I guess it’s over, I realised with a defeated sigh.
Looking back, it had been coming for a while. The ‘it’s not you, it’s me’s’; the ‘I’m just really busy at the moment’; the impersonal, detached conversations; the desperate attempts to patch things up. Was it something I said? Something I did?
Reader, I got dumped. By my one-time best friend.
It would be wrong to say this was the first time I’d been dumped, in the usual sense of the word. To tell the truth, I’ve been broken up with many times, and it’s always been a kick in the proverbial testicles.
But this relationship had gone on for 10 years. We had grown up together. Think of the good times we had, I wanted to cry. Think of the memories! Alas, nothing could salvage what we once had. Whilst not a legitimate justification to wolf down a tub of Ben&Jerry’s, the breakdown of a friendship can be just as hurtful as a failed romantic relationship. In the words of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’…
In this age of social media, instant messaging and high-speed trains, it’s actually quite difficult to have an entirely broken friendship. Although, as a society, we are—and this in itself is a matter for hot debate—more disconnected than ever, it’s all too easy to feign a social connection.
Are ‘likes’, comments and the odd private message an apt substitute for regular social engagements? Probably not. But such a correspondence, however erratic, is easier to stomach then an abrupt ‘break-up’.The reason being dumped by a friend was so painful was because it seemed so darn unnecessary. I still cared about her wellbeing. I still wanted to know what was going on in her life. But suddenly it seemed as inappropriate to ‘like’ her recent photos as it would to wish my ex-boyfriend good luck in his next shagathon.
It’s easier to speculate about your new replacement, whether this is a new BFF or your boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Okay, it’s unlikely that the former is chosen on the basis of her superior rack, but it is still natural to wonder what they can offer that you can’t. You will experience much the same feelings of inadequacy, feeling second best to the hot new offering. Will they go to your favourite spot together? Will they ever talk about you?
In a similar way to a romantic breakup, you might cultivate a Facebook-fuelled obsession surrounding what your former friend and their new BFF are up to. It might even be painful to think that your one-time-sidekick is, in fact, happier now that you’re nowhere near. The solution, as with all social media-induced anxiety, is to leave your darkened room and get a life. But there will be low moments. Crying when Friends comes on the television. Sniffling away to the Toy Story theme tune. Despairing when- months later- you realise no one will appreciate that joke quite as much as your ex-buddy would have.
The sad reality is: if someone decides to chuck you out of their life, there’s not much you can do about it (and who wants to fawn over someone who doesn’t like them back, am-I-right?) Okay, it’s hurtful to feel rejected- of course that was my initial reaction. However, as with a romantic relationship, you have to recognise when the other person Just Isn’t That Into You.
So, to paraphrase Adele, you need to remember that having one less person in your life (or, as I termed it, a ‘friendship deficit crisis’) isn’t the end of the world. Just a time to find yourself a fabulous new posse. Which is probably an easier feat if you don’t refer to them as your ‘posse’.
Dig deep. Is there a reason you aren’t friends anymore? Different interests, separate crowds, deep-seated venomous resentment? It’s likely you won’t even know why. And if there’s no mutual inclination to discuss your differences then…time’s up.
This is where a friendship breakup differs from a romantic one. Friendships- especially female ones- are competitive, complex and downright delicate. It might even be true that ‘it’s not you, it’s them’. Maybe, one day, you’ll be friends again.
For the time being, I’m going to accept my own defeat graciously and, as Adele says, wish my ‘ex’ the best. The big consolation? I don’t have to change my relationship status this time.