Of Broken Friendships

Dear diary, 

It’s gotten really loud in my head lately.

So much going on, so much to do, too little time and energy. I haven’t been making the time to journal as I should, but I’m here today.

I recently learnt my place in a friend’s life. And it cut me. 

I like to think of myself as a good friend. I hope that my friends can actually vouch for me on this. LOL. And if you ask my friends and family, you’ll find out that very few things hurt me. At least that’s what I thought. I often laugh off so many things, and proceed to forget about them. I’ve walked into rooms where people that supposedly did something to hurt me assumed I’d keep the malice… half the time, I didn’t even remember whatever incident they assumed had hurt me!

So… I think my friend cut me off. And it really cut me. 

This is a friend that I’ve known for years! Maybe fifteen years? He was the friend that drove across states to come surprise me with breakfast the first time I visited the US. He was the friend I would call in Med School to rant and rant, knowing that I would get wise godly counsel, and encouragement. He would share his struggles with me and we would pray. We didn’t talk all the time, but whenever we did it was as if no time had passed. We’d fill each other in, and make it worth it. 

We’ve maintained this friendship across countries, across life’s issues, and over many years.

A few years ago, when I visited the US, he visited Albert and I with his wife. Just before the pandemic, Albert and I enjoyed a beautiful family weekend in their home. And it was lovely! We had fun with them and the kids, sharing food and banter, watching movies, going shopping, and really just hanging out. I enjoyed their presence! 

So I guess it makes sense that I was hurt.

Initially, I gave all manner of excuses… maybe he was busy.

Maybe work had gotten out of hand, and so he wasn’t really getting time for himself. Maybe there was some family crisis, and it was hard maneuvering that. Maybe he was just overwhelmed with the issues of life. 

So then I thought… why not send a care package. So I reached out… 

“Hey I want to send you this… and if it’s okay with you, I have this event in your state, I could do the one hour drive and come give it to you.”

He was busy, he said.

“Thanks for being thoughtful, but I’m pretty busy. Let’s plan this for another time.”

No more replies after that. But that was okay, the initial reply meant he was okay right? And we weren’t the kind of friends that talked that often anyway.

So the weeks turned into many months, and there was one particular week when he was on my mind all the time! I sent messages and got no replies whatsoever. I called a few times, but got no answers or callbacks. It felt so weird. I was worried… because maybe some thing terrible had physically happened to him? Or maybe he was having some mental health issues? I prayed for him, and then I reached out to a mutual friend to have him check on him, in the unlikely case he just didn’t want to hear from me. 

Lo and behold. He got a reply almost immediately! They even set up a time for a video call. He was practically free all week and didn’t mind what time they scheduled for that call! 

I was lost for words… but well, no wahala…. It was good to know he was alive and doing well. And I prayed for him. That’s what’s important right? Well, his birthday rolled around. I called initially and got no answer, and no call back… (no surprises there.)

Oh maybe he’s got so many phone calls today. Yeah… that’s me. forever giving people excuses. 

So I sent another message.

“Hey! It’s been so hard trying to reach you, this is just to say that you’ve been on my mind, and I wish you a Happy Birthday, and all of God’s best. I hope your address hasn’t changed… I’d like to send you your birthday gift!”

I didn’t expect a reply, so this was just my way of making peace… my ‘final straw’ so to say.

Imagine my joy when he called back! 

“Oh Elise, forgive me, I meant to reply your last message, so sorry. Thanks for the birthday wishes. No my address is still the same. You don’t have to send a gift.”

In that shallow almost forced conversation, I knew that it was over. I knew that my friend was gone. 

And for some reason, I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t worried anymore. I just wanted to know what happened? How we went from that enviable strong bond to absolutely nothing in a matter of months. I wish I’d done something wrong…. And even then, I wish he had felt fine with saying “hey, you did this and it hurt me, so I don’t think this friendship is worth much anymore.” Is that what they call closure?

I assumed our friendship to be stronger than this awkward one person hunt, and strange forced conversation.

But I guess it doesn’t matter. The bottomline is that I have learnt. Learnt that sometimes friendships end. No matter how beautiful they were, they do. And it’s okay.

So it didn’t bother me so much when he didn’t acknowledge getting the gift. Didn’t faze me anymore that he’d cut me off.

I’m not a big fan of cancel culture. I’m the kind of person that gives people multiple chances, multiple excuses. In retrospect, it was often even to my detriment. But I’m growing, and learning, and realizing that some people have a part to play in your life… and it does not need to be forever. Maybe my part in his life has come to an end. Maybe I am no longer of much benefit to his life. Maybe his part in my life should be over. Maybe he’s no longer of benefit to my life. 

And that is okay!

I don’t know if I’m still hurt… because to a large extent, I’m not good at dealing with that emotion. But I know that I’m done. That I will be okay. And although somethings will come up once in a while and I’ll  think “Oh hey, I should tell him this…” those moments will get fewer with time.

No I’m not cutting him off. I will return a text if I ever get one. I will pick up the phone if he ever calls. I will pray for him whenever he comes to mind. And frankly, I will constantly wish him all of Gods very best.

