Have you ever had to “break up” with a girlfriend or been “broken up” with?” If not, what’s the real deal about staying friends forever?
Olive, Age 13, says:
The whole concept of breaking up with friends at my age is a little unrealistic. Yes I have been broken up with but it was more just hints. They gave them, I read them, I found new friends.
One experience I had is I tried to break up with a friend that just kept letting me down. Eventually she was making me laugh again and I was remembering all of those fun memories we had together and I just decided we could still be friends but we wouldn’t be quite as close as we once were.
A problem with telling a girl that you don’t want to be their friend any more is that they usually just try to be your friend even more. They change themselves, become clingy, etc. and then you just don’t want to be their friend even more. This is what leads to hints. For the most part, hints just don’t work because most girls just can’t read them. What does work? Growing apart. For girls my age breaking up with a friend usually has to do with change so what ends up happening is you hang out less and less and you simply grow apart.
So I wonder, can you really break up with a friend and can you really stay best friends as you go through change?
Christine, age 37, says:
I have had women in my life who I thought we were soul sisters, the kind that are forever friends, only to realize that even ‘soul sisters’ break up. During our friendship if you had told me there would be a ‘break up’ I would have said, “You’re crazy. No way!” These are the women who help put me back together when my entire life fell apart at the age of 30… they are the women I helped put back together during their divorces, miscarriages and career disasters… they are the women who I had walk beside me when I got married… and they are women who I consider my family.
I have “lost” at least three of these ‘soul sisters’ in the past five years. Each time one left my life, it felt (and hurt) like a breakup with a guy. The same questions played over and over in my head… “Why can’t we talk about this and make things right?” “Why doesn’t she want to be friends anymore?” “Does this mean that we weren’t really soul sisters?” Sometimes I got mad and conjured up thoughts like “Screw her! If she can’t be real with me, I don’t want to be friends with her.” But when I was real about my own feelings… when I let myself drift into a memory or look at a photo of us, I was really just plain old S-A-D. I missed them. Honestly, I still miss them. But what’s a girl to do? You can only reach out so many times until you realize, “Hey, maybe this relationship has run its course. I have to let go or I am going to make myself miserable.”
Here’s what I wish. I am not naïve enough to think that all friendships should last forever. But I do think that some of the ones we lose could stay if we were willing to be more honest with each other. I do have soul sisters who I have been friends with for over 10 years, and I know that we will be friends for a very long time. Why? Because we are real with each other. When it gets hard, when a feeling gets hurt or an expectation or need isn’t being met, we go deeper with each other. We stay. We don’t disappear, avoid phone calls, or send that “it’s been nice to know you hallmark like” email. We meet each other as sisters, as friends and as two women who really realize how precious our relationship is. And to be honest, that is what my expectation is for a forever friend. That is my truth. And to be doubly honest, I am still working on the reality that not all ‘soul sisters’ will be forever friends. That is my heart.
Linda, age 60, says:
As it is in all relationships, being a forever-friend requires almost as much commitment as a marriage. I have three girlfriends who have been part of my life for over 40 years. When I think about the element that is different in these relationships compared to others who have come and gone in my life, it always comes back to love.
As simplistic as that may sound, it is the one emotion that is always present when we think about or speak to each other. Each of these friendships was developed when we were in our teens and early twenties. We blossomed as women together, raised children together, leaned on each other for support, cried together through our sad and painful moments, and laughed through our wild and happy times. The foundation was strong.
As we moved into our thirties and the marriages were ending and the children were growing, our lives took us in different directions. Back to work, back to school, back to the country… and the times we were apart were greater than the times we spent together. Months would go by before one of us realized that we hadn’t spoken. All it took was a phone call and it was as if no time had passed. We kept each other informed of our changes and stayed current with each other’s lives. We couldn’t bear the thought of being a “yesterday friend”… not with someone who knew our history and the paths we had traveled. Not with someone we loved so much.
As I was writing this, I looked to the plaque hanging on my wall… “Friends are the family we choose.” These women have been my soul sisters and they continue to be even now. Our friendships have lasted all of these years because we give each other room to grow and to change and to walk down whatever path we choose. We delight in each other’s achievements and grieve with each other’s heartaches. These aren’t transient friendships based on selfish needs. These are the friendships that last a lifetime… the very best kind!
I love you K, D & A!!