It’s not just any Monday… it’s another Maxie Monday! Maxie wrote this post and when I pulled the draft up in my inbox, I knew it was going to be a good one. This is one of the absolute hardest parts about growing up: growing up and growing apart. For years, I was tormented by lost friendships and it wasn’t an easy thing to come to terms with. But it’s one of the best lessons you can learn and to know that it’s okay (a truth that too often goes unspoken). Now the irony is that I just know that Maxie and I are lifelong friends. Guaranteed. We can find time to chat no matter where we are in the world (30,000 feet in the air or across the country). I’m pretty sure we can weather it all!
This post is coming at the absolute most perfect time as most of us went “home,” wherever that may be, for Thanksgiving. Having gone to an out of state school and graduated from high school so many years ago… it’s interesting to see which friends still remain in my life. Who are the girls I seek out the minute I land and spend time with? The group gets smaller and smaller every year I come home, but in a lot of ways, those that remain feel closer than ever before. It’s okay to not be friends with the girls I shared every lunch and class with in high school… It’s okay to let some friendships go, it doesn’t change the time you did have together.
Friendships are one of the most treasured things in my life. They are women (sprinkled with a dude here and there) that make my life sparkle. I can’t imagine life without these individuals. Many of them have been in my life for a really long time. Others have only been here a short while in comparison but won’t be getting rid of me anytime soon (cough carly cough).
However, there are a handful of people who were best friends in my past, and are no longer in my present. Ex-best friends seems too harsh a term, but it describes exactly what it feels like. Someone who had a very major role in my life for years, but for one reason or another, isn’t a friend that I keep today.
And no one tells us when we’re growing up that it’s normal. That this is going to happen. That not all friendships are forever. Whoever came up with those half-heart BFF necklaces was totally lying. Friend breakups are some of the hardest ones.
But like relationships, not all friendships are going to see you through to the old gray, wheelchair days. Not every best friend from your childhood will be still standing at your side during your wedding. We grow up, we change, and those friends we thought we’d never grow out of, simply don’t make sense in our lives any more.
And this happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s distance and we just didn’t keep the relationship moving forward. We lost touch and never rekindled it. These, in my opinion are the natural (read: easy) ones. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes you need to break up with best friends for the same reason you end up breaking up with a boyfriend: one or both of you aren’t moving your lives in the same direction. You don’t bring out the best in each other. You’re only best friends because you always have been, and that’s it. Or the relationship is toxic and not a dynamic you want to be a part of anymore. These types of breakups force us to call a spade a spade and have the incredibly difficult conversation that this friendship isn’t going to continue.
Trust me when I say, I know how tough it is. I’ve been there. And more likely than not, if you’re the one wanting the break up; they’re probably not “seeing” it the way you are. But you’ve spent so much energy trying to see this friendship through, and for whatever reason, you know it’s not one you want to continue.
Trust that feeling. Beautiful, soulful friendships, aren’t meant to drain you. They’re meant to leave you feeling even more lively than before. Lasting friendships will take the twists and turns of life without a blink, but perhaps with a little fight here or there. Those types of friendships likely aren’t going to come in droves.
More likely than not, you’ll have friendships come and go. There will be a lot of that. And the trick is not to feel guilty about it. Not to hold onto regret or disappointment that you’re no longer friends, which isn’t made any easier by Facebook posts and Instagram photos of their recent engagement, new boyfriend, and world’s cutest puppy. It’s in those moments you’ll really want to beat yourself up for letting that friendship go, but take solace in knowing that friends are guides at certain points in your life, standing next to you for certain, sometimes multiple, sometimes limitless chapters in your life.
Drop the attachment and the guilt to long lost best friends. Don’t beat yourself up over the bestie breakup. Don’t cry when you find the other half of that BFF necklace, the one you shared with a girl you never talk to anymore. Take a breath and remember we all have them, the ex-besties. That’s life. Except unlike this un-fairy tale ending, no one told you early on that friendships aren’t forever.