True friends are love, they are our major community and for many of us, the people who will be there even as we get older.
No amount of preparation can ready you for the fact that you have been duped. Maybe that is a fact I have been unwilling to accept my whole life, that one appalling experience prepares you for another. All my life, I have felt an unnerving feeling of being hoodwinked at the end of a friendship. I have felt like I have been constantly short-changed, forced to take the thorny end of the stick and called non-compromising when I rebelled against that.
In uni, I was accused of stealing by my closest friend. She vehemently claimed I had taken money from her. even when I tried tirelessly to explain otherwise. This was a friend I had tried to be there for in every way possible way not only concluding I had stolen her money which she later recovered but then had also smeared my image by telling everyone who was willing to listen.
It is one thing to feel hurt, but to choose that particular course of action means she had absolutely no care for me in the grand scheme of things. Even when I’ve felt extremely slighted by people, I have tried, at the very least, to be decent when ending things. However, my jaded feelings after these incidents have still not prepared me for the range of emotions I feel when I lose another friend. . feel an unbearable stillness, one which tells me that I have messed up in every way. I also feel at war with my own self and my desire to reconcile when the people who hurt me have no interest in acknowledging their mistakes.
To be honest, friendship breakups hurt more, at least personally, because I share huge chunks of myself with friends, more than I ever really do in romantic attachments. With romantic love, there is a steady pretence or at least one that is expected of you in the early months of dating life. Most people never completely open up about all their fears, insecurities and past mistakes. Romantic partners do not often realize that underneath calm, confident demeanours are scared little persons filled with traumas and imperfections. While things may start to give way, fears open up after time spent together, it is nowhere near the pace and level of friendships.
With my friends, I expect them to see me at my very worst and be unaffected. I expect their unwavering support to never shake. As someone who partners with heterosexual men, I more than likely never expect this from them. Husbands have left wives for less, this I know. My friends understand that I have so many failures that I can never openly share. With lovers, there is a mutual understanding of an oversharing boundary that is not to be crossed.
In these miserable moments, I try to remind myself that there will be more connections. There will be more people that care about me the way I deserve to be cared about. Even if my past mistakes feel horribly insignificant in preparing me for my next, I know that situations will change for the better. I am confident in myself and my abilities to progress. Also, the friends who do show their unwavering support are there for me during these times. They text encouraging platitudes, check in through phone calls and ensure I am not unhealthily scrolling through social media.
As someone who has not had many worthwhile romantic relationships, my friendships are so dear to my heart because they are truly the relationships that I cultivate and invest so much of my time into. Many people who are privileged to experience multiple romantic partnerships in their lifetime often de-value their friendships as a result, then upon getting out of said relationships realize they have no friends left to turn to especially if the relationship ended on a sour note.
This phenomenon is not beholden to but definitely prevalent for women as we have been conditioned to embrace or make our partnerships with men our entire lives, abandon our friends and position them to be an inconvenience that could possibly ruin the romantic dynamic. In doing this, we set ourselves up for failure as the emergence of every new romantic relationship means we lose our community completely. For women, community is one of the most important things to have. When we are completely wrapped around or only able to access support from our partners, this is hazardous to our quality of life.
Friends are not meant to take the back-burners; people we pick up when we have a need and then drop once we get the romantic relationships that we are very often socialized to yearn for and uphold over our platonic attachments. True friends are love, they are our major community and for many of us, the people who will be there even as we get older. No matter how my friendships end, I know that I have made sure to love each and every single one of my friends the way I felt they deserved to be loved, which is to the utmost of my abilities.