Losing a friend can be just as heartbreaking as losing a lover
A year or so ago, I met the most brilliantly funny, intelligent and amazing guy. We hit it off right away: he made me laugh so hard I choked on my quinoa, we both exchanged details at once and it was, if I’m honest, the most magical platonic night of my life. I’ve never found it so hard to say goodbye to someone I’d just met.
Fast forward to now, and I have realised, with no small amount of sadness, that he is no longer part of my life. There is no ill feeling, no specific moment I can recall falling out with him, but slowly I’ve learnt to stop asking him to meet up with me, stop messaging him over big political events, and stop expecting him to respond to me. We’ve drifted, I don’t know why, or how, but I’ve had to swallow my pride and accept he just doesn’t like me.
I was staggered by my grief at that decision. I wasn’t dating him. I didn’t love him. I didn’t even fancy him. But this brilliantly funny, bright and wonderful light in my life had gone, and everything seemed just a little bit darker. For me, my friends are just as important as my partners and family, so it was hard to accept that this person didn’t want me to be involved with them anymore. I never cry. I’m reknown for my steely attitude to things but last night I just sobbed like a teenager into my pillow. I’d lost someone important to me and I wasn’t entirely sure why. To lose someone I respected so much and idolised is horrible.
Was I too clingy? Too weird? Did I think I fancied him or something? Did I say something political or sexist that he didn’t like? Was I a terrible person? Had he discovered some great dark secret about me I wasn’t aware of? All of this stirred up a great deal of insecurity and doubt. This was silly, of course. Nothing had happened. He had just drifted away from me, taken a different path, moved on.
So yes, I’m upset. I will probably still feel a twinge of regret every time I see his name in my newsfeed or hear some funny story about him.
But for a while, he made me very happy. And I am grateful for that. I will try not to remember the sadness of it ending but the happier times when we were close: sharing our fears together, laughing over terrible food and confessing to things we’d never told anyone else. It sounds like I love him- I did for a while, as a friend. I look to my other friends, still very much in my life and burning bright with warmth, affection and care, and I know that as much as I am hurting right now, I have other people who care about me and I will meet other people who I will enjoy being with just as much.
The end of a friendship isn’t the end of the world; it is just the closing of a chapter.