The trouble with falling out with a friend is you never expect it.
Or at least I never have.
With romantic breakups, there have often been warning signs — subtle and less than subtle — foretelling the demise of a relationship. Symptoms that something was in trouble. That one or both of us was unhappy.
But for the most part, the end of friendships have been far more sudden. More unexpected.
One day we’re commiserating, gossiping, and laughing at our old stupid private jokes. The next one of us has stepped into a mess.
The last few falling outs I had were incredibly dramatic. Exquisitely painful. Arbitrary. Confusing.
In one a friend took great offense to a conflict that they were only in the periphery of, I apologized multiple times, and they never forgave me for whatever it was they were actually upset about (they never really told me, left me instead to guess). There was perhaps some hidden tally of loyalty that they were running. And I suppose I was only just above water on that ledger but unaware of my position.
In another, a friend became upset when my writing career took off. In spite of the fact that we were working in completely different genres, and it didn’t make sense to compare. There was a bit of whiplash on my end of things as they seemed to seethe, then ask for help with promotion and marketing, and then seethe and finally withdraw from my social circles.
And somewhat more recently, I formed a friendship with someone new I was excited about only to have them turn on me, body shaming me. I’m still feeling that one. Perhaps because I’m getting older every day, and I’m not a size 6, and I’ve been told my entire life that only women who are young and thin deserve to be heroines. How dare I have a story. How dare I tell it like I’m the main character.
Anyway, I’m still healing from it. And figuring out how to move forward. How to summon up the courage to make new friends. To put myself out there and be vulnerable again.
But I have to try. To put myself out there and risk disappointment. Because losing a friend can lead to greater heartache than some romantic breakups, but making a friend can be an even greater joy.