WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Why It's Okay To Not Be Okay, After A Friendship Breakup
Featured image via HBO/Insecure
Life changes, love changes, and best friends become strangers-Nas
We've all been there when you and a friend had some sort of falling out, or just aren't feeling each other the way that you used to. Some explained, some not explained; some dramatic, some insignificant, some so devastating that you can't even put into words. It's like, you can't pinpoint exactly where the breakdown in communication happened, but all you know is something is out of sync. The phone calls go unanswered, plans get canceled, petty disagreements turn into explosive arguments and before you know it, your friendship takes a nosedive into the ground.
If I can be honest, the breakup with my best friend was far more painful than any relationship breakup I've ever had. I've invested so much time, energy, and effort in the same way that I would with any other commitment.
It broke me; in ways that I did not expect, and wasn't prepared for.
I go through these moments of intense grief, where it hits me that our friendship is really over. I mourn all of the memories we've shared and the plans that we had. I miss our long talks about any and everything, cooking together on Facetime, laughing until we cry, and just the simple comfort of having a companion on tough days. I miss us.
And...the fact that our breakup is fairly recent i.e. 82 days ago (not that I've counted) (laughs)...coupled with the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, it just hits different.
For the first time in a long time, I feel lonely.
It's not that I don't have other people that I could talk to or turn to; it's just not the same.
Our sisterhood, that irreplaceable bond was one in a million.
See, people don't acknowledge and/or value friendship breakups the way they do relationship breakups.
There's no movie to watch or song that I can command Alexa to play that will eloquently describe or depict the difficulties that I'm having with coping with the loss of my friendship; I'm on my own. In a lot of ways, I've felt like there is no space to process my feelings.
I blame Mercury Retrograde.
Better yet, I blame being on the Gemini/Cancer Cusp and having this obsessive need to overly communicate, and put myself on this emotional rollercoaster ride to nowhere.
On this quest of uncovering uncomfortable truths about myself, I needed to feel seen and supported and got those things in some unlikely places; from my mom, and from one of my favorite shows, Insecure.
I found myself in a space where I needed other people to validate and affirm who I am. It so happened that my mom was visiting me at the same time that I was going through the motions after my friendship breakup. I had no intention of breaking down and doing the ugly cry, but she created a safe space for me to lean in and open up. Interestingly enough, we do not typically have those moments of vulnerability because I can be emotionally distant, but it was such a raw and special moment that I will forever cherish.
If you're anything like me, I'm still recovering from the first four episodes of season 4 of Insecure where Issa and Molly's friendship has just taken a downward spiral, and now I'm even more shook, triggered even, that some of the dynamics of their sisterhood mirror the one I had with my ex bestie. The beautiful complexities between this dynamic duo made us proud #friendshipgoals but let's be real, their fallout was inevitable.
Things have been off between the two for a while. Their usual playful banter had turned into shady exchanges, and somewhere down the line, between holding grudges and leaving the other hanging for whatever reason, the truth was bound to come out one way or another.
Questions like, what happened? who's responsible? will there be reconciliation? are all things we've inquired about regarding the disintegration of Molly and Issa's bond, and I too have asked myself those same questions about my situation, and have yet to find the answers.
Like Issa, I tend to distract myself when I'm deeply hurt. ln this past Sunday's episode, Issa needed to distract herself from replaying the big blowup that she and Molly had, so she kept herself busy. She went on this on this charitable escapade of doing these random acts of kindness for strangers, which ultimately backfired, but that's beside the point. She just needed to prove to herself that all of the things Molly said about her weren't true.
There's this discomfort of sitting with your feelings that so many people experience, especially with the pain of a platonic friendship because we question whether or not we should feel hurt/upset given that it wasn't romantic. Our defenses come up and we either distract ourselves, belittle our feelings, avoid/numb the feeling altogether, and/or wait for the other person to reach out to get some resolve or closure from it. Then there's this pressure of feeling like you have to get over it fast and patch things up like you usually do, just to create some normalcy, but that's so damaging.
I've had to learn to check my ego and accept that it's not always about me, and sometimes fallouts happen because people are experiencing their own pain; hence why they will project their insecurities on others. Sometimes the transfer of pain or negative energy is intentional, but sometimes it isn't.
I'm not #TeamIssa or #TeamMolly, I think both women were going through a transitional period, and neither one of them could really articulate what they were feeling or they didn't have the mental/emotional bandwidth to speak openly about it.
In Molly's case, I think when it came to her dealings with Andrew, she wouldn't allow herself to be transparent enough to tell him what was bothering her and she really didn't want to displace that energy in their new relationship, so she dumped all of her frustrations out on Issa.
I think we all have been guilty of that at some point in our lives, and it's tough, especially when someone you love and care about so much gets the brunt of whatever stress or inner turmoil that you are dealing with. For both of them, I think in order for there to be any type of repair in their friendship, it will take time, willingness, and humility to accept the parts that they each played in how the friendship fell out in the first place.
All in all, I think its important, and healthy to recognize that it's okay to not be okay.
It's okay to do a self-check-in and assess how you are feeling and to be honest with yourself about whether or not certain friendships are worth reconciliation, and make peace with whatever you decide.
Regardless of what stage you are in, in your grieving process of a friendship breakup, know that you are seen and that your feelings are valid.