I Want My Best Friend Back

What do you do when your best friend since junior high begins to pull away?

by Sharon MacGregor • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

We’ve all probably told at least one person, “Maybe it’s time to move on. Find yourself. Learn more about what makes you happy.” Some of us might even admit to being on the receiving end of this advice, and we can all agree breaking up is never easy. But, what if you simply can’t? What if the relationship in question is the one you have had with your best girlfriend since junior high school? The one who stood by your side for everything from your first period, the wrong guys, bad haircuts, awful fashions, rejections, career choices, marriage, childbirth, childrearing, and well, everything is now hardly in my life.

Like any relationship, it wasn’t always perfect. We let each other down from time to time, but before she moved over three hours away, we were talking on the phone daily. She was that friend you didn’t care if she saw your house or you at your worst. I admired her goals for wanting to be a wonderful wife and mother. Shamefully, it took me years of experience in those roles to realize how fabulous a gift they are to me as well. 

I’m not sure how it started to change, how the miles and distance wore away at the bond, but I know I let it after awhile. I stood to the side to see how far she would let this go. I wanted her to miss me. I wanted her to reach out for me. I wanted to be added to her goals. What about wonderful wife, mother and best girlfriend, I thought with a childish pout and a bit of a foot stomp for good measure.

I ran into our old friends. I branched off into mini-best-friends. Those relationships that are formed due to common interests but still maintain some degree of limitation. These are not the people I would consider calling in the middle of the night because I am worried I will die a horrible death at a ridiculously early age.

Then the holiday cards somehow stopped.

She is not available on social media or by cell phone. “If someone wants me, they know where to find me,” was her explanation.

When my younger son graduated high school, he basically told me to get over it and invite her and the family to his graduation party. I was just as nervous to call her as I would be if I were requesting to interview a celebrity. She must have a reason for not staying in constant contact. What had I done? We talked and laughed, I invited her, and she accepted. However, a few days later I received a message she had a commitment to attend one of her husband’s relatives’ graduation parties on the same day. 

Should I take a hint? Coincidence?

I retreat. Months turn into months, and then over a year has passed. Why can’t this work? I reach out again; we talk and laugh, share and hang up. Time goes by, and I wonder is it me? Have the dynamics changed or was it always this way? Was I the pursuer in this relationship all along? 

I will be celebrating a milestone with a party in just a few months and just today wrote out her invitation. I simply cannot imagine this celebration without her though it will break my heart if she does not attend. It may be time for someone to sit me down and tell me, “Maybe it’s time to move on. Find yourself. Learn more about what makes you happy.” For now, I simply miss her every day. 

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