Friendship Heartache

I’ve seen a couple of posts about this, but not many, so I thought I’d get to writing my own.

The amount of books, songs, films, shows etc we have that focus on heartbreak is astounding. If you turn on the radio, you probably can’t avoid hearing a song which is about breaking up with someone, or the mixed jumble of feelings you have for ex-partners. The amount of books I’ve read which have the premise, or even the climax, of the main character going through the stages of grief after breaking up with someone is just as high.

One thing that isn’t talked about nearly enough is that special kind of heartbreak you feel when you lose a friend. This can happen in so many ways – whether it’s just from not speaking to someone in a long time, or having a huge argument, or coming to realise that you no longer want to be friends. Many people would argue that losing a boyfriend/girlfriend is far similar, because more often than not they’re your best friends as well, but in my opinion the friendship heartache is something very different. Sure, heartbreak from a relationship can be crippling, but hopefully your friends are there to pick up the pieces and help you through. When it’s your friend that you lose, who’s there to help you through? How do you explain that that friend just got you in so many ways, and that without them you’re not entirely sure who you are? Who are you supposed to text or call when you overhear a nasty comment about you or when you find out that tesco is no longer selling those reduced chocolates that you’ve been gorging on for the past two months? What are you supposed to do when either you, or they, or both of you, realise that you’re not as close or even want to be as close as you used to be?

Let’s go to my own sob story. In primary school, I had a few people who I would call good friends – not that I’ve spoken to any of them in years – but more or less I was ‘friendly’ with everyone. The first year or two of secondary school was similar; I never really found a group that I thought ‘THESE ARE MY KIND OF PEOPLE’, so I sort of drifted from group to group. Towards the end of my second year (Year 8, when I was about 12/13 years old) I found a group of girls (not a surprise, seeing as I went to an all girls school) that I thought were my best of friends. One girl in particular I called my best friend. She seemed to know everything, and we just had so much fun together. We’d have sleepovers where we’d talk about the boys that weren’t in our lives and the celebrities we wish were in our lives. We’d talk about our families, and hopes, and dreams, and fears – you name it, we probably talked about it. Every now and then, we’d fall out for a few days after a petty comment or argument, but soon enough we were best friends again.

This girl, my best friend, had the power to absolutely destroy me. The amount of times I cried because of something she said to me or said about me to someone else (who then told me – thanks again to girl school gossip) was ridiculous. Over the next few years, I found other girls who I soon called best friends as well, but this first girl was still a fixture in my life. Honestly, she wasn’t a great person. She hurt a lot of people, but I was still friends with her. There was one instance I can remember clearly when I called her up because she was ill, telling her to not worry about anything and to get better soon. When she next came to school, she yelled at me for being such a bitch, calling her up to rub it in her face that she was ill and everyone else wasn’t. There was another time when she took me to ‘the bike sheds’ during one lunchtime and she again shouted at me. She had two other girls with her – and together they made up the original three girls I thought were my closest friends – but they didn’t say anything. It was clear though that they were there to support her. I was told that I was a horrible human being and that I was just jealous of her and hated her because she could wear skirts and make-up and I couldn’t. (I should probably mention here that I never wore make-up – mainly because I had no idea how to use it – and I always wore trousers – I really didn’t like my legs).

She knew exactly what to say to upset me, and she did know exactly what she was doing. The next day, she was back to pretending nothing had happened.

And so the years went on, and in my last two years of school I came to the realisation that I didn’t have to be her friend. I tolerated her, even to the point where I would sit next to her in one of my classes and chat, make jokes – all of that rubbish. I would chat to my true best friends, who would never ever say such awful things to me, and I would feel reassured that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like this girl. The amount of instances where she made me want to curl up in my bed and never leave it’s safety are too many to count. After our final exams – when we were eighteen years old – I felt like I was a young teen again when one of my friends told me that she told them that she deleted me on facebook and was ‘really smug about it’. That hurt. Despite not even liking this girl, the years that we were friends would flash through my mind. Where was the girl who told me that she thought I was pretty despite my acne? Where was the girl who could make me laugh until my stomach ached?

What did I do? Well, I blocked her, because I didn’t want to see anything about her any longer.

I still feel a huge mix of weird feelings when I think about her now. Weirdly enough, she goes to university in London and I heard something about her from a friend of a friend. Turns out she’s upset a lot of people already at university, and the relief I feel that I don’t have that in my life any more is incredible. It doesn’t do anything to stop that little twinge I feel, that pang of heartache when I think about the times we were friends.

What’s the cure? Well, I’m still working on it. Surrounding yourself with other friends helps, as does eating copious amounts of chocolate. Also writing a blog post seems to help – writing it all down and throwing it out into the world is pretty cathartic (I hope you’ve ‘enjoyed’ reading about all my very important feelings). For me, finding confidence was a big factor. Being strong enough to just think that it was better to have known her and learned something than not at all. I’m better for it, because now I’m not afraid to tell someone ‘no’. I’m not afraid to have opinions, because I know how to fight my corner. I know that I can be independent, and that those stupid teenage fights we had were just that – stupid teenage fights. I have no desire to see her again, but I’d like to think that if I do ever have to speak to her again, I can be the bigger person.

I’ve moved on. I hope she has too.