Occasionally I will browse through old photos on social media, especially if they pop up in my memories.
Early last week, I saw an old photo with my best friend from college, Abby, and was given the option to add her as a friend. A quick search revealed that she had deleted me from all social media accounts but that she was still friends with dozens of other mutual friends and my immediate family.
Instantly I racked my brain for why she could be mad. All that came to mind was that I had gone wedding dress shopping with several of my closest friends, and they had tagged me in a photo saying we found “the one.”
That seemed odd, and I realized that regardless of how much I let my head spin, I would find no logical reason as to why she had chosen to delete my profile.
There was no big “blow-up” between us.
Five years ago, Abby got married. I was at her wedding and did everything to help on her special day, including giving a speech.
After the wedding, Abby went into radio silence. That is until there was a scare with her husband's family, and they needed to fly to his home country. While out with friends, I received a frantic phone call from Abby asking if I could drive them to the airport. I did, and that was the last time that I ever saw her in person.
To be fair, prior to Abby’s wedding, we had grown apart. To be honest, I was surprised that she asked for me to be at her wedding.
Shortly after I moved to a new city, I received a text from Abby. It contained a slight apology that she hadn’t been involved in my life and promised that she would come to visit. She never did, and that was the last message that we ever exchanged.
Albeit somewhat hurtful, Abby’s actions were not surprising. Throughout the years, especially as I went through a toxic relationship and challenging times, Abby was never there, whereas my other close-knit group of friends was.
Logic and time don’t erase the hurt that remains.
Even though it had been years, and logically I knew that Abby had always struggled to make any time for friendships in her life, the deletion caused me to go into a bit of a tailspin.
Why was there still that familiar twinge of pain? With everything happening in my life and the world, why did it matter that Abby unfriended me on social media?
Eventually (at least for me) I realized that it was because of the following three reasons:
- As humans, we want to be liked, and when someone actively shows they don’t like/are disinterested in us, we often panic and want to resolve the situation.
- The silent ghosting/removal of someone leaves room for numerous possibilities. Did I do something wrong? Was she angry? Was she jealous? Did she hate seeing my life play out without her being part of it, even though she could have been?
3. Although it has been years since we were close, she was once a massive part of my life, and this was the final nail in the coffin showcasing that we had drifted unto entirely different planets.
A change/shift in friends will never be easy.
Over the decades, I have both lost and gained friends.
Although that used to be a bit of a revolving door, I have four amazing women in my life that have stayed a core part of my life for 10+ years. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t take a moment to acknowledge how blessed I am to have had their support throughout life’s changes.
That being said, there is not a single loss of a friendship that I have not mourned.
The ones that I needed to end, the ones that ended naturally with time and distance… none of them were easy for me. There was pain with every single one.
Friendship with women is just unlike anything else. We share parts of ourselves that we don’t share with anyone else. The laughs, the inside jokes, the tears, and that unique intimacy make up moments in our lives that we will never forget.
So, instead of being angry at Abby and resenting her… I am going to accept that what we had, is past.
I will allow myself to briefly mourn the loss of a friendship, silently wish Abby the best in her life, and know that what we shared still holds meaning and helped shape me into the woman I am today.