Today, I was supposed to write an in-depth analysis on why “Yankees” (as my friend now calls people who live in the north since she moved south) tolerate the snow. Well, here’s the short answer – we DON’T. And I write this from Texas as my home is being bombarded with a potential foot of snow. Snow can be pretty, but by this point in the winter, I hate it. So. Maybe I will write about that again in November or December of this year, but for now, I’m shelving it. I am so OVER winter. Something happened yesterday that spurned me to write about something entirely different – what happens with the people you used to be friends with, but you’ve drifted apart? This happens to everyone. I know it does. Between leaving high school, leaving college, leaving jobs, moving on with your lives, your past is littered with people you used to be actual friends with who are now just your social media “friends.” This actually might be a new thing among my generation, since we can still stay connected to these people even though we don’t talk in real life anymore. But how are you supposed to feel about these people?
Let me tell you a story.
I had this good friend during my first year of college. I spent most of my free time with her, and we had plans to eventually live together, before our college careers were over. But then I started dating someone, and she joined an elite group of musicians at our college, and we didn’t see each other as much. By the time we were seniors, I rarely saw her at all. It was fine – we had each made our own separate friends at this point, but I missed her unique sense of humor. I still miss that. I tried to keep in touch a little bit after I moved on from college, but it was tough to find the time and the energy – she did not patrol social media like I did at the time, and was therefore slower to respond than I would have liked.
All of a sudden, I found out she was engaged.[i] Then married soon after. Now she is expecting a baby after not even knowing the guy for a full year. And I’m having trouble understanding what happened to the girl I knew in college.
People change. I know this more than anyone, because I have changed a lot since I first met her during the first month of college. But it all just seems so extreme. As I told K, maybe it’s for the best that she forced us to no longer stay in contact by not answering any of my messages, because I’m not sure I could support these decisions of hers. I haven’t changed so much that I think it’s a good idea to run off with someone you barely know and start a family without any sort of financial foothold.
Obviously, this is just one example, poignant as it may be. I have many other friends whom I have drifted apart from, and nothing quite this extreme has happened. This one just currently hurts the worst, because I truly thought that we were going to be good friends for most of my life. For a long time, I intended to have her in my wedding. And now… things are just different. And what am I supposed to do with that?
At what point do you completely delete these people from your life? It hurts every time I see that she sent a full care package to a mutual college friend. Does that mean I should “unfriend” her on social media just like she “unfriended” me in life? Maybe. But I don’t know if I’d be able to do that, even if I tried. Am I hurting right now? Yes. Very much so. I feel betrayed, in a way. I feel like she must not have had respected me enough to just simply talk to me. I realize we’re not besties anymore. I never expected to get invited to her wedding or anything like that. Even a simple “thank you for the well wishes” would have been better than what I got, which was completely shut out.
So, to answer the question I posed in the title of this blog post, what about the people you don’t stay friends with? What are you supposed to do with them? I certainly can’t block my friend out of my wonderful memories. But since she made the choice to leave me behind in the rest of her life, what am I supposed to do? I’m not one to just blindly accept things that I don’t understand. But maybe that’s best in this situation. Since college, I have found a lot of intelligent, well-educated friends whose decisions wouldn’t leave me wondering if they’ve thought everything through. Maybe, as much as it all hurts, it’s better in the long run that I just… accept that she chose to forget about our friendship. Maybe.
It still hurts. Losing friends is the same to me as when a relationship ends. It hurts for a long time, a hollow ache in my chest that I can’t quite get over. Eventually, the ache fades enough that I can move on with my life. But it never truly goes away. And knowing that I didn’t choose to end this particular friendship hurts more than any other I’ve experienced so far.
It’s okay, though. I’ll just eat some chocolate and move on. Wounds heal, after all. And a little scar isn’t so bad. Eventually, it’s just a memory.
[i] The biggest heartbreak was that I sent her several different kinds of messages (text, social media, snail mail) of congratulations, and never heard back. I know she sends stuff in the mail, because she and my old college roommate always are posting things they get from each other on the same social media where she ignored me. We may have drifted apart, but I always thought she was a better person than I am currently being shown.