I lost a friend a few years ago—a best friend. It wasn’t to death or tragedy; it was more like a breakup. But it was still the loss of a genuine, BFF, you-are-my-rock friendship. The reason doesn’t really matter, and I imagine her side of the story looks very different than mine anyway, so it’s all relative. But it hurt. It broke me up inside to the point where I felt consumed with anger, sadness, guilt, bitterness—all ugly things. A boyfriend at the time was all about transcendence, auras and guiding energy, and he convinced me to talk to a psychic, probably so I would stop talking about it with him.
Most of what the psychic told me was hocus pocus. I would marry a tall, blond Scandinavian. Wrong. I would have two girls. Wrong. But when she got to my friend, she said something that changed my life: “Your relationship has served its purpose. It’s time to bless her and send her on her way.”
After the months of mental anguish, wondering if I should reach out to my friend, wondering if she would reach out to me, wondering how to fix something where I felt I had taken the high road and stayed true to myself, my values, and my self worth, do I put my integrity aside to save this relationship? Do I apologize for something when I believe with all my heart I’ve done nothing wrong? Never had it occurred to me that some things don’t need to be fixed. Some things simply need to be let go.
This changed my perspective on all my friendships. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to nurture certain friendships. Often, it felt one-sided. Yet I felt consumed with self-doubt, wondering what I could do to “fix” it. In these situations, I often bent over backwards to try to please and reignite the friendship, which, similar to romantic relationships, is always a recipe for disaster. The friends wound up mistreating me, manipulating the situation, or just ignoring me altogether. While it took a long time and a lot of self-pity, I realized that these friendships were now long expired. They may have started well and provided fulfillment, but they slowly dulled and eventually fizzled. Losing these friendships and moving on were critical to my own wellness.
With other friendships, I did not spend nearly enough time trying to nurture and build the relationships. I took our bonds for granted and assumed our closeness would withstand the tests of time, life changes, and priority shifts. I discovered that this can lead to two results: One, the relationship ultimately dries out, as expected. No hard feelings, no animosity, the world keeps moving forward and our friendship does not. Or, two, the bond endures despite the obstacles, and over time and with new opportunities to reconnect, it’s like no time has passed at all. We find we’re still the same loving, caring friends we had been all along. These are the friendships we strive our whole lives to find. These are the friends we can count on.
I read somewhere that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Not all friendships are meant to endure, and that’s OK. As much as I wish I could make everyone happy and be lifelong friends with everyone, it’s not realistic. I’m going to embrace my lifetime relationships. I will encourage my season relationships. And I’m going to be grateful for my reason relationships.
I wish nothing but the best for my old friend. Our relationship served an important purpose and is now complete. I often wonder if she thinks of me, as I still think of her. I hope she, too, has found closure in our relationship. And I’m grateful for the time we did have. It made me a better person. But it’s time to move on. I’ve made room for other friends in my life, great friends who build me up and support me for who I am. Some of them are indeed here for a reason or a season, but hopefully a few of them fit into the “lifetime” category.
To all my friends, old and new, thank you for being a part of my life, whether our friendship was for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
Hear what our real-life Scary Mommies, Keri and Ashley, have to say about this when they give their (always real) thoughts in this episode of our Scary Mommy Speaks podcast.
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