I Finally Understand Why Ending Friendships Feels Like An Actual Breakup

Friends cause heartbreaks, too.

“Boyfriends and girlfriends are going to come and go, but this is for life.” LOL, apparently not.

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The real reasons behind ending relationships are beyond what we could ever imagine. Maybe it’s a matter of time and distance, whether it’s moving away for college or just chasing dreams in another city. Before you even realize, the same person and the shared moments might not matter anymore. Remember, that’s okay—we’re growing up after all. But let’s not talk about those “I have to find myself” messages sent at three in the morning when they’re out partying with friends. Maybe because one other reason is something like Netflix and Cheating, who knows? Regardless, if it’s causing more drama than a Tiktok trend, I guess it’s time to go.

What’s actually funny is we think that relationship splits are all about boyfriends-girlfriends. I’m blaming Pheobe Buffay of Friends for this one. She said, “Boyfriends and girlfriends are going to come and go, but this is for life.” LOL, apparently not. We’ve all heard people saying that ending friendships are worse than an actual breakup. Well, I couldn’t compare because I’ve never experienced a real relationship before. I’ve only seen it from friends who went through them. The stages of denial, anger towards your ex, and the shame game for failing to make the relationship ‘work’ are always part of the narrative. Of course, there are tearful meltdowns and the lapses back into heartache. Now, I finally understand why ending friendships feels like an actual breakup. 

Here’s what happened, SKL

For five years, I’ve been with the same circle. They weren’t the type of friends you would only see twice a week, either. We were practically neighbors, so we literally spent every waking second hanging out, goofing around, and just being in each others houses doing our own thing. Those years felt like a never-ending sleepover. It was pretty much that, because we would decide where to crash, and it didn’t matter where – we’d all be squished into the most random spots. As if it wasn’t epic enough, we had the most amazing summers just traveling across the country. We were actually at the beach when I realized that I was in love with each and every one of them. Not in some lovey-dovey romantic way, but imagine being eternally grateful for someone’s existence.

We were only teenagers when we started hanging out. Just like everyone else, we bonded over drinking and late night conversations about aliens, television shows, and who’s who. I thought we would grow old together after countless birthdays, graduations, and a Christening even. But before I even realized, I was called out for ‘snitching’ on a cheater. While I can’t pinpoint the day we all became friends, I can vividly recall the exact date I was deemed toxic for doing something I thought was right. With the fact that these people made me feel loved and secure, who knew something so beautiful could still fall apart? From planning our kids names together to betting who’s getting married first, I suddenly found myself feeling helpless, betrayed, and alone. Now that I’m moving on, here are the lessons I learned along the way.

Regrets and Reminders

Many regrets in life are irreversible. You can’t study for a failed exam or take back what was said. And yet, we still wish we could’ve done something different. Imagine if you start to think, and you wouldn’t be the only one, that ending everything is a mistake. Maybe the memories began to resurface—let’s say, the songs you screamed along to played on the radio, or a stranger reminded you of their quirky mannerisms. Of course, there are the midnight thoughts and accidental relapses.

You know those scenes in movies where the main character remembers their ex with the most random things? Ending friendships feel like that too—it’s sad and funny all at once. For me, it was corned beef and garlic rice. They were well aware of my intense hatred for onions that they would set aside a separate plate just to spare me the struggle of picking them out. Fast forward to last week, I found myself crying over breakfast food. Yep, pretty pathetic. Long story short, our friendship isn’t some cinematic BFF saga. We wouldn’t have heart-to-heart talks about mistakes, and apologize for what happened. Don’t get me wrong, some stories deserve a second chance. Trust me, I’ve considered messaging them countless times, but think about why we’re all in this mess. Ask yourself why you’re hurting and how you hurt them. Sometimes, it’s better to live with regrets and reminders than going through that pain all over again.

First Dates

Picture this: going out on a first date again after ending a long-term relationship. After spending years with the same people, their birthdays, pet peeves, and life stories become a no-brainer. Now you find yourself in a new scene, making friends with new faces, and diving deep into their likes and dislikes. After all that history, you’re basically back to square one. Of course, it doesn’t matter how ‘nice’ your new friends are. You’ll play the mental game of whether these new people are the ones your future kids will call tito and tita, or if it’s just another heartbreak in the making.

After the first few times this occurs, you won’t see people in the same light. For me, I subconsciously become skeptical about relationships in general. What if they’re talking about me behind my back? If I’m being honest, I’m not so sure. What I’m certain about is that you should heal yourself first. You know, it’s pretty much the same deal with romantic relationships. You don’t have to love yourself to love someone else, but you should at least like yourself. Why? When you have a positive outlook of yourself, you’re more likely to make choices that avoid toxic relationships.

Moving On

A friendship breakup hurts, sometimes more than a romantic relationship ending. Whether you grew apart or experienced betrayal, we’re all about what we could’ve done differently. Reflecting on the friendship is part of the healing process, but moving forward would be impossible if you obsess over what could’ve been. If I were you, start by boxing up gifts, photos, and anything else that prevents you from focusing on the present. Yes, you can even burn them. That being said, it’s time to focus on yourself. When you spend years with the same people, it might have been a while since you stepped out of your comfort zone. If you’re currently friendless like me, use the time, energy, and love as an opportunity to create new memories with yourself or new people (if you’re lucky). Before realizing, you’ll be okay without your ex-friends.

In conclusion, friendship breakups aren’t one-size-fits-all. There’s not always a resolution, and it doesn’t always involve a conversation for closure. It might take time for you to get over them, trust new people, and forgive yourself. Again, that’s okay. No one is perfect, including you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward. It’s over, stop obsessing over what went wrong.

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