There are fewer things in life that are as absolutely wonderful as true friendships. I am someone who considers herself blessed and fortunate to claim, not one, but two best friends (outside of my sister who is my other self). These two besties are my girls from college – and the three of us are going on 24 years strong in sisterhood. There was a time when we never went a day without speaking, and we put forth real efforts to stay connected knowing we’d all grow old together. And I still feel that we’ll be friends until we’re old and (more) grey.
However, I can’t say that we’ve always done our best to stay as connected as we once did, which is a given considering we’ve all had careers, marriages, kids and just life in general to deal with that doesn’t leave much time for girls’ nights out and slumber parties. There were even times I even questioned our union, and I even took a “break” from one of my friends. Yes…a 2-year break.
Now I know that may sound a little harsh, but I feel that if you truly value something you may have to let it go. Just as they say in romantic relationships that if you love him, let him go – and if he comes back, it was meant to be. Well, that’s what I did with one of my best friends. The trio was broken up – and for two years, two of us went our separate ways leaving the third musketeer to shuttle between us.
We broke up over a silly spat, that I can barely even remember now. But it wasn’t just the one little argument that did us in. It was a series of little spats, bickering, miscommunications and hurt feelings that culminated into me deciding that I needed some distance. She knew I had issues with her, but I think she hoped that I’d simply “get over it.” She probably had her issues with me too, but she never addressed them with me. I just decided that I was going to stop calling one day – cold turkey. And she decided that she wasn’t going to call either. Some might say we were both being stubborn, but we just decided to go on with our lives because neither of us had any energy left at that time to try to figure it out.
Sometimes friendships can get stale, and like romantic relationships, sometimes you have to find ways to bring the spark back. Given that we continuously evolve and grow, its inevitable that friendships will go through changes and work must be done to maintain them. Some could say that we were both petty when it comes to how we handled things, but for us it was the best thing to do. When you’re angry, hurt or not thinking rationally, there’s a chance you can do more harm than good by forcing the issue and trying to voice your frustrations. I thought a cooling off period was necessary, even though I had no idea that period would last 2 years. I missed her entire courtship with her now husband. I missed white water rafting trips. I missed birthdays and New Year’s Eve celebrations. But I didn’t miss our arguing or hurt feelings or lack of compassion. I was happy to have some peace between us even it meant we had to separate from each other to get it.
Fast forward 2 years and the third musketeer between us was expecting her first child. It was then that I decided to reach out to my former bestie and college roommate and extend an olive branch. Our girl was going to need us, and even though we never forced her to choose sides or get involved in our mess I could tell she missed the three of us together as sister-friends. After a long email pouring my heart out asking if we could renew and revive our friendship, she responded with her own outpouring and an apology – and just like that we were besties again. It was like nothing had ever happened. And we made up just in time for me to be the maid of honor in her wedding.
Today, we don’t try to force our friendship. We don’t put unrealistic expectations on each other, so neither of us gets disappointed with the other. We check in to see how the kids are doing and we go for dinner once every 3-4 months. We click “like” on each other’s Facebook posts and we vent when one of us is feeling overwhelmed. Our friendship has been fine-tuned to be inclusive, compassionate and understanding…and it took us 2 years to figure out how to save 20 years of friendship. If you ask me, it was time well spent.