This has been sitting in my drafts for two weeks.
I've spent the last two years of my life trying to stop dwelling on the past and enjoying the time I have now (because that's what Ferris Bueller would want me to do). That's why this is so hard to write. Part of me doesn't want to reckon with lost friendships because I've spent so much time thinking about them already. Still, I'm about to do what I do best: overshare on the internet.
This post exists solely because my friend asked what to do after her friends left her and started talking about her behind her back. I've been on both sides of that situation, and you probably have too. No one comes out better for it.
I've lost touch with a few people, which is pretty normal for high school. Sometimes it was as simple as us not having any classes together. Other times, it's because I was more emotionally available for them than they were for me. Every time, though, it stings thinking about how drastically our friendship changed.
I used to blame it all on the other person. I couldn't fathom myself as part of the problem. Maybe it was just typical 14-15 year old arrogance, but it lead to certain people taking up too much real estate in my head.
I knew deep down that friendships don't just die because of one person, and at some point I would have to be real with myself. I decided that freshman and sophomore year would not be it. I hung on to bitterness for people that didn't deserve it, and it only made me feel worse.
The summer going into junior year, I realized that my hanging on to two failed friendships was impacting my relationship with the friends I did have. That's when I knew I had to deal with my feelings. I realized that I had trouble letting go of certain people because I knew I hadn't done my part in keeping the friendship alive, either.
I wish I could tell you I got closure, but I really didn't. While I'm friendly with those people again, I know that we'll never be as close as we were. I also know that we'll never have the talk I so desperately want to have. And that's okay.
I learned to appreciate the memories I had with my old friends while it lasted, I learned to be happy for people even when I wasn't a part of their life anymore, and I learned to focus on the many healthy relationships I do have.
I do still think about some of the people I used to call my friends, but there's more nostalgia than bitterness there now.
So what do you do if your friends leave you and talk about you behind your back? Some serious self-reflection, first of all. Then you take a look at the friends you do have. Put your love and energy towards those people; focus on fostering meaningful relationships. It's easy to fall into a self-pity spiral, but in the end you'll only push the people still close to you away.
It's not easy to let go, especially when you have no closure, but you'll be a better person if you try to. If this was a YA novel, I'd tell you my ex-friends and I talked everything out and we're super close now. Unfortunately, these words come from a teenager in North Jersey, not Meg Cabot. A big part of growing up is learning to be okay with bittersweet (or just bitter) endings and growing from them.
Honestly, I didn't know where this article was going when I wrote it, and I hope it's somewhat cohesive right now. I just wanted to get this out because it's been intimidating me in my drafts for 14 days.
I have prom tomorrow, which means I have to go shave my legs instead of elaborate, but if you want to talk about anything in here, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@sneyuh).