I watched my ex-boyfriend's daughters navigate the minefield of middle school friendships, intense bestie affairs founded on a shared love of Snapchat, shitty pop music and excluding others. I talked them through the inevitable tears that followed seeing proof on Instagram that all their friends had just had a top-secret exclusive slumber party. I saw the hurt in their eyes when a girl who had been their BEST FRIEND FOREVER! yesterday refused to speak to them at school today.
We may outgrow the insecurity, drama and passion of those middle school years, but we never outgrow being hurt when friends disappear.
Friends are disappointing.
Of course they are. Because they are human and human beings are really selfish motherfuckers sometimes, often without even realizing it. We've all said and done things without realizing the hurt we cause and we've all been on the receiving end of those behaviors as well.
Maybe you used to talk to a friend daily, or weekly. Then it becomes monthly. Then a text here or there. You make excuses. They're busy! The kids have activities! We'll plan something soon! But the truth is that busy is simply an excuse. We make time for the people that matter in our lives, and what smarts is realizing that you simply no longer matter to someone who once loved you.
When dating relationships or marriages break up, there's a definitive end. You explode at one another, or file for divorce, or somebody moves out. Maybe you ended things or maybe they did, but at least you reap the luxury of knowing the relationship has ceased.
There's a unique sting that accompanies the realization that you've been slowly phased out of someone's life. I've been there myself and I've helped others through it as well. Maybe you're no longer successful enough to fit the image they are cultivating? They might disapprove of your life choices or hate your spouse. Perhaps you just bore them to tears now? Or maybe they really do enjoy you but they are simply too consumed with achieving and accumulating to realize what they are losing in the process.
The why doesn't ultimately matter, which is good since you'll likely never know why. The ugly, undeniable kernel of truth is this: If they no longer make an effort to call you when they're in town, spend time with you, meet your kid or dog or new girlfriend, they just don't have much interest in you anymore.
It sucks and it hurts, as does much of life.
Our only job as humans is to determine which relationships are worth nurturing and then do so with gusto.
Regardless of where you are right now - today - in your life, it could all change in an instant. One auto accident could steal your whole family. One recession could cost you your savings and career. One tumor could make you realize your big house and prestigious degree don't matter. You could find yourself (like me) realizing that all you have left are your relationships.
And wouldn't it suck if they'd all died of neglect while you were busy with other things?