I’m a girl’s girl. I love spending time with my girlfriends and I pretty much need it for my sanity. I get stuck in mom mode at home; I’m the cook, the cleaner, the ass wiper, the fun maker, and the comfort provider. So sometimes I need to step out of mom mode and just be my own woman. My need for girl time isn’t a result of motherhood monotony, it’s who I have always been. Growing up I was never the girl that ditched her friends when she had a boyfriend. No, I was always the friend that wanted to hang with friends. So it goes without saying that when I’ve had a falling out with a friend, a break up if you will, it’s particularly crushing for me. I can count friend break ups on less than one hand, but they stick with me forever. And because I just experienced a very bizarre and sudden friend break up, I felt it was time to broach the topic of the icky emotion that many women have experienced in their lifetime: heartbreak when friends break up.
When you’ve been replaced
My first major friend break up was in high school. We were tight BFF’s. We shared teen angst stories, found company in our misery of unrequited loves, and laughed our butts off at our shared BFF language that only we understood. But then one day she got a boyfriend and a new BFF and there I was standing all alone with my half heart necklace wondering what the heck happened. That cut ran deep at 15 and to this day I still remember the emotional distress I endured.
When you’ve been “ghosted”
I had a really difficult friend break up in more recent years that was really not so much of a “break up”, but more like I was ghosted by a best friend. Nothing really happened, but I suspect the fact that we were at different points in our lives became more of an issue. It’s crazy how you can go through so much with someone and then one day it’s just kinda over and you don’t really know why… but you can’t really ask because awkwardness has ensued and oh ya, you were ghosted remember? Ghosts don’t talk, they just haunt you. It’s been a few years and my heart is on the mend from this rather emotionally difficult friend break up, but it’s one I’ll carry with me for a long time to come.
I have to say the strangest and most head scratching friend break up happened very recently…on Facebook. This friend was a good time friend. She wasn’t a deep long time confidant of mine, but we had shared interests and a lot of fun together in my pre-kid life back in California. In fact, I look back on this period of my life with so much fondness so it’s super disappointing that things ended so badly — and as abruptly as they did.
When it’s knock out drag out
After a fun morning volunteering at my daughter’s school for the kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast I posted a picture of my sweet 5 year old wearing the cutest Native American inspired outfit that a friend let me borrow from her daughter’s feast last year. The kids were invited to dress in pilgrim and Native American inspired outfits to pay homage to this historical moment and they had such a fun day playing games, making butter and corn bread and sitting down for an early Thanksgiving feast at school. Little did I know that posting this image on Facebook would cause such a fire storm reaction from my once jovial friend. She did not appreciate the image as she felt it was insensitive of the school to support dressing in Native American inspired outfits. When I saw her initial post questioning the situation, I was taken aback by her reaction. It was such an innocent and well intended time, I didn’t understand how this could elicit such a negative response. I responded lightly saying they were learning positive themes from this day, such as being kind, sharing, and giving thanks. The kids enjoyed themselves. But she continued to question the dress, which began to feel like passive aggressive finger pointing towards me. After a third post from her getting increasingly accusatory I replied respectfully, but clapped back a bit at the end letting her know I was not thrilled with the invasion of my sweet kid post turning it into a politically charged debate. I was so not expecting her response nearly 24 hours later and boy, to use her word, it was a “doozy.”
In short, I was called a racist, uneducated, selfish, privileged white woman in which she used the derogatory term “Becky” to address me (um, she is also white). She strongly questioned my morals, called attention to the lack of diversity in my friends that stood up for me on the Facebook post, and took a dig at my “flyover state” of Indiana as essentially being filled with ignorant, intolerable people. Once she was done sticking it to me she promptly unfriended me on Facebook so that I couldn’t respond to her hateful rant.
What a nice way to head into the Thanksgiving holiday with that little public Facebook friend breakup. I was bewildered by how that all went down and I’m still scratching my head. But I’m not one to hold grudges. Despite the mean and hurtful things she said, I’m able to compartmentalize this situation from our good times in the past because it’s a time in my life I really enjoyed. It does make me sad though.
Life goes on
Friend breakups are hard. Whether they are knock out drag out or a slow drifting away over time, the heartbreak is real. Maybe it’s because we share so much vulnerability with girlfriends and it’s just different than how we are with our significant others. We lean on each other and give advice, we wipe away the break up tears, share a bottle of wine over successes, and laugh harder than ever with each other. Friendships are important for our sanity and well being, so when friends part ways it can take an emotional tole. Life goes on and we make new friends, but we always mourn the loss of friendship. In the spirit of forgiveness, let’s all raise a glass to the friends in our past, wish them well, and move forward cherishing the good memories we have.