Recently, I have had Ariana's latest song "Thank U, Next" on repeat. I love the message of positivity and self-love that it sends. As I listened to it, though, I realized I wasn't exactly connecting it to any of my ex-boyfriend's (I'm still thankful for them, too), but rather my ex-best friends. So, this Thanksgiving, I thought I should show some thanks for what they have taught me and how they have helped me grow.



To the friend who taught me love:

You were once someone I considered a sister. From the moment I met you, we had an indescribable bond that lasted for almost eight years. You showed me what it truly means to have a best friend that is more like family. Towards the end of our high school days, the foundation of our friendship weakened, and life got in the way. I don't want you to ever believe that I am not thankful for all of the years of our friendship. You cried with me when I was heartbroken over the boy who I thought I'd never get over. You fangirled with me over band members we thought we might marry one day. You laughed with me over dumb jokes. Most of all, you were the best friend I ever had. Every day I think about you, and I hope that your life is treating you well. I know after college, you'll be so successful. I only wish the best for you.

To the friend who taught me patience:

We became close at a time in both of our lives where we struggled with mental illness. We fought it together and created a bond out of what we were struggling through. You helped me immensely through that time in my life. You guided me through a toxic relationship, one that came in between our friendship at one point. We lost touch for about a year, but when we reconnected our bond grew even stronger than it was before. You were extremely real with me. You never sugar coated anything, you helped me find closure with a lot in my life. We drifted apart as we made new friends, but I still love to watch you thrive. I will never forget the many football games we went to together, or the late-night talks about what we were struggling with. You helped me on the path to loving and accepting myself, and for that I thank you.

To the friend who taught me pain:

You came into my life in a unique way. We built our friendship through text message, and our bond was something so new and fresh to me at the time. I remember the intense excitement I felt when I finally had the chance to meet you for the first time. You made promises to me that I thought you would keep. I thought you were a forever friend. A few years into our friendship, I could feel you slipping through my fingers. We argued often, you canceled plans at last minute, and I clung onto something that didn't exist anymore. I reminisced on times where we would stay up till the early hours of the morning, texting each other, trying to comprehend how much our friendship meant to one another. Our friendship, that was once so deep and meaningful soon became extremely toxic. We didn't talk for months straight after our last and biggest fight, and once we finally did, you had given up on me. You taught me some of the worst pain I have ever experienced in any friendship. I am so grateful for our friendship because you taught me that I needed to put myself first. You taught me that I needed to be my own best friend.

"I know they say I find new best friends too fast, but this friendship will last, 'cause her name is Emma and I'm so good with that." I am my own best friend, now. I pick myself up when I fall and I grow stronger through my struggles with my own guidance. Each one of my ex-best friends has guided me to become the independent person I am today, and for that, I am so grateful.