But, I will no longer be the one reaching out. I will no longer put myself in a position where I have to constantly give excuses for his nonchalance. I will prioritize my peace of mind. I’m older now, and hopefully, wiser! 

Have you had any friendship breakups in the past? How did you deal with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments! 

23 thoughts on “Of Broken Friendships

  1. A very interesting read and something I can
    relate to.
    I’ve come to believe that some relationships/ friendships are meant to be for a while and not a lifetime so whatever happens you thank God and move on

    1. To have someone you were once so close to act like you’re complete strangers is another form of heartbreak the world has to address. It takes a toll on your mental health and as you said, it’s OK to not be okay but after everything we’ve been through as friends , I believe I deserve closure. Healing tough but we need to learn to let go, maybe not all at once but string by string and treasure the memories whenever we remember them, without holding grudges.
      You’re really close to complete healing after taking this bold step to write this wonderful piece.
      Thanks Elise❤

  2. Great piece Dr.!!
    Is this a real life event of yours?

    I practically experienced a similar event just last month.
    We’ve known each other just for about 6months now. I really believed this friendship was real and genuine!!
    My friend was thoughtful kind and listen to all my complains regarding work.
    My friend never complained that I was “in his space”.

    All of a sudden no word whatsoever,just like you I also thought he had been hurt,involved in an accident or something. So I also did the same thing you did: ask a mutual friend to check on him and he was 100% fine. It was just my calls or texts he refused to reply.

    I am learning gradually and healing slowly cuz it still hurts. I just know I will be fine one day.
    God bless you for this great piece

  3. Spot on Elise! Watching a friendship you cherish fade away is one of the most heartbreaking things that has happened to me. Not knowing why I was losing my friend was killing me. We used to be inseparable. Now I get “one worded replies” or blue ticks (mostly this). I see her excitement on group pages talking to others and that excitement going away when it involves me. I have asked so many times what I did wrong. I have apologized so many times for whatever I did even though she says i didn’t do anything. I really wanted (well I still do) my friend back. So I am still dealing. It’s a heartbreak that comes back over and over. I have lost friends and moved on but I don’t think I want to be done with this particular friendship. That friend is/was gold. I pray I get to the point of acceptance you have reached one day because it just hurts to become “the ghost”.

    1. I hope you get to the point of acceptance too. It’s so painful just hoping that the person will reach out but honestly it hardly happens. I’ve experienced losing that ‘gold’ friend before. It was so painful because she used to behave so normally with others and laughing but would just walk past me in public as if she didn’t know me. I asked if I’d done something wrong and she said I hadn’t done anything. I finally accepted it and I feel so free honestly. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself rather than worrying about it.

    2. Very beautiful.. I’m actually currently dealing with something similar.. I knew this friend of mine since university.. She was one of the first friends I made.. We spoke often, calling eachother and checking up on eachother.. But then all of sudden I didn’t hear from her anymore.. She distanced herself with two of our friends.. We didn’t hear from her for awhile until one time she decided to send a msg two my two friends and left me out.. I was upset at first cause I had left messages.. Tried calling it find out if she was alright or if I had done something wrong.. I even apologised and sent a message on social media but no reply.. She didn’t even bother to call back.. But till now.. She still talks with my other friends and excludes me… I asked my friends to find out what I did, but she said I didn’t do anything.. She said she doesn’t have any issues with me
      I can’t force her to talk to me or be my friend, So I have also accepted and distanced myself.. If she does reply my texts.. I will reply back but other than that I won’t push myself to reach out to her again.. I’m moving forward…. God bless you though for sharing 🙏🏾

  4. Very beautiful piece; I saw the link on someone’s status and I’m happy I clicked to read. God bless you and strengthen you, we learn together and fight together.
    Thank you

  5. Well, I’m hurt by his action. Although I think it’s unfair on his part to cut you off without giving a reason or at least being bold enough to own up to his action.
    In all, life always happens.
    Now I don’t really see him as a good friend anymore.
    I’ve had a funny experience similar to this. I think I should do a post on it though.

  6. Another wonderful read Elise. It was very enlightening. Fighting for a relationship/ friendship is worth it but you should avoid it when you are the only one fighting.

  7. My friend ghosted me last year and I was heart broken. She was a part of my life and when I watched her live her best life without me I was hurt. I am doing okay now.

  8. Great piece right there . This is something I can actually relate with. Two years ago, i had this strong connection with a friend I met in college but unfortunately, today, that bond doesn’t exist anymore . Although she was older than me, I could literally do anything with her and I thought someday, she was going to be standing right next to me when I’m being walked down the aisle . I genuinely loved her and I wish I knew how we became strangers, I have asked her a number of times but all I get is cheeky answers . It really hurts but I’ve learnt to let go . I’ve gotten used to not seeing her name appear on my phone . I think I just made up by mind that if it’s meant to be, it will be . I really miss my friend and I can only hope that she misses me too.

  9. Lovely one! I like the way it relates to the day to day life . There are some things that are unavoidable in this journey We are on. Silence and space are good ways to deal with a broken relationship.
    Keep this up..it’s great.

