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Sometimes when we find ourselves at a crossroads it’s hard to distinguish a path that shows promise for a better tomorrow. We trust that we know ourselves well enough that everything will turn out okay.

When I decided to stay friends with someone who I had feelings for, someone who I couldn’t be with but cared for deeply, I hadn’t foreseen the regret and resentment that would creep in on my confidence by remaining friends. 

Months after he and his girlfriend called it quits I had taken the time to process my feelings towards him.

After giving myself space and time I eventually came to the conclusion that the only way to truly get closure for myself was to dive in and not look back, so I did. I reached out to him and put my feelings on the line.

I uncharacteristically ignored all the red flags and became someone who I wasn’t for someone who didn’t deserve me. But sometimes the universe has a funny way of intervening. 

In the end, he saw what I was too blind to see, that we truly were better off as friends.

Which is what we mutually decided to do, stay friends. But how do you cope with feeling rejected by your best friend?

It’s something we know we need in most areas of our life in order to learn and grow, yet that rejection is so terrifying to encounter in relationships.

I look back on who I was before the pandemic, before altering a friendship forever, and before feeling rejected. I was comfortable with who I was before, but comfortability was limiting me.

In order to walk away from my feelings for him, and how horrible I felt about losing a friend, I would have to submerge myself in those difficult feelings. 

Through that, I learned that rejection doesn’t mean I’m not good enough and that sometimes people are only meant to be in a certain chapter of your life’s story, as cliche as that sounds. 

And just like that, I became optimistic about the universe’s interventions. 

If I could do it all over again I would probably do things differently, but I would never take back experiencing those difficult things. I would never shy away from the pain of heartbreak and loss of a genuine friendship because it has taught me so much.

Those experiences helped me grapple with larger fears and anxiety about my future. Most of all they allowed me to grow and embrace the future knowing I can’t control it.

At the end of the day I will continue to encounter pain and difficult crossroads but knowing that I’ve experienced those things before and somehow managed to come through it optimistic about tomorrow, makes the future a little less daunting.

Ilyanna Santos is an aspiring writer and journalist from Austin, Texas. She is a staff writer and Marketing & Publicity Director for Her Campus Texas. She is currently studying journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and is the Marketing and Social Media Director for Shamari Realty. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and a good cup of tea.
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