How Losing a Best Friend Is Like Going Through a Break-Up

I have this theory, this idea, that the art of dating someone and being friends with someone have the same foundation, regardless of gender.  Think about it: being in a serious, committed relationship with someone requires trust.  It requires communication.  It also requires a genuine connection, that you (on some level) actually like the other person, and that you care about them.  Now, consider a friendship.  These traits also must be present.  If you don’t trust someone, you can’t really be friends with them; if there’s no communication, I’m betting the friendship won’t last very long; and if you don’t like them, you probably won’t be friends, either.

When two people begin a friendship, they tell each other things.  They share secrets, they spend time together, they learn each other.  There are inside jokes and heartfelt talks.  So, when a friendship ends, you go through stages of mourning very similar to that of a breakup.

First, there’s anger.  At this point, all you want to do is lash out.  You’re upset, you’re mad, and you’d do anything to let them know.  This is the point in a breakup filled with discarded emails and ripped up letters.

Then, you miss them.  You hear their favorite song and wish you could text them.  You see the cutest picture of their favorite animal on Instagram, and you wish you could send it to them.  In the middle of a conversation, someone makes a comment, and your mind shoots to an inside joke.  You almost need to physically restrain yourself from bringing them up in conversation.  It’s like being without a limb.

But at the same time you kind-of hate yourself for missing them.  Your mind is wracked with indignant questions that you’ll know will never be answered.  You’ve been betrayed by the person who was supposed to have your back.  Self, you tell yourself, how dare you miss them!  After all they did to you?

You wonder what you did wrong (and you start to see your part).  It couldn’t have been all them, right?  Which parts were you responsible for?  You should probably apologize, but you don’t want to look desperate.  You carefully craft a text, trying to make it sound casual (you need to strike the perfect balance between sounding sincere, but not too eager–genuine, but indifferent).  They ignore it, and you beat yourself up for trying.

You explain to your family (for the millionth time) that you’re never ever ever getting back together.  And you’re not sure who is more torn up about it: you, or your mother.  Seriously, Mom, whose side are you on?

You accept it.  There’s a saying that goes a little bit like this: “Missing someone doesn’t mean you need them back in your life.”  I think this is generally used to describe the loss of a boy/girlfriend, but it can apply to anyone.  You realize that even if they tried to reconcile, some relationships are better left in the past.  As cliché as it may sound, people usually come into your life and leave your life for a reason.  There’s definitely a time and a place for reconciliation, but if you feel in your heart that it’s over and that you’ve been hurt past the point of no return, it’s time to leave it be, and accept the loss. There are friend-making opportunities all throughout in college.