Heartbreak is awful.
Am I ok to say ~most~ of us have experienced it at some point?
The emotional pain is unbearable and to add that glazed cherry, it can make you act like an absolute KNOB; or is just me who’s ripped up a classic book collection? Walked home in the rain barefoot and sobbing? Written passive-aggressive social media status’ on Facebook?
Cool, yeah, just checking.
So this is the traditional breakup: the one written about in magazines, played out in movies and splashed across the pages of OK, but what about the break up between you and your BFF?
As a female soaring towards her thirties faster than Sleeping Beauty towards the land of nod, I’ve got quite a few ‘BFF’ friendships under my belt, some in my pocket too. Do you know the kind of friendship I’m talking about? You’re inseparable; you call each other in the morning and text each other at night, you know how they take their coffee and you’re more than happy to have the same shoes/dress/it-bag. You’re in a relationship, sans the sex.
These friendships can be tricky to navigate. You go all in, full-steam ahead. Then bam, they start to irritate you more than a mosquito bite on the crotch in the height of summer. You’re bored of hearing about their ex-boyfriend, you’re sick of giving them advice about money and you’re pissed off when they ‘borrow’ your clothes. And vice-versa.
Break-ups can be messy but BFF break-ups, in my experience, can be filthy. When it comes to romantic relationships there is usually a beginning and an end – it’s more black and white. In most cases, even though it hurts more than a hammer to the back of the head, you both go separate ways, accepting, with hindsight, it was meant to end and knowing where you both stand – far apart.
Friendships are different though. It’s hard to mark the beginning of a friendship and thus, the same goes for the end of one too. You don’t ‘take a break’, you don’t start being BFFs with other people, you don’t divide your stuff and move to a different part of town. I find, instead, you drift apart. You drift until you find the land of ‘it’s now awkward when I see you in the street’. The texts get few and far between, you stop inviting each other to parties and you don’t have sleepovers anymore.
For a long time, I thought this BFF break up only happened to me and I was a massive, easily irritated bitch. I’d spend months beating myself up, feeling guilty and wondering why the heck I couldn’t hold down a friendship but I’ve come to realise this BFF break up happens to others too.
So should I still beat myself up about it? What if we just treated friendships like romantic relationships? What if we accepted that they aren’t all meant to be forever?
Well, as Hollywood has taught us, friendships are meant to last a lifetime. Reasons like ‘we just don’t get on anymore’, ‘they are thinking about marriage and I’m not’, ‘I want to move town for my career’ are all fine reasons for breaking up with Mr Leaves the Toilet Seat Up Anyway, but are frowned upon when it comes to moving on from your BFF.
However, even if we ignore the distance or having different life goals, it would just be exhausting, wouldn’t it? Maintaining the high level of intimacy with every best friend you’ve had ever: there’d be a birthday party to attend every week, a broken heart to console every Wednesday night and more WhatsApp messages than your inbox could handle.
Even if we can accept these types of friendships do come to an end at some point is there a ‘right’ way to break up? What’s the best course of action now you’ve introduced them to all your friends, have each other’s keys and are connected on all forms of social media?
Even with 28 years behind me and my flakey personality, I’m still not sure. I don’t know if they should come to your birthday party anymore, I don’t know if it’s ok to watch their IG stories and I certainly don’t know what you should say if you see them in the street. All I know now is I’m burnt. I no longer seek out these friendships with a wagging tail and a big smile. I think twice, I look out for the signs and I avoid getting too close to people.
With this in mind, however, Saturday nights are pretty lonely now, anyone free for a catch up at mine this weekend? I’ll pick the face mask, you can pick the romcom.