Moving on from a BFF Breakup
For many women, parting ways with a close friend is a pain like no other. We tend to romanticize
the relationship and have expectations of being together forever. That is the way it worked in
Grey’s Anatomy after all. Meredith and Christina were each other “person”. The bond between
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King are legendary. However, for every Beyonce and Kelly Rowland,
there is a Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. What is it about the dissolving of female friendships that
can hurt so much? Is it inevitable for girlfriends to grow apart or can it be prevented?
M and I had been friends since we were 10 when I moved to a small town in California mid-school
year. We had a lot in common but had other friends as well. It was a natural, easy
friendship that I cherished a great deal. I went out of state for college and pre-smartphones we
still kept in touch. During breaks and the Summer, we would spend a great deal of time together
and it was fabulous.
After college, I went to graduate school in Hawaii, and M took a job in the LA Area. Now we
had email and kept in close contact. M was in an adjustment period going into the workforce
and figuring out what the next step was with her then boyfriend. I was living in Paradise, yet still
had the ups and downs of most early twenty-somethings.
Postgraduate school, we both ended up in the Bay Area. It was great being so close
geographically and I felt a true connection with her, which helped me with my post-graduate
school WTF do I do now phase. I eventually moved to the Chicago with my then boyfriend as he
was in Business School. M wasn't a huge fan of this idea, but I expected she would get over it
and come around like I would have for her.
I became engaged and as it would turn out, our weddings were to be one weekend apart, M’s was
to be in Europe and mine in Hawaii. Even with the geographic and financial difficulties of such a
schedule, I was mulling over having her in my wedding, but my fiancee said “Not sure why she
rarely ever calls” that really sunk in with me. What was I missing with M? That planted a seed of
doubt as to what was really going on here. Was she as busy as she said she was or was M doing
the slow fade out that I was too oblivious to see?
I cannot remember exactly the series of events as to what happened next, but things quickly fell
apart. Could it have been the stress we were both under with wedding planning, or simply long-standing
resentments? I do remember calling M’s voicemail how I am sorry things got so heated,
I loved her and I wanted to work this out. The call went unanswered. I did receive a handwritten
letter uninviting me to her European wedding, but she wanted me to come to her reception in our
small town so I could “celebrate with our high school friends”. I was devastated, I couldn't
believe it. How could she do this after one fight?
I saw M a year later when I came to visit San Francisco, and we met for coffee. It was painfully
awkward, as if we worked together briefly a long time ago, not that we had been close friends for
15 before we broke up. I use the term break up intentionally. We weren't on a break (shout out to
Friends) or was communication impossible due to long distance phone bills. To put it simply; M
The 10-year high school reunion came around, and I wasn't up to dealing with any of it, so I
simply didn't go. I made an excuse of being too busy in New York, but I could have made it work
if only M had shown the least bit of interest.
I saw M at our 20th High School Reunion. I was on the planning committee and had flown in
from NYC. The day of the event, I was running around getting things ready, not eating much and
being stressed out, I am sure you can tell where this is going. I have a vague recollection of
doing shots with my committee and running into M. She wanted to have fun like we simply
drifted apart, which might be her recollection of things and I wasn't having it. Taylor Swift’s “We
are Never Getting Back Together” came on and I told her it was our song. She looked stunned
and I repeated myself, told her off big time and walked away. I then wandered up to my hotel
room and threw up.
It has been 15 years since I got the Dear John letter and I am truly ok with it all. We are cordial
enough, we do the Facebook thing, I like her postings and we exchange Christmas Cards. I had
visions of family vacations together and girls weekend sans husbands and kids. Turns out, it
wasn’t meant to be.
As the years passed, I have begun to look at life differently. Even in the crappiest of
circumstances, I try to find a lesson or a silver lining. As Buddha said, “You only lose what you
cling to”. I had been holding on too tight to the friendship I thought was there. Maybe if I hadn't
moved to the Midwest, things would have turned out differently, who knows? Did I call too
often, was I not taking the subtle hints she wasn't interested? Perhaps, M had a lot going on in
her own life. Then again, does it truly matter? There is no point in dwelling on what could have
Have you ever had a friend dump you? Or have you ever been the dumper? What prompted you
to pull the proverbial trigger?