By Andrea Sciamanna
In all honesty, I am grateful for every one of the friendships that I’ve experienced along my crazy journey called life. Imagine this: You just received the best news that you got your dream job or you finally got a date with your cute co-worker. Who are you going to share this news with? Most of you would probably respond with your best friend, however for some, you may not know how to answer that question. If you are an average 20-something college student like me, then you know how hard it is to maintain a friendship in this day and age. Between schoolwork and actual work, the balance of maintaining a friendship sometimes seems impossible
Over the years, I’ve had many beautiful friendships, but in those same years those friendships can fade and lose their meaning.
The definition of “friends” is defined in the dictionary as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.”
I was about four years old when I met my first best friend. She was the person that I created inside jokes with, made funny videos with, and thanks to us residing in the same neighborhood, was the person I saw every single day. We have been through a lot together. I was there for her when her cat had died, and she was my shoulder to cry on when I experienced a similar loss with my dog years after. It was such an inseparable bond from the beginning. We had a bond that was comical, caring, and unbreakable, or so I thought.
Eighteen years was all it took until we reached our toxicity. All throughout those eighteen years, I never knew our friendship had an unknown expiration date. Three years ago was when our friendship started to wind down. She introduced me to some of her friends from school, one of them being my current boyfriend. We all did a lot together (we did everything together). Ghost hunting in Ada, beach outings, peer pressuring each other into being dumb teenagers at Meijer, and so much more. The memories were bittersweet. Soon after that, my new attachment to her friends created a rift between us. I was confused and heartbroken. My best friend ever, more like my sister, just accused me of being a terrible friend. It didn’t make any sense to me and I was in desperate need for it to.
The problem seemed to surface out of nowhere. One minute we were cracking inside jokes on iMessage and the next she exposes me to some new additions of her vocabulary. I felt so broken. I had just broken up with my friend. She might as well just said that I was dead to her because that is what it felt like. It took me a while to figure out that all the memories we made together were now void. It felt like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake myself out of. My heart felt like it had burst into a million pieces and that nobody could ever pick them up and find the right tools to fix them. I was grieving the loss of a friend. Because of this experience, I hesitate to allow new friends into my life.
As toxic as my former friendship became, I didn’t want to let it go. It was the only thing that made me happy at the time, at the same time I was trying to push aside a personal battle with depression and image distortion through an eating disorder. It was the only good thing that I had and that I could turn to at the time. I didn’t unfriend her on Facebook, I didn’t unfollow her on Instagram, I didn’t delete her off my Snapchat, and I didn’t erase her number. Why is that? Why do I continue to let the memories we created together torment me? This is the question I continue to ask myself: “If you had such a toxic friendship, then why are you still mourning it and continue to have her around on your social media?” I don’t know why. I don’t have answers that result in any sense as to why. Just like there are stages of grief after breaking up with your long time partner, there are stages of grief in losing a best friend as well.
During the impossible time after our friendship dissolved, thankfully another close friend and my boyfriend supported me, which I’m so grateful for.
Even though a close friendship ended badly for me, I wouldn’t trade the memories and good times for anything. Sometimes a true friendship is worth the risk of putting yourself out there – even if it’s sometimes painful in the end. This story is dedicated to anyone who has been in this same experience in their lives and I am here to tell you that it will get better. If you surround yourself with the ones who truly love you then you will be able to conquer anything. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to anybody because you might find that life long friendship just around the corner.