Everyone can agree that it sucks hard to be dumped.
But getting dumped by your best friend is, in my opinion, a million times worse.
The heartache felt from severing a soul friendship can leave a deeper wound than a boyfriend.
I know this firsthand, because I was dumped. Shortly after ending a long-term (romantic) relationship, I got dumped by my best friend.
It was done in a way that I wouldn’t have chosen. But then again, what breakup ever goes “right”?
As hard as the healing has been, I know it was for the best. For the first time in my life, I had been brutally honest with my BFF about a lot of hard things. My track record in friendship had always been, “Let me please you and always make you feel good, even at the cost of my truth and my happiness.”
I loved this person too much to not be honest about some really crucial things.
She was losing herself in her romantic relationship, and it was directly affecting us. So, instead of holding on to this, I spoke up.
I was kind. I was honest. I spoke solely from what was happening on my end of the deal and our friendship. Things didn’t go well, and I lost her.
But you know what changed for me? I was honest.
She’s not the first BFF I lost, nor will she be the last. But the day I spoke up about behaviors that were no longer tolerable was the day I grew.
Sure, the easy thing would have been to shut up and play along and continue being the third wheel to her relationship and never get what I needed in the relationship—but that kind of dishonesty leads to chaos and resentment, and, at 31 years old, I just don’t have time for that.
I’ve cried. I’ve listened to our old playlists. I’ve walked down memory lane of all the festivals and Nahko concerts we attended. I’ve written her texts—some I’ve sent, and some I haven’t.
Even though she broke my heart, I hold nothing against her and will always love her for being a pivotal part of my growth.
Do I hope one day she’ll come back to me? Sure. Does that make me bad? No. I believe wholeheartedly that people come into our life for the duration that they are meant to in order for us to learn and grow. She served her purpose in my life, and the best thing I can do is let her go.
So now I’m at the point of my story where I can share some key things I’ve learned from said breakup. Some tidbits I wish I would have known. My hope is you’ll read them and take what you need.
How to keep a best friend:
1. Don’t make them “your all.” That’s where I went wrong. This BFF (as most of my BFFS usually are) was my everything. My festie bestie, my yoga bestie, my travel bestie. I put all my eggs in one basket and expected her to be all of it. That’s unsustainable in any relationship. Have different friends for different things.
2. Set boundaries. You’re allowed to. In fact, you’re expected to. Relationships only work if there are boundaries.
3. Carve out your and her time. If you’re going to be together, be together. Tell everyone else in your life to hold on while you spend time with your BFF. That way, the time you share together is uninterrupted and you can both get what you need.
4. Give a little, get a little. Relationships only work if both parties give. Check yourself and ask, “Am I giving as much as I’m getting?” If the answer is no, then reassess and try again.
5. Be honest. Friendships only work if you’re telling the truth. Even when it’s hard—no, scratch that—especially when it’s hard. If this person loves you to the moon and back (which, of course, they do; they’re your BFF), then speak up.
6. Allow room for growth. You and your BFF are going to change and evolve, and the nature of the relationship will too. Allow space for that. Even if it means you’re not joined at the hip every second of every day. Growth is what makes us happy.
If you’re wondering if I’ve found new BFF love since the breakup, the answer is yes. But this time I’ve taken my heart and spread it over multiple badass women. Now, I have a tribe.
And although my habits of making one person my everything still linger, I’m working overtime to make sure I don’t put that kind of pressure on one BFF ever again.
I believe we are meant to have multiple BFFS—and now I do.