We’ve all suffered heartbreak at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s a crush or a lover or a partner or a spouse who wounds our heart and causes us to feel doubt, sadness, anger, confusion and betrayal. Sometimes it’s a friend...

When a close friendship fractures our emotional reactions often mirror those that come with the end of a romantic relationship. Over the course of 46 years I have had a handful of friendships blow up or fall apart. Twice I finally had to let go of a friend because they’d let me down about eight too many times. And even though I was the one who officially “broke up” it was still painful and left me doubting myself and asking was I not a good enough friend? Was I not fun enough? Did I not listen enough?  Why didn’t they like me enough to make the effort? Are the other women I call friends “real” friends? 


One friendship didn’t survive a loan. Politics have strained more that a few of my friendships and once a polite disagreement escalated into a heated debate then finally to an exchange of words that will never be unheard. I have never been any good at sticking to polite conversation. I like to talk about issues I care about. I like people who like to talk about issues they care about. I get off on an informed and passionate debate. The older (Wiser?) I get the better I am at understanding that with some friends there are no go zones and that’s okay. The friendship I lost so dramatically was over of all things, breastfeeding (I said I thought what’s most important is a happy new mother and a well fed baby). I actually lost two friends that night because a third friend of ours “chose” the adamant breast feeders “side”. Still trying to wrap my head around that...Then there were the ‘toxic” friends who were only capable of constant competition. Friends who at the end of the day didn’t have my back or even really like me (maybe kinda hated me) let alone love me as one should hope a true friend would. 

I loved every friend I’ve lost. I gave everything I had to those friendships and when they ended I wept, raged and questioned. My “break ups” have taught me a lot about myself and I try to apply what I’ve learned to both new and old friendships so that I can be a better friend. So far I’ve managed to remain open and optimistic enough to allow new friends to enter my life. I try to keep my “walls” to a minimum and to remember that for every friend I’ve lost I have 10 who’ve stuck around, who give as good as they get and who make me feel sane, happy and cherished.

How lucky am I? 


Article By Anna Quick-Palmer