My most popular blog post of all time was this Scary Mommy post about a friendship breakup. When I say popular, I mean people still email me regularly about this post. Women want to know whatever happened to that friend, did we reconcile?, do I have any regrets? But mostly, people want to tell me about their broken friendship stories. They want (gasp) my advice! They want to know if there’s any hope for them.
Before I go any further, I need to clarify the friendship this post is based on was over a decade ago… maybe two. We have no contact, so if you’re sitting there trying to sleuth out who this person might be, don’t bother. We have no links between us anymore. Thanks and moving on.
It’s surprising that this is my most popular post. After all, I am a mommy blogger. 90% of my posts are mom related. What this tells me is that friendships are at the top of many moms’ minds. And mom friends are so, so important and let’s face it, developing friends, both new and old, when you have kids is extremely hard. It takes work, energy, and time, three things mom’s are severely lacking!
I want to talk a little about broken friendships though, because it is such a common and painful experience most of us go through. I’m fortunate that I’ve only had one true friendship break-up. (And no, we never reconciled).
I think for women it’s especially hard because we are so damn sensitive. Take me, for example. The minute I start a sentence with “I feel like…” tears start lining up my eyes. I’m really bad at expressing myself because I just wind up crying. It makes me a pretty shitty person to get into an argument with, too, because I can’t even express myself — just wah wah wah. I guess that’s why I like writing instead 🙂
And there’s a terrible stigma when it comes to women and confrontation. You know what I mean. You can hardly mention a girl on girl argument before someone cries out “meow” and everyone’s giggling about your cat fight. Women aren’t supposed to argue. Women aren’t supposed to have conflicts. We’re supposed to be pleasant and passive and amenable. Right? Or maybe that’s just how I grew up.
Finally, there’s pain in a friendship break-up, because it is just that… a break-up. It doesn’t get the same attention as people in a sexual relationship, but maybe it should. It’s similar and it can hurt just as much. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When I’m communicating with women who reach out to me about their broken friendship, I often tell them something they do not want to hear: making peace with the break-up might take a long time, maybe even years.
It took me years for my heart to mend from my break-up. Lots of pain, questioning, disbelief, anger, etc. Years of this! To finally be on the other side of that ended relationship is liberating, to say the least. I want to tell you that if you’ve experienced a friendship breakup, please know that it’s not that uncommon. It’s surprisingly common, in fact. You are not alone. And you are not “dwelling” on it if it still hurts, you are not “overcomplicating” it if it still keeps you up at night. Lastly, you are not “being overly sensitive” if it still hurts. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to hurt. If anyone’s told you to stop dwelling on it, tell them to shove off… this stuff takes time!
Friendships come and go. If you’re lucky you find a few that come back, and those should be cherished and treasured. But others end, sometimes over time and sometimes abruptly, and that’s okay too. Celebrate the happy memories you do have with those people and move on because every day is a new opportunity to live, discover and grow.