It’s a dark topic but it happens – sometimes best friends happen to part.
My best friend and I severed ties in 2007 and since then, the role of “best friend” has been tough to fill. Having met in 1999 (which seems like eons ago), the two of us were pretty much tied at the hip. Even though we went to college a state apart, we talked daily and seemed to know the individuals the other had met on our separate journeys based on phone and internet conversation. College was a big hurdle, but we managed! And then everything fell apart.
Despite being in the same place, I was set on having a career and moving forward. My best friend didn’t enjoy the college experience as much as I had and was on the 5-year plan. After I graduated, it seemed like we couldn’t relate on this new level. She was dead set on discussing jokes and issues from high school while I had matured from those issues and was totally freaking out over resumes and fitting a stereotypical “adult” profile. I heard from mutual friends that she was upset with me and we never managed to reach a common ground.
I hate to admit it but it still affects me to this day. Every milestone I’ve reached since the breakup makes me think of her and how I had made the promise years ago to share it with her. She was going to be my maid of honor but now she probably won’t even be invited to my future wedding.
However, I’ve managed to trudge through: Here are some tips, if you’re in a similar situation.
- Tell her how you feel. A few years after my BFF conundrum, I wrote her a letter to tell her my side of the story. It was an update on what I was up to and a summary on how I felt things got skewed along the way. This way, the ball was in her court: I stated my feelings and she was the one to figure out what happened next. Also, it will help you to write it out. Just make sure that if you had severe issues (she stole a boyfriend, tried to sabotage other friendships or you just think she’s pure evil), it’s not a letter of venting. Don’t attempt to badmouth or add fuel to the fire. Save that for a diary.
- Don’t focus on the negative. The friendship was great during the time you had it. Trying to pinpoint and add enthusiasm to all of the since-resolved fights from the past will only make you feel like the entire experience was a waste of your time. Don’t write-off the past entirely, just acknowledge that for a certain span of time, one person truly helped enhance your life.
- Re-evaluate the friendship: Maybe the two of you were more incompatible than you thought. If she didn’t let you grow or stifled your creativity, maybe the break was necessary. Just remember Point #2: See the re-evaluation as a way to move past it and not to destroy the good memories. It could have been a great friendship but it may not have been the healthiest
- Remember That People Change: It’s true. You’ve changed, too. Every life experience can make you think differently about the world and this is true with your former BFF. Sometimes you reach a point where you feel like you can’t even relate to your go-to-girl.
If your BFF takes a turn that you can’t sympathize with, talk to her. If it’s something serious, make sure she knows you’re there for her; if it’s something juvenile, try to figure out if there’s a deeper meaning behind it. If it’s continuously something juvenile, realize that her priorities may no longer be in line with yours.
5. Remember That Your Mutuals Don’t Want To Take Sides: Nor should they. While it’s tempting to throw some gossip out there to gather the opinions of your mutual friends (or see if your ex-BFF has said anything about you), the smartest thing to do is remember that the breakup is only between the two of you. Don’t risk losing additional friends or causing problems within a larger group. If someone wants to talk it out with you, treat it like you would a job interview. Don’t badmouth your last employer but state simply why things didn’t work out. (“I wanted the chance to grow” is much better than “My last boss always hated me and all of my coworkers had it out for me!”)
Even if you have complete faith in a mutual friend, realize that what you say about your best friend has a chance of getting back to her. She’s your best friend – or at one point was – so try to talk to her one-on-one before bringing up the issue with someone else. Even though she might not appreciate it till later, she’ll hopefully realize that this move is much more respectful.
Group-planning with mutuals might be a little tough for awhile if the friendship never rebounds but it can be done. As long as everyone is aware of the breakup, they’ll make sure to accommodate hanging out with the both of you – especially if you make an effort.
6. Realize That You Still Have Time To Make Memories: Your Ex-BFF may have witnessed some key stages but a person goes through continuous growth. Make sure to surround yourself with positive, engaging people that will help remind you what you’re truly capable of.
While you shouldn’t be looking to replace her role as your best friend, there are so many ways to meet great people these days! If you’re in college, think about joining clubs that fit your interests. About 95% of my current group of friends emerged from joining my college radio station in freshman year.
Just remember: You hurt because you care, but life will go on! It might not have been her fault or yours but rather a collaboration of two people moving in different directions.
And as the great Michael Stipe would say, “Take comfort in your friends.” Even if they were the ones who never got the chance to claim that top place.