about relationships come not from my experiences with men but my experiences with ex-”friends”. “Chapter friends” is a perfect term.

  12. I am glad to know other gals have struggled with this heart-wrenching decision. Here’s to true friends!

  13. This article really spoke to me. Throughout my life I’ve had to dump some of my ‘close’ friends because I realized how one-sided the relationships were. My stepmom always told me you are incredibly lucky to have one real true friend in your life, and I always thought that was sad, but it’s true. You can want to be best friends with everyone, but only about 1% of your friends are truly worthy of the title.

  14. This piece really affirmed to me the decision I made last year to break up with my best friends – it has been hard at times to accept that some people are not meant to be in your life forever! I feel so free now and can be my authentic self without fear of judgement by those closest to me.

  15. i had a group of “toxic” friends for almost 15 years. my life was so much better once they were gone

  16. “Some come into your life for a mere page or two, others can fill the chapters of an entire decade.” This is perfect. I’ve struggled with a similar issue for a while now and this has really cleared things up for me. How did you manage to get a job in the end? I’m in the stage you described where I’m stick at home screaming out for a life and to be the performing monkey who is chosen for a job.

    xxxxx