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The Best Lesson I Learned after My Best Friend Breakup

The Best Lesson I Learned after My Best Friend Breakup

Years ago, a best friend of more than a decade dumped me. In 24 hours or less, she’d sent “the breakup text” and removed me from Facebook. (Yes, that’s how I knew it was serious.)

And just like that: the friendship was over.

I was shocked and devastated.

We’d been college roommates. I was her Maid of Honor. Godmother to her first daughter. We’d been through a lot of life together. We’d survived long road trips, bad dye-jobs, and bad dates. We’d shared great joy but also gut-wrenching grief.

In those swift moments that ended our friendship, it was as if none of that mattered anymore. Worse, it felt like I didn’t matter anymore. Our friendship had hit a rough patch, but end it completely? It felt extreme and exaggerated—at the time.

Now I see the blessing in the breakup.

The friendship had actually become unhealthy.

And sometimes the only way to have a chance at restored health is to amputate what’s eroding the rest. I can’t speak for her, but I know I was so determined to not lose our history, that I was ignoring the dysfunction in our present.

I was so afraid of losing the friendship, that I lost sight of the friend.

I also lost sight of myself, because I didn’t want to rock the boat.

But sometimes you have to be willing to let something sink...

…to find out if it’s actually strong enough to swim.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 speaks of a season for everything. The seasons it speaks of apply to friendship, too. Friendships are not guaranteed or obligated to be life-long relationships. Some are, but most aren’t. And that’s okay.

There is a time for friendship to be born—and there’s a time for friendship to die. At the very least there’s a time for a friendship as we know it to die. A friendship should grow as the two people in it grow.

Sometimes it simply grows in opposite directions. I think I was afraid to acknowledge how oppositely we’d grown, because I was afraid it would be polarizing. In trying to keep the friendship together, I ignored what could actually tear it apart.

One weed at the root of our rift was idolatry.

The best lesson I learned from my bestie break-up is that no one friendship is meant to be your “everything.” I had subtly slipped into needing her friendship more than was healthy for either one of us.

Which is why I now appreciate what she did that day. I’d like to think there could have been a way to still preserve some degree of friendship. But I’m not sure it would have been possible for us at that point.

I wasn’t expecting how relieved I would feel after the breakup. I thought it ended because it had become unhealthy for just one of us (her). Then God showed me how it had actually become unhealthy for me, too.

Turns out I needed the breakup as much as she did. I wasn’t able to see how the friendship was stifling me. Or maybe I knew it on some level, but was afraid to admit it because I was afraid of how it could change things.

What else did I learn from having my best friend break up with me?

Here are four more lessons:

1. It’s essential to cultivate more than one deep, authentic friendship. Even then, no friendship is meant to outpace or replace friendship with God. I don’t care if it sounds cheesy: Let’s not forget that we get to have friendship with God.

2. It’s okay if you’re only friends with someone for a specific season in life. In this case, the friendship ended for unhealthy reasons. But sometimes friendships simply drift away. Or they end on more pleasant terms—but they end nonetheless.

3. The end of a friendship isn’t the end of your worth. Sometimes friendships end because one or both people did something damaging. Make amends when you can—grow from what you now know, but remember that your value is in God not friend.

4. When a friendship ends, you still get to keep the good stuff. She and I may not be friends right now, but the fact that we were ever friends helped shape me into the person I am. I’m grateful for that and thankful for her.

Bad dye-jobs don’t last, but the gifts of a once-great friendship do.

I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe there’s a rekindled friendship with her in the future—maybe not. I trust God with both possibilities, which speaks of a freedom that I think she and I lost somewhere along the way.

Keep freedom in your friendships, friend. And remember:

There’s a season for everything, but there’s also a reason for everything, too.    

Rebecca Halton is a working writer, the author of Words from the Other Woman, and a self-professed “redemption advocate,” who loves cheering women on to freer living in their present, regardless of their past.