As usual, your girl will start with a preface because we still have issues that need to be addressed.
I’m neither your role model friend nor the type to actively seek friendships/relationships. Both of these are driven by my anxiety; the older I grow and become more “adult” I become, this only worsens. I also haven’t made many friends IRL (Internet friends FTW) or in my adult years, but the ones I have are, and those who stayed are close to my heart, and I love them dearly.
The reasons we lose friends can be many. Sometimes it is when one does something to break the trust of the other or there is an argument that remains unresolved. Or sometimes you organically grow apart because life gets in the way, and neither of you makes an extra effort to sustain the friendship. Or sometimes, it can even be new differences in politics, religion, culture or a new friend or partner in their lives who might be more influential than you and, for some reason, doesn’t appreciate your friendship. But you get it; there can be many reasons we lose friends we’ve been friends with since childhood or have known for the last two years. I want to use this space to explore more into this and what it feels like to be on the other end of things, if that makes sense.
Also, another quick preamble: I’m not looking for pity or sympathy through this post; just been wanting to articulate something that’s been on my mind for a long while now.
Sense of loss
“Friends like family” is something we hear often. And for me, this is so very true. Growing up, I had a very small immediate family, and that was it. Our extended family perhaps didn’t understand the nuances or what it meant to be supportive of a troubled home and chose to stay away. But instead of them, we were blessed with a few great family friends, empathetic neighbours, and landlords. Since childhood, it was essential for me to include EVERYONE in a group. I am not an extrovert or a party starter, but to this day, I’m not too fond of it when people are left behind for whatever reason. Should they choose not to want to be included, that is a separate concern, but call me a child; I find it difficult to fathom and grasp exclusion and discrimination. So under this pretext, when I made friends, I believe I gave them as much as possible. Now, perhaps as I’ve grown older, I don’t make as many friends because I only have a little to give, or I’ve exhausted a lot of my existing energy and resources, if that makes sense. One of those tests also showed that acts of service and quality time are two of my most preferred love languages for all my relationships, haha. And that’s true. So, when I lose a dear friend I have loved and cherished for so long, there is a deep sense of loss.
See, unlike the sense of loss you feel when someone dies or during a breakup, loss in friendship hits differently. And I am by no means undermining the loss felt during either of these situations. Because more often than not, you don’t know how to remedy it and unfortunately, the older we grow as adults, the less reluctant we are to pursue after these or life and responsibilities continue to get in the way that you keep pushing this further down your list of things to do that before you know it, too much time has passed to do anything.
Learning to trust (again)
Often, unlike family or romantic relationships, we choose our friends. We choose to become friends either because of shared interests or because you just “clicked”. Thereon begins a beautiful journey of getting to know each other, confiding in each other and even trusting facts about yourself that you find uncomfortable sharing with your family or partner. But what happens when you are no longer friends? We talk a lot about how it’s difficult to find love again because of past relationship trauma or how it’s challenging to have children of your own because of what you’ve seen growing up in your own families. But again, these are not relationships you had a lot of “choice” in. Okay, sure, for romantic partners, there was some choice compared to family.
But nothing surpasses the choice you have when you make friends. And when you lose these cherished friends, your confidants, then what happens? How do you learn to trust again or extend yourself to a new person who wants to come into your life to be your friend? Do we push them away? How do we help ourselves and start again without bringing baggage from our former friendships?
How do we navigate friend circles?
Chances are that when you are long-time friends, you also start to have mutual friends. But when you become distant as friends and move on with your separate lives, your friend circles also become disintegrated. Suddenly you start to see others show up in your stead, or you pick a new friend to be a part of your wedding retinue. Sure, these are petty as fuck, and I agree. But even though we aim to be the enlightened people we aspire to be devoid of emotion and feeling, a sense of loneliness and isolation comes to you one fine afternoon while you are sitting in traffic waiting for the colour light to turn green.
But yet we move on…
I don’t particularly appreciate using ellipses, but it must be done here. We move on despite losing friends, sisters and confidants because that is all there is left to do. We continue to form new relationships, make new friends and continue to be hopeful of being reciprocated with kindness and friendship.
I’m sure there are more than can be added to this. However, these are the places where I’ve struggled in the past and occasionally continue to struggle while in traffic, waiting for the colour light to turn green.
PS – Little update for anyone who made it this far. I’m sorry I haven’t been active here. I’m hoping to write more, and I really am trying. I’ve temporarily moved countries, and maybe a new environment will facilitate this. I hope you are well, staying safe and sane. Thank you for being here.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Former Friends”
I like how your writing comes at the perfect time. It’s funny that I have been pondering along similar lines. Time away from the island has given me a lot of time to think about friendships. Thank you for this. It helps to know I am not alone.
Thank you for always being a constant 💗