January 5, 2022

When a Best Friendship Dies. And the Best Friend Lives.


When a best friendship dies
though the best friend lives
it’s time to let go.
Letting go is the snap of a dry twig, a kick in the shins—
it hurts. But it’s necessary. Move on. No more communication, no more reaching out.
But, too, remain open. If they try to connect—actually try—remain open, ready to communicate honestly, without drama or games. Communicate bravely, vulnerably, let go—that’s all we can do.

Best friendships are valuable. They help us process stress, laugh so hard we can’t stand up straight, they know us well enough to call us on our BS with a smile that recognizes our basic goodness. Sometimes, they may fade, but always, the embers glow hot. We can ebb, and flow, but they’re there for us, with us, and we’re there for them, with them, through the years. We grow old together.

And yet—sometimes, we make like Thelma and Louise and drive off a cliff of The Best Friendship Flat Planet…a planet that we coulda sworn was round.

What should I do?

So I write this one not to share wisdom. I don’t have any, other than feeling that it was time to let go, and feeling my sad heart since, and feeling that perhaps it is on me, though I have let go, to reach out once more.

I’ve been honestly somewhat sick with sadness over this one, for many months, months totaling two years, really, and the more I feel it out, perhaps much longer. We didn’t hang on weekends, or for dinners. The friendship may have been based, in the early days, on some notion that I was cool. But while I may be fun, or happening, I’m vulnerable when you get to know me, and I’m not pretentious. I look to friends for counsel, and to receive true helpful counsel, one must bare all. And so I do.

But, over time, baring all may equate to “not being seen as cool.” And then, from there, our “best friendship” found another crutch: doing an activity together.

And when that activity stopped, a few years back, so did our friendship. Now, I know this friend was busy, overwhelmingly so, and yet other friends see this friend, and I don’t. I reached out 1000 times with little things about this, or that, sports, or news, or thoughts…the usual friendship stuff. And I generally received a rather short, abbreviated, guttural response…if any. It become a running joke. Even if I sent a paltry two words, I’d get one back. If I sent one word, I’d get a shorter word back.

And so, at some point, I forced myself to snap that twig, to make a break, to let go. Otherwise, I’d become like a cloying lover, not offering space.

And if you let go into space, and the bird loves you, it comes back, right?

Nothing came back.

I’ve tried to let go of my friend, and I have, and that’s been tough work, so it feels hard to reach out one last time before letting go fully. And I really don’t want to let go fully. But (read Erin’s article, below), I’m realizing that it may have been rather hollow, or based on things that weren’t actually friendship, for many years.

Oof. This one hits hard:

“If you’ve invested in your friendship and the other person [begins to] continuously lets you down, it may be time to accept that fact and move on. You will grieve and heal, as we do in time.

And may just realize that the bond you thought you had wasn’t a bond at all. It may have been for you, but not for them.”

It hits hard, because it hits true.


From Trungpa Rinpoche:

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