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Your Best Friend Can Break Your Heart, Too

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I think that friend breakups are far too often overlooked and minimized when they can actually be more painful than a breakup with a romantic partner. With a significant other, you know that there are two outcomes: you either last forever and this person is your person, or you breakup. Having these two set “cut and dry” options kind of makes it easier going into and going out of relationships because there is a vague sense of predictability. But with friends, you never expect them to not be in your life once they’re in it—especially when they’re in it deep.

By the time you’re in your twenties, I think it’s safe to say that you probably have had your fair share of friendships that didn’t last like you thought they would. Most of these probably ended on the basis of drifting away from one another naturally, like moving to different college towns 3,000 miles away from each other or no longer having the same 11th-grade Spanish class.

However, these aren’t the friendship breakups that I’m talking about. I’m talking about the ones that leave you thinking that there should be couples therapy for best friends. The ones that leave you feeling like they’ve been a main character in your life since you were five years old, but now you have to write a completely new show without them. The ones that put you through the 7 stages of grief because this person was so intertwined with your life. These are the friend breakups that break your heart.

The ones that break your heart don’t end in a way that you can write off, saying they “fizzled out” or that you “drifted apart.” They end with hurt and resentment and a bunch of Snapchat memories that show up almost everyday just to remind you that that person is no longer in your life.

To me, it’s interesting how these aren’t talked about a lot when it is just as universal an experience as breaking up with your partner. With that notion, I think that validating that this painful experience happened is important and being able to mourn the loss of this person from your life is a real and necessary process.

One thing that romantic and friend breakups do have in common, though, is that when that person was in your life and subsequently out of your life, the growth you experienced and lessons you learned from them were valuable and helped shaped you. Just as you learn what you want and don’t want in a significant other, you can reflect on this with a past friendship as well.

The jury’s out on whether or not the pain and heartbreak of losing a best friend is worth all the personal growth that came out of it, but I do hope that through this experience you are able to show up for yourself and realize that these hard emotions are valid.

Hi! I'm Sarah and I'm on the editorial team at UCSB! I'm a third year majoring in Sociology and minoring in Applied Psychology. I'm from Northern California near Sacramento! In the future I plan on becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I currently work at the UCSB Childcare Center as a teacher's assistant which I have absolutely been loving! When I'm not working or in class, I enjoy going to the beach, studying in coffee shops, and listening to Taylor Swift.
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