The Breakup

Who were your close friends 10 years ago and who are your close friends now? I bet the two lists look very different. It’s a natural part of life that most friendships won’t last for a lifetime. For every person who I’ve known for 20 years, there are 10 more people who I’ve lost touch with. Many times a friendship has a natural end due to life events such as moving, getting a new job, getting sober, or getting married. Even Paris and Nicole couldn’t make it last through 5 seasons of the Simple Life. (Can you believe that shit show lasted for 5 seasons?!?)

College is a perfect example of a friendship that can expire. For example, during my sophomore year at UMass I was very close friend with a guy named Jeff and we spent almost everyday together. We kept in touch over the summer but when we returned to school the next fall I discovered I had been replaced. He now had a new best friend with whom he spent all of his time with and I barely heard from him. Her name was Anne and she was a heavily tattooed Australian lesbian. She was the new “It Girl’ in his life. [yes he’s gay] To be fair, there was no malicious intent on Jeff’s part, he had just simply moved on. Feeling very badly about the breakup, I went to see a psychologist. She gave me some very good advice. She said that every relationship takes a natural course and therefore can have a natural end without anyone being at fault. This really helped me get past feeling I was replaceable. I loved UMass and I had wonderful friends there but after graduation we all went in different directions. Once you no longer have a common bond it can be surprising how little you have in common with each other. Only one friendship has lasted since my years in Amherst but luckily with Facebook I can still keep in touch with everyone else.
Unfortunately there are also times when you end a friendship on purpose. My older friend Stephanie (from highschool) comes to mind. She was my best friend for years but we started to loose touch once she got married and had a baby. It’s was a common situation where we just ‘lost touch’ over time. However about a year ago we reconnected [via Facebook] and she gave me a call. We talked for over an hour just like we used to do back in highschool. As we talked I remembered why we lost touch. The first 45 minutes of the conversation consisted of her complaining about her job. That was followed by another 45 minutes of lamenting about her mother’s crazy antics. After hanging up, I realized that such a negative person maybe better left in the past and I made a conscious decision not to call her back as I said I would.

If you’ve ever said to yourself We used to be so close, maybe it’s because you’re an asshole or maybe it’s because life moved on and took you in different directions. I hope in your case the later is more often the case. Either way, just because it didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.

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