I’ve always been the girl who had separate pockets of women whom I connected with—some far away and some who live close. Some from the workplace and some from my kids’ school. And more and more now, I find my circle of online friends expanding. We may not be Snapchat-ing all day like our kids, but these online friends are just a quick text away.
These are the friends you can ask for advice, share funny jokes with, and commiserate with. Our adult friendships are every bit as important as the BFFs from our childhood—maybe more. I know for many busy moms today, these little interactions fill the friendship cup just as much as talking on the phone used to.
Friendships are like marriages—they take hard work, communication, and a little bit of luck and timing to make them work. And, like marriages, not all friendships stand the test of time. Our lives part for one reason or another: maybe hurt feelings, misunderstandings, or simply that our lives or interests grew apart. Breakups are hard because no one likes feeling like they made an enemy. At the same time, there is usually a valid reason for parting ways, and the only thing to do is to move on.
Now that I’m in my 40s, I’ve been through a friendship breakup a few times—regrettably a couple more than I would like. But I’ve learned a few valuable lessons along the way.
1. Try not to regret the fun times you had.
Those bottles of wine you shared over late night conversations probably made for some great memories. Just because you’ve moved on from the friendship doesn’t mean you can’t still appreciate the good moments you had together or the ways in which you supported each other. Look back on those memories fondly, as they very likely helped shape who you are today.
2. Some friendships aren’t meant to last forever.
You friendship served a purpose for a time, and then for whatever reason, it became obvious that it was time to move on. Go forward in peace—no slandering—with the understanding that the coming and going of friendship really is just part of life.
3. Deleting each other on social media isn’t necessarily a slam.
It can be painful to see your former friend’s pictures and good times with their family; sometimes it’s simply better to make a clean break. It’s OK to delete a friend from social media, but on the flip side, we can’t take it too personally when the same is done to us.
4. Your kids/husbands can still be friends.
This can be awkward, but I do believe that the other people in our lives can remain friends even if we do not. My kids have had faded friendships with other kids, and yet I have maintained friendships with their mamas, and vice versa. It takes work, but it isn’t impossible.
5. You will find another bestie, and so will she.
Those first weeks and months after a friend breakup can feel like a punch in the gut just as much as a romantic breakup. It’s easy to feel like no one could ever replace your friend, that you’ll never again have a connection like you had with her with anyone else. But, as with any romantic breakup, the tired (and sort of callous) old cliché still applies: There are plenty of other fish in the sea. It will take time and healing, but sooner or later, a new friendship with someone else will emerge. There might even be another partner-in-crime already right under your nose.