  10. The hardest lesson in life to accept is when a once unbreakable bond lies fractured! It’s painful. I’ve learnt to not make excuses for anyone. I used to do that to make myself feel better but no more. Now I just tell myself I don’t know why this person is acting this way. And after trying to find the why’s to no avail from the person. I pull back, draw my own boundaries till they’re ready or never!

    Thanks Elise. 🤗❤️

  11. Great piece sis….. I can relate to your story because I had a similar experience. At the end I have to write a letter and put a stone in it for me to throw it over the wall of her house. Keep writing to encourage some of us and the world at large…. Go girl… You have more in You.

  12. Hahaha the day I got a real dose of this realization was when the person i thought was my girlfriend just bailed on me one day after a minor disagreement. Nothing could permeate her ears. I tried everything. The more i tried the stronger her walls became. Honestly, it broke me in so many places than I will ever admit but here i am now. I have learnt so much about the nonpermanence of human relationships. I have learnt to let go no matter how difficult it is. No matter how much you feel your heart is getting literally ripped out of your body. It’s never the end. Just keep praying for him. Don’t expect closure cos you may not get one. Just live my friend

  13. Mine happened a few months ago. I’ve known him for the past 5 years. We grew from being friends to siblings. All of sudden, no hearing from him. He started distancing himself and the worse came when he consistently accused me of chasing after his girlfriend; this is the part that broke. But I’ve learned to be strong amd move on.

  14. Several decades ago when I was a young teenager, I was very lonely because I was being raised by a single Mum who felt my education was more important than anything else and therefore ensured that I made my books and the library my only friends!
    It got to a point I just couldn’t stand it so I did what I knew best to do. I prayed! I told God I wanted a friend and He gave me one. Oh and a very good one! We got so close she was like my Sister. We have been through thick and thin and we’ve been friends for over 40 years now. But in the last few years she started withdrawing. At first I didn’t see it! But when I finally got it, I went down memory lane and realised it had been coming all along just that because I was the one who was always investing in the relationship I did not pay much attention when my friend started withdrawing!
    Well I went through most of what many of you have shared on this platform but along the line I grew wiser! I went back to the God from whom I asked for her decades ago and these are the lessons He helped me to glean out of the experience:
    1. No relationship is permanent where human beings are concerned. The only one one who accepts me and loves me in spite of who I am is God and that should be enough because He loves me too much to ever dump me.
    2. It is worth investing into God’s love above any other relationship because when all else fails He is the only one who will always be there for me
    3. I know my friend but I don’t necessarily know all my friend’s friends and what value my friend places on her relationship with her other friends compared to mine. Maybe I have move from #1 along the years to #8 on her list!
    4. If I check within me and I have not done anything to hurt her I need to move on. If it bothers me that much I can check in with her but if she says I haven’t hurt her in any way, I should just take the hint that it is time to move on and move on.
    So back to my story, I knew it was not my fault in any way so I did not ask my friend for any explanation. I accepted the new position I had on her list of friends and moved on. It’s been quite a while now since we really talked. She’s doing well from all I see from afar and I’m also dong great by God’s grace. Our children are friends and my children still relate well with her. The other time she called and I was in a meeting so I couldn’t pick her call. I did not rush to return her call but I eventually did after some days. It was just a ‘hi how are you doing?’ kind of conversation and I was fine wit it. I don’t know when we will check in on each other again but I think we are both fine with this new turn of events; at least I am. I hold no grudge against her and I pray for her whenever I’m praying for my friends and she comes to mind, but I don’t worry about not hearing from her.
    Life happens and we move on. I have learned through this experience to love and appreciate God more and I’ve also learned to accept myself better. God bless us all.

  15. A great piece. I can totally relate to this. A friend cut me off in the weirdest of ways and reached out earlier this year to reconnect. Honestly, her actions still hurt me and I’m not ready to reconnect. I can love her from afar.

  16. … I’m smiling, with a lot of thoughts and rushing memories.

    Girl, I may want to push you (as I would, to myself) “persevere & still be the old you, for a little while more!”.
    Yes, you can still be the one reaching out, and you should. Yes, you can put yourself in a position where you have to constantly give excuses for his nonchalance… and you should… True, you’d want to prioritize you peace of mind – and you should ‘continue’, because I know you still had peace of mind during that phase. You’ll continue to be older, and still be wiser, no doubt. My opinion, I wouldn’t ‘age’ wisdom cuz I can draw in the wisdom of boy Jesus, or the one with loaves of bread and fish. Then there’s the example of Jesus on the cross with His forgiveness prayer… and we’re just as He! Let me not even go on through the Biblical perspectives…

    As per my admonition, what I’d like to see/hear/read, is a sequal to this lovely experiential write up… where you basically highlight how’s been as you sustained your ‘same-you’ efforts, through the cut.
    You’re cut, but it may only be 2mm deep. Even if it was to the bone, or completely off, I’d still encourage you to remain ‘you’… as-was 🙂
    For all you know, such resilience is what you’re supposed to ‘forever’ bring into the relationship, although it may be unwarranted. It’s not 50% on your part, and 50% on his part, to make a whole… I know it’s 100% 100%. I live it!

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