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The Et Cetera

We need to talk about friendship breakups

Lucero Guzman

When someone talks about breakups, they’re usually referring to the end of a romantic relationship. Even just the word “relationship” is most often interpreted to mean a romantic one. There’s no specific word for the end of a friendship though, despite that being arguably just as painful as a romantic breakup. There must be a reason people often refer to their romantic partners as their best friends, after all. 

Our culture reflects this problem, as romantic breakups are often the topic of songs. Even now, I’m using the concept of romance as a comparative baseline. It feels almost like ignoring the fact that those aren’t the only bonds that wither. Friends are meant to be there for us for a long time, sometimes through the coming and going of romantic partners. Of course, it always sucks to lose someone you cared about regardless of the nature of that relationship, but losing the support system found within our friends can be devastating.

As for me, it’s nothing I haven’t been through before, and it’s not like I won’t go through it again. My ex-best friend and I met in the summer of 2016, right as we were finishing our freshman year of high school, and we were truly inseparable for a long time, as cliche as it sounds. After three years of being friends, however, we gradually stopped connecting the way we used to. To this day I regret that our friendship faded, but I was in no small part responsible for the outcome. In the end, I wasn’t growing up as quickly as she was.

The process of coming to terms with the way things have turned out in that relationship has taken several years, and I’m still not fully over it. I lost someone I considered my sister, and I’ll be lucky to connect with someone else the same way ever again. 

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t let go of several more friends since then. Though painful, it has been vital for my development. 

As friends, we should encourage growth within each other. Life is an experience that can be enriched by the people around us, but we also have to take the time to weed out those whom we have outgrown, even if sometimes you’re the one who’s being let go. 

Ultimately, my best friend and I were meant to grow apart, so we did. She’s a special case for me. If she ever wanted to be friends again, I think I’d welcome her back into my life with open arms. Everyone is different, though.

The end of a friendship is almost always bittersweet, even when it’s necessary, and it’s honestly inevitable that it’ll happen a few times in our lives. We don’t get much in terms of media that assists in processing these events, and that should change. 

For now though, we can start talking more often about old friendships – and knowing when to let go for our own peace.

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