I’m sure everyone has had the displeasure of a friendship break up in their life – for me personally, I’ve been through two; one during my time at secondary school and one as an adult. Neither was easy to get through.
Friends are valuable people in any individual’s life – a spare sibling if you will, away from home, out in an environment similar to yours. Kids cartoons advocate the importance of having a friend in life, but why is it that when a friendship breaks down, we don’t treat it the same as when a romantic relationship falls apart? We do end up telling our friends the most personal aspects of our lives and when the friendship goes sour, it fills us with anxiety and loneliness. But because the topic is not widely discussed, many people are inclined to believe that they’re not valid for feeling that way, in truth they are and the conversation starts here.
My friends in my life now are a huge part of who I am as a person. I’m thankful that the friends I made as an adult are not enablers and are more than comfortable discussing and helping me solve any problems that come my way. But I only made proper friends as an adult; an experience from secondary school had left me traumatized to the point of me seeking therapy and isolating myself from people in general.
I suffer from quite a few health problems; I’ve always been a little weaker than the average person in terms of health and often my peers at school would mock me for it. Whether it was for my broken finger that never healed, my constant migraines and nosebleeds or for my weight gain attributed to PCOS – I was an easy target and I lived with it. That was until I got halfway through secondary school and met a girl who wasted no time defending me against people calling me fat amongst other things. She was the first friend I had who would actually do something about people bullying me. Bit by bit, I started confiding in her; she knew everything. My health problems, arguments I had with my siblings, people I disliked in school. One day, she decided she wasn’t my friend anymore.
She would bully me as much as everyone else but of course, with me having told her everything about me, she had much more to bully me about. I don’t know why the friendship broke down but I remember begging her to tell me why. I just wanted to apologize and move on. I asked her via text to please forgive me if I had done anything to offend her and I would just stay out of her way – her exact words were “you think I’ll just leave you alone because you asked? You really are pathetic”. My biggest regret to date is telling her about a health scare I had – something I was cleared of and never got to tell my once best friend about. Instead, she went around telling everyone I lied about my health problems which resulted in even the nicest kids at school ignoring me. The next two years of school were hell – my parents grew concerned with the fluctuations in my mood and weight but didn’t know how to help me. I only started the process of healing when another girl in school known for visiting the school counselor reached out to help me by directing me to the loveliest therapist I have ever known.
When I left school, I continued going to counseling but the damage was already done. I made no friends that I communicated with during sixth form due to the trust issues I had developed and not to mention that my low self-esteem meant that I would deprecate myself before anyone else could. It didn’t help that I faced the same thing all over again when I started working part-time but there was something I had realized the second time around; trust your gut. Going to therapy has taught me one thing in abundance and that is your mind will do anything to protect you from harm. My previous issue with my ‘friend’ had made me hate myself to such an extent, I couldn’t even trust myself around family members, let alone people outside of that. Seeking help after that rough patch taught me to trust myself again so the second friendship failure hit me less hard than the first. Not to say that it didn’t hurt at all because that would be a bald-faced lie but this time I knew I couldn’t let myself get to where I was before.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that people come and go – even when we don’t want them to. Friendships fall apart for many reasons; some are malicious and some aren’t and it is okay to not want to be friends with someone you have outgrown. But tell someone – it’s not ridiculous at all and it helps in the long run with a wide array of things. Having experienced what I have done made me realize that I wasn’t the only one that lost a friend, the other person did too.
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