“You may write me down in history, with your bitter, twisted lies. You may tread me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
I recited Dr. Angelou’s words religiously some time ago to help mend my broken heart. It wasn’t the first time I had come in contact with the infamous poem:
“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries…”
But this time, it was as if the text lifted off the page and smacked me in the face. I was at the beginning of the long, drawn out burial of a friendship I had cherished for a few years. The kind where you don’t see each other every day, or week, not even every month; however, it’s the kind of friend you know is always there. If needed, you can call on him – and you know he’ll pick up the phone. The kind of friend who is supportive. The kind who’s guaranteed to make you laugh, because your sense of humour is in perfect symmetry. The kind of friend whose nickname for you, no one else is allowed to use. The kind of friend you respect and admire.
Somewhere along the line, the friendship became more. You might have already guessed it – because a friendship with the opposite sex, as amazing as described above, almost always crosses that fine line. Unfortunately, the rest, you can predict as well. The “something more” eventually came to an end, and months later, we were no longer friends. I knew it was a done deal in April, when our eyes met again for the first time in a public setting, and neither of us lifted a finger to say hello.
Inside, you go through the stages: being hurt, sad, mourning, straight up angry, and repeat. You even play yourself, and pretend you don’t care. Man, I pretended like my life depended on it. Losing the “something more” – over time – was alright. However, it sucked that my homie was no longer a phone call away.
5 Ways To Move Forward After Losing A Friend
1. Write a goodbye letter.
They may or may not read it. But that’s not the point. Writing it is surprisingly therapeutic. I’ve written friends and exes letters that I never sent, even some family members. Some letters, I did send. I needed a way to communicate that was for purely selfish reasons. It was so that I could hear myself say goodbye to this person that I really liked, or loved, or enjoyed having around.
2. Fill the space with something new.
This is true for any loss. When one stops drinking or any other addiction, they come up with some sober activities ASAP. I used to speak with this friend daily at around a certain time during the work day, so I instead began using that time to catch up on emails, or leave the office for a lunch break with colleagues. It always feels uncomfortable at first. That’s a good sign. It means you are processing emotions, which is part of closure. If it felt cozy, then you probably weren’t doing it right. But change can be fun and challenging at the same time.
3. Make a plan.
You might think about what you would do if the friend ever comes back. Because it happens. Or you run into him or her at the bank or the grocery store, and your mouth opens but no noise comes out. It’s best to think it through…”if this person wants into my life again, should I let her?” That’s a hard one. Ask yourself this: Does the relationship empower me, or deflate me? Does this person build me up or tear me down? And can I truly be myself when I’m with her? This goes for new friends too. (Don’t listen to Drake) Start a new friend policy now. What are the requirements from now on for a person to be your friend?
4. Stay with the pain.
Stay with the loneliness, it’s necessary to go through it. Missing the person you once considered a friend is inevitable. It is important that you stay with your pain and allow it to be there. The pain you feel now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your heart. Trust that God will fulfill your need and eventually take care of that void.
5. Don’t take it personally.
By far, the most difficult part of the process. But if you can do this on any level, you save yourself so much suffering. I’ve learned that even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. If you don’t take it personally, you are immune to the foolishness and can focus your attention on what’s still to come.