But what about when it feels like one of your friends has broken your heart?
For me, friendship is one of the single most beautiful things in life. My friends are my world; I am naturally a rather cynical being, but my friends are the one area of my life that I have no boundaries with. I trust that they love me, and I love them unconditionally.
When this happened I felt the same aching, longing and general disbelief that I'd associated with the end of a romantic relationship . The things that further twisted the knife was that these were not the people who were meant to make me feel like this. These were the people who I had believed would undoubtedly be with in 60 years time, recalling stories of our past and still laughing so much we ached.
When you lose a friendship, it’s a strange dimension of pain. It is not something that we can prepare for, and I believe it can be trickier to navigate through than with than a “traditional” break up. After all, there aren’t stereotypical coping mechanisms associated with friendship breakups; there aren’t the mandatory hours allocated to eating whole tubs of Ben & Jerrys, while watching Thelma & Louise, or the encouragement to “get a new haircut”, “overhaul your wardrobe" or " go on holiday with the girls”.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t still ache for certain people, however me saying how much I (still) love them isn’t going to help anyone out there. Instead I wanted to share a few things that I learnt as I worked through my heartbreak.
- Be true to yourself. Did you screw up? If yes, apologise, if no, step back and think about that again – could you have screwed up in their eyes?
- Be true to them. Trust them. They are not you and they need to be accountable for their own feelings and actions. You cannot change their minds and you cannot control their actions, all you can do is make sure your feelings are clear, and then step back.
- Spend the spare time you suddenly have (as lets face it, a lot of daily whatsapp messages and a weekly phone call can add up!) investing in yourself. Grab that book you kept meaning to read, practice that hobby you've been putting off until ‘tomorrow’.
- Do not, under any circumstances, enter into bitching or point scoring. You are hurting because you love them, be sure to respect that fact and don’t mar it by lashing out.
- As an extension of the above, don’t use social media as a channel of passive aggressive action. Once again, "unfriending" people, blocking people, "unfollowing" people and petty comments are not cool. They are simply detrimental to the memories you share, and to your own classiness.
- Perhaps more importantly, the above also really dents the opportunity for a possible reconciliation. It would be horrendous to realize that some love and friendship could have been salvaged, had you not made them out to be the she-devil to all who would listen.
Friendships, like ‘other’ relationships, can have bumps in the road. What really counts is how you deal with them. Question the bumps, grieve if needed, and then take a step forward.
There is always the chance people will come back into your life when you are both ready, but even if they don’t you can still to be thankful for all the good times.
Also, remember that we only hurt when we lose something we truly loved. xx