I have the Roman numeral number for 3 tattooed on my wrist. I got it as a gesture to symbolize the bond I had with my two best friends from my twenties; we used to call ourselves the “tribunal.” That’s what the tattoo meant THEN. If a person spotted the dainty faded ink on my wrist and asked me what it means NOW, it would be something totally different because in reality, the tattoo lasted longer than the sisterhood that once existed in the tribunal.
While I am still close with one of the girls from the tribunal, my bond with the other friend fell apart. The end of that friendship came abruptly and at her decision for a reason that I still do not entirely understand or agree with. She was my best friend for years, and I genuinely loved her. Her family was my family, and her friends were my friends. I imagined her being the maid of honor in my future wedding and the godmother to my nonexistent kids. Back then, in my mind’s eye, it was inconceivable to myself or our friends that we would cease to be friends. But that’s what happened, and the end of that friendship broke my heart. I have been dumped by boyfriends before but this friendship breakup was a lot harder. I grieved the loss of it, and it took me years to come to peace with the fact that this person was no longer part of my every day conversation.
I once read that there are three kinds of friendships in life: “friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime.” If anyone would ask me what that tattoo on my wrist means now, these three types of friendships and all the lessons I have learned from being in those relationships have been what the tattoo has come to symbolize. Having gone through that devastating friendship breakup and breaking up with several friends over the years at my choice, I personally know this to be true. I have learned a lot about relationships and friendships over the years but the lessons I learned from the breakups taught me a great deal too.
- Not all relationships are meant to last forever; all good things eventually come to an end. As I have gotten older, I have come to peace with the idea that nothing lasts forever, especially relationships. People outgrow each other; people grow and change; people die. I am not saying this to be the doom fairy and kill the fantasy for all out there but merely stating a fact. The notion of “forever” is a romantic illusion that stems in the idea that bonds evolve, grow, and change in the same direction but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, we don’t grow in the same direction and staying in certain relationships no longer serve us. Sometimes, it truly is better to walk away with the memories of what was and keep on moving. Growing in the same direction is truly a reserved privilege only intended for a select few in our lifetime and even that’s not forever though you can get close.
- When people choose to walk away, it’s not always about you. I spent a lot of time questioning that friend’s reason and decision to walk away from the friendship. Like I said before, her reasons never really quite made 100% sense to me but years after the fact, we spoke again, and I got a little context about what had been going on with her at the time. What I learned is that she had undergone tremendous change and had been in a transitioning point in her life when we stopped being friends. And while I do believe she feels her reasons to end our friendship is and was valid, I realize that her decision to walk away wasn’t even really about me. It was about her and where life was taking her; she was growing in another direction and I just simply not meant to be part of it.
- Everything happens when it is supposed to and teaches us a bigger lesson. There is a divine timing in life, and people enter and leave life when they are supposed to. Some are meant to leave forever because the relationship is no longer healthy and no longer serves us; others are meant to come back because there is more to learn and more love to have. The constant coming and going of characters in the stories of our life teach us great lessons about how to love, relate, communicate, appreciate and grow with one another. My best friend Lindsey (not the aforementioned friend earlier in this post) and I broke up for years only to come back together when we were older and wiser; I genuinely feel we had to exit from one another’s life to appreciate our relationship now.
- The love never dies completely even if the friendship does. I won’t lie; when my former bestie ended our friendship, it hurt like hell. I also never stopped caring about her, and I recognize that she was part of some of the best times of my life and is in a lot of my favorite memories. There’s still love there in the hurt. Even if someone did something to hurt you to your core that you HATE them, there is still some love there; you can’t truly hate someone without having truly cared about them at one point. Hating someone is all the pain from love. Love doesn’t die; it just changes forms.
While we were “best friends not forever,” we have since reconnected. Our relationship is not once what it was but bear no resentment, ill will, or regret for what we were. I just acknowledge of the three types of friends that she was a “friend for a reason” and “a season” because from our friendship and its demise, I cherish the memories we made but I also truly learned to value the people I call friends that much more.