The emotional struggle of lost friendships

Graphic by Simran Dhaliwal

An all consuming sadness washes over me whenever I feel the loss of a friend who was once near and dear to me.

Like many things in life, friendships have no guarantee attached to them. Many have a shelf-life, a hidden expiry date that labels the amount of time they’ll spend by your side.

I am incredibly lucky to have formed friendships that have made an impact on me, both good and bad, each of which I am thankful for.

I am embarrassed to admit that making friends isn’t easy for me. I know, I know, a charismatic, party persona such as myself should clearly have dozens of companions linking arms with me at every turn. But alas, it remains a simple truth about my relatively solitary existence that I’m generally uncomfortable talking about.

I have always managed to somehow ensnare ragtag, tight-knit groups of people into my little bubble over the years, some of whom I’m still close with today. Yet, and I say this with as little melodrama attached to it as possible, many of those platonic relationships fell apart and broke my heart in the process.

I look at these as breakups that held more pain to them than most, if not all, of my previous romantic attachments. When I form a close bond with someone, I wear my heart on my sleeve, become far too dedicated to their companionship to see past both of our own misgivings and will do pretty much anything within my power to make them happy.

I think I’ll always struggle to form close attachments with people because of my own insecurities and childish fear that they’ll get tired of me, but I’m a firm believer in the sickeningly optimistic idea that everything happens for a reason.

This has proven to be a problematic method of going about friendships, where my steadfast loyalty prevents me from looking at situations diplomatically. I’ve let my self-made, rose coloured glasses overlook problems that could have been otherwise resolved, ignored toxic behaviour – some of which was my own – and avoided difficult situations that could have been better handled by someone who isn’t too afraid of letting go of their own sensitivities to face confrontation.

The closest friends that have gone astray for reasons beyond “drifting apart,” left me with the nagging idea that I’m somehow not worthy of being someone’s friend, their go-to, or their number one.

The consensus ends up being that I’m disposable, replaceable and forgettable. I absorb the shockwaves of failed friendships, especially ones that have ended ambiguously – no answer for why they no longer wanted to be around me – worse than I probably should have.

Without trying to depict myself as a martyr scraping for pity, I will say that I am no stranger to my own faults and failings, I realize that I’ve made mistakes and because of them, my fuck ups have ruined relationships.

Other instances though, still lay heavy on my mind, reminding me of how things used to be so different with a person and now they’re no more than a stranger to me. I still feel a melancholic sense of nostalgia when Facebook aggravatingly reminds me of memories from a few years ago that painted a completely different picture of my social life.

I try not to mourn these buried friendships too much, instead living in the now and looking around at the other positive relationships I’ve managed to build since then.

I think I’ll always struggle to form close attachments with people because of my own insecurities and childish fear that they’ll get tired of me, but I’m a firm believer in the sickeningly optimistic idea that everything happens for a reason. I tend not to regret the time that I’ve shared with people, regardless of how it turned out between us.

Each one contributed to who I am now and I’ve gained a hell of a lot of insight because of it.

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