There are a lot of things and moments that could change our lives forever—sometimes for the bad, sometimes for the good. If I'd be asked what that one significant thing that made a mark on my being and left me hitting rock bottom was, it would be that time when I broke up with my best friend. Not boyfriend, not girlfriend, but my best buddy, my partner in crime.
While no one said breaking up was ever easy, no one told me that it'll be THAT difficult. It may seriously be one of the worst things that could happen to anyone. After staying up late past your bedtimes talking to each other, helping each other out with schoolwork, being each other's wingman and hangout buddy, and being each other's shoulder to cry on during tough times, it will not be easy to just let go and move on.
But it’s true when they say time heals all wounds. Though it took a few years, I can finally say that the hurt in my heart is completely healed, but I will never forget all the things I've discovered through this experience. And I'd like to share it with you! Here are the ten things that I learned when I broke up with my best friend:
1. It’s good (or even better!) to have more than one BFF. Being my introvert self, I’ve always thought that having more than one best friend is unnecessary and exhausting. So, when I lost my only BFF, I ended up alone. I’ve learned later on in life that it’s completely okay to have a few sets of really good friends—so long as they're genuine people who care about you.
2. Letting your guard down isn’t always a bad thing. Yes, there are pros and cons. But sometimes the greatest lessons happen when you choose to trust and let your guard down. I’m not saying it’ll be safe—it’s risky—but it’ll also be worth it.
3. Be careful with the friends you choose. I’ve always been the kind of girl who finds joy in gaining new friends, but sometimes I end up befriending the wrong people. So don’t be naïve like me and watch out for red flag—does hanging out with this friend make you feel worse instead of better? Does your friend only talk to you when she needs something from you? Does she badmouth you against other people? When you see these red flags, it's time to reassess that friendship.
4. People are not always who you think they are. It's true that first impressions aren’t always reliable. Having a good first impression of someone after meeting them doesn’t mean that they'll remain that way forever. People change, (including you!) and when they do, you may not always like who they've changed into.
5. Speaking of which, people show their true selves soon enough. I realized during the latter part of my friendship with my ex-BFF that I didn’t notice the red flags that should have warned me that our friendship won’t work out. The reason why we drifted away from each other wasn’t because she “changed,” it was because I became friends with her without knowing her deeply enough.
6. You have to carefully choose people whom you’ll trust. As I get older and become less naïve, I’ve realized that befriending and trusting people are two different things. One of things that got me in trouble was that I trusted all my friends way too much–and I’ve learned that not all your “friends” are REALLY your friends. At some point, you’ll have to determine who the real ones are.
7. Forgetting and forgiving are two different things. I’ve always thought that forgiving also means forgetting. But as I grew up, I realized you can never forget something that has completely scarred you in some way. You just learn how to live with it—and hopefully in that process—forgive that person who has hurt you.
8. The love you give other people won't always be reciprocated, and that's okay. Stop expecting and just love freely—the Man upstairs has a way of rewarding people who choose to love without expecting anything in return.
9. Our toughest relationships mould us in the deepest way possible. It's true that pain can be our greatest teacher. So, every time you go through an agonizing experience, just remember that it’s actually what's going to make you the best person you can be. The moulding process is tough—but you'll get through it.
10. It’s still possible to be friends with your ex-best friend. Some believe this is impossible. But I’m here to tell you that you shouldn't close your doors to someone who, at one point in your life, meant so much to you. Being friends with a former friend doesn’t mean you need to start trusting her again and bond with the stuff that you guys used to do. It just means you’ve matured enough to forgive and look past the wrong things she has done to you.
Life doesn't give us a handbook to guide us through our everyday lives. Sometimes we just have to go through the pain and let the hurt toughen us up. After all, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger! At the end of the day, we just have to find other sources of strength, and build lasting friendships with other, more deserving people.
Banner photography courtesy of Chalk Magazine