Breaking up is hard to do. You are practically obligated to lock yourself in your bedroom for a week, eat junk food, watch depressing movies, and cry your little heart out (in recent years, the list has come to include stalking your ex on Facebook and going out to a bar to get trashed with your girlfriends). You are filled with so much pain, the pain of loss. You mourn what you once had, what you don't have now, and what you never will have with that person again. It can be all at once depressing, frightening, painful, and sometimes liberating. Most of us have experienced this agony at least once in our lives. It's the memory of this pain that keeps you on your toes in the next relationship. It's what reminds you to keep your eyes open to make the right choices, so that the next one won't leave you with your snuggie and a pint of Hagen Daas Cookies and Cream. Recent events have left me wondering: what happens if you don't breakup with a guy, but with your friends?
Lately, things have been a bit hectic. Early mornings at the office, late nights in class, and a bevy of emotional issues led me to prioritize in a new way. Free time was rare and I had promised chunks of it to a list of people. My closest friends were getting frustrated, but I simply couldn't give them what they wanted. After many long, painful nights, in which I judged myself for being a bad friend, I decided to evaluate what made their friendships so essential to me that I was allowing the issue to cause me such distress. After much thought, I couldn't really find much. I realized, through time, that I was clinging on to what the friendship once was, not what it had become. I tried to make it work, but it just didn't. Eventually I decided it would be best to step back and fade out slowly. I thought it was the perfect plan, since it would release me from "best friend" duties, but not make me an enemy. A word to the wise: perfect plans often backfire. Halfway through the fading process, I was caught. They noticed I wasn't around as much and wanted to know what was going on. I'm a horrible liar, so I told them the truth. I told them that I felt like we were at different stages in our lives and that we would be better off going our separate ways. I broke up with them. Apparently, that makes me a bitch. Interesting. After the "breakup," there was a long, long conversation, which was eerily reminiscent of a traditional breakup. We spoke about the weaknesses in our relationship and in each other, we brought unresolved issues into the limelight, and we made comments that can never be taken back or forgotten. The conversation ended with a bitter, sarcastic goodbye. I was fine in the beginning, probably because I was angry and insulted. I thought that I was ok, since I knew I was better off without them. I was wrong. While I still know that I made the right choice and I'm better off without them, I must admit that there were days where my boyfriend bought me Baskin Robbins and reminded me that I'm too good for them and I'll find a new friend. It was the need for his support that made me realize how a breakup is a breakup, whether its with a man or your best friend. I shed a few tears, deleted a few photos, and even dabbled in cookie dough. Instead of texting an ex for a booty call, I Facebook messaged 3 previous "best friends" I had lost contact with in hopes of reconnecting. I realized that romantic breakups have an advantage: mass sympathy. All you have to do is cancel your relationship on Facebook, and before you know it, that little broken heart is on everyone's home page and you have 15 sympathetic comments from people you forgot existed. Your family feels bad for you, so they deal with your moodiness. Your mom tells you to go out and buy new shoes, your little brother gives you the remote, your dad keeps the "I told you so" to himself. It's nice. You don't have that for a friend breakup. You have to find a way to support yourself. I chose to watch a marathon of girly movies and felt pangs of emptiness during the obligatory "best friend support" scenes. I quickly realized, however, that I don't miss them, I miss the idea of them. They were my closest friends for a while, and while they were incredibly flawed and self centered, I still miss the closeness of the relationship we had built over the years. The healing process with take a while. Just like a romantic breakup, I probably won't fully get over them until I meet new friends that remind me of just how bad my ex-friends really were. It's still a bit hard, even though I was the one who ended it.
My next move will be getting back into the "friending" scene, which, in my opinion, is just as difficult as the dating scene. I'll have to put down the ice cream and chick flicks long enough to take that interesting co-worker/classmate/acquaintance out to lunch. Then, if we become friends, we can do that together. Our boyfriends can come, too.