When I was eight years old, I met my best friend. We were inseparable. Playdates. Sleepovers. Swimming in the pool all summer until our fingers were like prunes. Chasing the ice cream truck down the street in hopes of getting an orange creamsicle. We talked on the phone for hours. Passed notes in class. We ate lunch together every day in the cafeteria. We were very close for years, but even as best friends, we were not without our ups and downs. When we were teenagers, our families moved to different places and it was difficult to stay in touch. By the time we were in our 20s, we lost contact completely.
If you have ever had a BFF or just a really close friend, you know that they play a lot of different roles in your life:
Confidant. Counselor. Surrogate sibling. Playmate. Exercise partner. Shopping buddy. Lunch date. Dinner pal. Travel partner. Drinking buddy. Partner in crime.
But then something happens. It might have been a betrayal. Or a misunderstanding. Or perhaps your lives took you in different directions. Your priorities changed. Maybe they found a new bestie.
Suddenly there is too much water under the bridge and too many hurt feelings to unwind it all.
Losing a close friend can be very stressful and the grief can be as a divorce or even the death of a loved one. There is often much shame and guilt around the loss of a close friend who is no longer part of your life. One of my favorite poems written on the subject of friendship is this one:
Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
The person who sent me this poem was that same childhood best friend that I met when we were kids. She contacted me in our late 30s (after 15 years of not seeing each other), and we reconnected. We were able to talk about all the things that lead to our estrangement. There were apologies, tears, and hugs. In spite of our 2500 miles distance, we have remained in constant contact ever since… for the last 20 years.
Friendships are precious, but they have their ebbs and flows.
If you have lost touch with someone that meant something to you, then reach out and say hello. But if you are suffering in a relationship that no longer serves you, you might want to let them go.
Life is short. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you because you deserve it.