Picture your best friend. Who comes to mind? Is it someone you met in college? Maybe you think of someone you became close to on your high school volleyball team. Maybe it’s even a person you’ve known your entire life. Keep that person present in your mind. Now, picture him or her walking out of your life. Are you angry? Are you hurt? Are you relieved? Friendships disintegrate throughout our lives against our control. But sometimes we willingly bring the pain of fallout upon ourselves in order to benefit us in the long-run.
Losing a friend sucks. When someone is such a crucial part of your life for so long, it’s natural to fall into a stream of habit. Think about how many “inside jokes” you have with your best friend. When they’re gone those jokes lose meaning. Do you two have a song you’ve bonded over in the past? Without the other person around it’s just a song which might even be skipped by whoever else is in the car. Maybe you both watch a specific television show that no one else seems to be interested in. Who do you talk to about last week’s episode? When you remove a common factor from your life you have to expect a wave of change. One of my favorite professors left my class with a bit of insight this past week: once habits take root, we are candidates for grief. He’s right, and it sucks.
Never give someone the power to alter who you are. If you ever find that your friend makes you doubt yourself you should think about reevaluating your relationship. Perhaps more importantly, never allow someone to discredit the person you want to become. Anyone who puts down your dreams is in no way a true friend, and in no way deserves your love and support. Stay true to yourself and never let another hinder your character.
No one ever gave me warning about the massive amount of pain an ended friendship, a real friendship, would bring. Sometimes letting go of your best friend can be more painful than going through a breakup with a significant other. We may often consider our romantic partners to be our best friends, but that fact just makes my point even stronger. I think the most heartbreaking aspect of fallout is to know you’d probably still come to his or her aid at three in the morning, and then to come to the realization that the favor may not be reciprocated. Be your best and surround yourself with people who encourage you and lift you up.