Updated: May 15
They always talk about the failed romantic relationships. But what about growing apart from friends?
Posted May 15, 2020
Have you ever been at a family function and hear your parents, aunties, uncles, whoever speak about their younger days? I grew up in a Jamaican household where my parents who are approaching their late fifties are still very close with secondary school (high school) friends and some classmates. Regardless of migrating to the US, technology invasions, and personal development over the decades, one thing that ALWAYS remained the same was those friendships and their stories.
I imagined sharing that same experience with my best friend as we grew older. Unfortunately, that dream was cut shorter than I expected. We were best friends since elementary school. Truth be told I do not even remember how we became friends. Maybe it was during the after-school Girls Scout meetings or joining the school band. What I do know for sure is where you saw one of us, you saw the other.
Lately I have been struggling with coping the loss of friendships I experienced over the last three to four years. I thought with all the therapy sessions and time passed that I have accepted the separations. Then there was Issa and Molly!
As much as I love watching Insecure this season has been triggering to me. Watching the demise of Issa and Molly’s friendship hits close to home as if it is my own reflection. It is not even the type of break-up where one friend does something shady and there is a grudge that carries on for years to the point both friends forgot what they were mad about. This break-up is much worst. It is almost like the hurt of the person closest to you dying. You are left with confusion on how things got to this point and knowing there is nothing you can do to change it no matter how hard you try. The only difference is they are still alive and you both have now become strangers. Yeah, the history is still there of them knowing your secrets and having an unbreakable loyalty that can outshine some marriages. However, they do not know the person you blossomed into and vice versa so conversations now start off like first dates.
I am not sure if it feels that way because deep down this is the only lifeline to save whatever ruins are left between you two. To some extent it feels forced that even though we chose our separate ways that I am still obligated to your loyalty as you are to mines. The guilt that surfaces when traumatic events from unemployment, depression, failed relationships, etc. happen in-between the years; only to feel as though had you been there like so many times before that you could have softened the blow.
If we were back in 2010 and you would have told me this would have been our future, I would have bet everything I had against it. Ten years later I find myself questioning am I Issa or am I Molly? Was I the failure in this relationship or was she not understanding? There are times I find myself trying to rationalize with proverbs that justify that people either come into our lives for a reason or a season. Somehow, she was both.
Now that we are close to breaking into our thirties these feelings solidify reality. What once seemed like “that is forever from now” finally became today. When I think about my best friend, she was my Maid of Honor before there was a fiancé.
She was my child’s godmother before children were even a thought. She was my therapist before mental health was a trend. She was my diary that knew everything first before anyone else. I just knew we should share life’s most precious moments together. It is crazy because I connected her to her soulmate before either one of us knew how serious their relationship would get. Two years later she is happily engaged to him and planning their wedding while I wait on an invitation that I know I will never get. That is a tough pill to swallow.
No on ever talks about the breakup with a best friend. They only associate it with romantic partners and love affairs. The best friend break-up is the worst of them all because you cannot blame good sex or insecurities for why you try to hold on.
Growing up my mother would always badger me about calling everyone my friend. She never let up to remind me that “everyone is not your friend so stop calling everyone your friend”. I would just brush her words off because Mommy, what else was I supposed to call them? People I know and occasionally hang out with (also known as “friend” for short). My mother’s words finally sat with me after about a few months after our friendship say its final days. In 2017, I found myself in a dark place from dealing with adulting mishaps and failed expectations. In that mindset I am very cautious of who I reach out to. My vulnerability has no desire to have to start with a background story so the person can make sense of my current situation. I wanted to talk to someone who REALLY knew me and there was no one. Reaching out to my best friend was no longer an option even with her knowing all the right things to say. That is when it really hit me that our relationship was over.
If you still have your best friend around from your childhood, consider yourself very blessed. People can be as social as they come and have many “friends” but in life most of us have on average one or two REAL friends. There is even a percentage of people who have none. Everyone else can be cool but they are seasonal friends. They fill a specific need in our life until we move on to the next phase of our lives. I am not sure if having the capacity to time travel would have enough influence to salvage our friendship. We were growing apart in our separate lives.
Even though I no longer have my best friend around as we planned, one thing I can find comfort in is knowing I was afforded the experience of having a real best friend.