When you lose a friendship, it’s an altogether different sort of hurt and rejection. Friends are who you share pieces and the wholeness of your life with; you comfort them as they do you. A good friend is one who shares your days and nights. Close friends are those with who we share our most honest and authentic pieces of ourselves.
Unlike romantic relationships, where lines of commitment are often clearly defined, broken or removed friendships evolve over time. One tends to invest a lot more perhaps in true friendships. They may seem to exist in a place less significant than romance and yet, in many cases, are far more intimate than any relationship we can forge within our lifetimes. When rejected by a potential love interest, we understand it’s part of the game of dating. When betrayed by our partners and we see relationships and marriages going up in flames, the loss is unbearable. But the loss of a good, solid, cemented friendship, sometimes poses a mystery.
We become utterly disappointed when a friendship ends, particularly when it’s one nurtured over years. A life-long friendship that abruptly ceases over a careless remark or a thoughtless act, in an unguarded or indiscreet moment, is unfortunate. But the surprising part is that it happens a lot more than we expect. Human relationships are fragile and complex. When a good friend starts ignoring you or cuts you off completely, it’s rough. But in this day and age, it can be brutal. View her Instagram story in which everyone is tagged but you; or a Facebook album at a party you were not invited to – the message and the exclusion rather direct and hurtful. Your suspicions become clear as day – something’s amiss and you know now where you stand. The hurt stems from the fact that plans were made consciously and for whatever reason you were not a part of it. That kind of hurt is legitimate – far more than what people tell you.
As is the case with romantic dalliances nowadays, forging great or long term friendships too seem a bit inconvenient. There are reasons why even strong friendships can fade; sometimes we simply stop talking to someone and are afraid to be the one reaching out. More often we just can’t get plans aligned and are left wondering if life is really that busy or you are just being avoided. Sometimes, your life stops running congruent to each other and you discover that that sacred bond was nothing but just circumstances that brought you together! Then there’s times when you stop having enough in common to really make that effort worthwhile. Other times, you stop being that person you were and the relationship just drifts off. However, whatever the reason for the shift, if you’re left hanging on to the coattails of that friendship, the sting is still as sharp and as painful as any loss imaginable.
When a friend calls it off or disappears without explanation, it can be devastating. Even though the churning and pruning may be long drawn out, we still expect most friendships to last a lifetime. Friendship break-ups challenge our vision of who we are, especially if we’ve been intertwined with a friend over years. Pulsing with hurt in the wake of a bad breakup, we tend to hurl those that hurt us into that ‘Bad Friend Basket’. Quite often, there could be many factors surrounding friendships that are out of our control. The forces that dictate whom we stay close to and whom we choose to let go, can be mysterious and even a bit surprising, even to ourselves. The people you liked very much could well have turned into the ones you haven’t contacted in a really long time! And others you don’t connect with as well could be the ones you tend to see a lot more!
Dealing with bad friends, getting dumped by them, and feeling disappointed with them could be a stressful part of life, and it could truly damage your self-worth and other relationships as well. Being pencilled-in into that bad friend category leaves you a bit devastated.
Friendships, like most relationships, are based on trust. While nobody is perfect, betrayals are often red flags. Remember – Your boundaries need to be respected by those around you. Healthy friendships are also rooted in authenticity. Close friendships involve valuing the thoughts and emotions of another person. If a friend easily gets enraged or irked with the slightest cause, fails to see things from your perspective, you may want to consider whether that friendship is healthy for your wellbeing.
Friendships by definition are mutual relationships. Beware of friends that ask for favours, emotional support without offering the same in return. When friends get conveniently busy, go radio silent, or seem distant and unreachable, remember that friendship has run its course. In time, good friends may become mere acquaintances and acquaintances good friends. Friendships work best on mutual respect and support. If you constantly question either one of these, it’s time to walk away.
In absolute friendships, there’s cooperation amongst friends, where each party considers their needs and the needs of their friends in order to find solutions that work for both. If a friend tears you down, betrays their role as a friend, hardly ever seems invested in your success or even worse, wants to see you fail, it may be time for that relationship to end. Finding real friends is not easy but nurturing a good friendship certainly is. In life, you usually gather but a handful of friends to rely on and call your true buddies.
Most friendships rarely have a clear explicit beginning or end. There is a certain ambiguity in the nature of friendship. Friendships rest on a mutual covenant, but unlike a marriage or a love relationship, many times not explicitly stated. Marriages and business partnerships have defined beginnings and ends. The underlying factor in these is the contractual clause. So when marriages or business partnerships end there is almost an immediate closure. Not so with friendships. You don’t usually tell people, “Hey we’re officially friends now.” Friendships evolve through the convenience of regular contact between folks and maintained through mutual respect and a certain like-mindedness of spirit. When these friendships fade, when their lives suddenly change (like a new job marriage or baby) or when you no longer share the same things in common, these dwindle due to a difference in investment of time and energy.
Certain friendships have gone through all the punctuation marks of life: elementary school, college, heartbreaks, late night chats, and all that coffee gossip times. There are friends who’ve seen you through puberty, through relationships, broken bones and failing exams. To lose that overnight, feels like having a limb cut off. These friendships are such you never imagined walking away from. The hurt, remorse and pain is overwhelming. There are conflict and abandonment issues, there is resentment, jealousy and bottled in anger. But the worst is when there is still love. No matter when your best friend becomes a stranger, a big part of your life is just gone.