Tuesday, May 4

Hey Soul Sister!

(Blog title courtesy of Train)

Recently I met up with a friend for coffee—a person whom I really like and respect and share several things in common with, but for various reasons, only get to see every now and then. A now and then that may only occur once a year or so, but still, I consider this person to be a good friend. And so, in the midst of catching up on all of our news, it wasn’t long before they confessed to a friendship that had recently ended, which prompted me to confess about one of my own.

What struck me the most was how disorienting the experience was for us both. I mean, as two adults it’s obviously not the first time either one of us experienced something like that, since it’s safe to say that anyone who's found their way into adulthood has survived their fair share of friendship break-ups. And yet, somehow I still clung to this idea that once I settled down and became a “grown-up” I’d transition into a never ending stream of dinner parties with a permanent guest list—when, in fact, my experience has been anything but.

Since hitting the road at 19 and living in a variety of places, Mykonos and Manhattan among them, I’ve made and left my fair share of friends. As a flight attendant, it wasn’t uncommon to spend a two-day layover in Venice, Italy with a group of other flight attendants I quickly bonded with, only to arrive back in JFK, head our separate ways, and never see each other again. It was something I became used to. It was part of the job description.

But in real life (as opposed to flight attendant life) it’s not always that simple. In my experience, friendships are way more complicated than that, and I freely admit to feeling relief when certain friendships ended, sadness at some, and complete hair-pulling frustration at others—no two break-ups are alike.

While my friend had no idea why their friendship fizzled, I, on the other hand, knew all too well. And while I know how frustrating it is to not have any answers, as a big believer in the law of attraction, (the rule in which like attracts like), I really do think that sometimes we just stop “clicking” with certain people and there’s not much we can do about it.

Back when I was a far more cynical person (yep, I really was!), I attracted cynical friends. When I changed the way I approached the world and took on a much more positive outlook, those cynical friends faded away, and new, more optimistic ones took their place.

And while that’s not to say that I consider my friendships disposable—nothing could be farther from the truth, as I’m still in touch with a core group of people I’ve known for a very long time—I guess what I’m trying to say is that as much as it may hurt when a friendship goes south—I also think it serves as a pretty good barometer of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we hope to end up.

What about you? Have you ever been surprised by the end of a friendship?

Have a good day everyone!



Sara Z. said...

So weird! I was JUST re-reading my journal from 2004-2005, the year that the closest friendship of my adult life ended. Man, I was SO HURT. I logged all these hurt and angry dreams, feelings of abandonment, etc. When it happened, I was shocked and never could have seen it coming. In retrospect, it all makes sense and was the way it had to be. I wish it had ended on a different note, but we both kind of effed up and didn't leave much room for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

i had a friend last year who almost become a best friend....i dont know what happened. We were so connected it wasnt even funny. summer passed and i always tried to call her but she never picked up. then when school started again she started being a big female dog!!! (i dont know if you guys curse here or not) she was just so mean all of sudden and she totallyswitched gears on what kind of friends she had...she hates me now! but i think it was best because i kind of saw this coming! well...i feel your pain alyson!!

Alyson Noel said...

Sara- It's amazing how something like that can bring out all these feelings you thought you left back in jr high-or at least that's the way it was for me. Retrospect is a Godsend, isn't it?!

Anonymous- Oh, I am so sorry that happened to you, and I think it's even worse when there's no "why" to put behind it. Hang in there!

Unknown said...

How synchronous your post is. I was hanging out with a group of people this weekend, looked around and realized I had nothing in common with 99% of them. Why were we even friends? It's not that any of us are bad people. But we just don't have much to talk about and not much in common. Maybe I was just having an out-of-touch weekend. Who knows.

It's so strange how friendship ebbs and flows.

Alyson Noel said...

Mary- Oh, I've definitely been there! It's strange to be at a party, luncheon, whatever, and suddenly look around and think: What am I doing here?!

Jenna said...

For me, I never really seemed to have any of those really strong friendships up until I hit high school. I ended up having a few of those supposed "best friends" who are more people I connected to cause I needed someone to be there for me, someone who had a thing or two in common with me. And now that I'm going off to college in the fall, everyone is telling me that I might end up breaking off with those friends that I've been the closest to over these past few years. And even though it scares me a bit, I have to admit that they're right. Every so often I just wonder why I am friends with them. And maybe that breaking away from that might be a good thing to do.

Alyson Noel said...

Jenna- Honestly, it'll probably happen. In my own case, I lost touch with most of those people for a number of years, but the ones where there was really a true connection, well, we've managed to find each other again and it's better than ever. Like Mary said, friendships ebb and flow.

I wish you an awesome college experience!


bookaholic said...

People nowadays have become so fickle that practically nothing surprises me now.. I know this is a very pessimistic view but no,I was never 'shocked' by the ending of any friendship...guess I saw them coming!

Monique Cherie said...

heyi have had this happen to my so many times.
I had a group of friends in high school that lasted in to our 20's then one of the friends didnt want any thing to do with me because i treated my other friend like crap, then she caused problems between me and our mutual friend and me and our mutual friend ended up barely speaking, now my self and the mutual friend are better friends then we ever were and we both came to the conclusion that i never did a thing wrong and it was all on her.
with other friends i recently have been having alot of mental health issues causing my general health to suffer and one of the people i considered a life friend told me i was imagining every thing i am going through and should grow up and she didnt have time for me any more.

i personally think that people dont like people that are different. maybe i am wrong maybe im not a very like able person, weather i am or not its thir loss not mine

thanks for blogging alyson

Wendy Toliver said...

I've had three devastating friend break-ups in my life. One in junior high, one in college, and one in my adult life. You're right, no two break-ups are the same. Sometimes I wonder "what if" but usually I just try to convince myself I'm better off without her. It has taught me this important lesson though: The best friends are those who love you for who you are.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Fabulous post, Alyson. I've had my share of ended friendships in my life. Some happen naturally - your lives move in different directions etc - such that the change is so gradual that the relationship is not so much cut off as that one day you notice it's dribbled to nothing. Some endings are more of a lightning strike: you notice the other person no longer returns your calls and won't offer an explanation or you make your own conscious decision to stop seeing someone because something has happened to cause you to realize that the other person is not who you thought they were and the difference between imagined reality and true reality is too big to accommodate.

I think the difficult part - outside of the inherent pain and sense of loss - is that socially we're programmed to deal with romantic breakups. We accept that until there is The One there may be many such breakups and there's a social net in place, in the form of other friends, to help us cope with those when they occur. But you don't go into a friendship, especially not a strong one, expecting that someday you might break up over something. And for the most part, the kind of net that's there for romantic breakups or other big life changes - loss of job, death - simply isn't there for the breakup of a friendship.

Anonymous said...

i know the feeling... my best friend (his a guy- weird i know) we were really close and 1day things just changed.. it was like he never met me and the worse part is his really close to sum1 else.. its just upsetting because we were like brother and sister and than there was a no explanation goodbye

Alicia said...

I can't really remember any friend breakups, but more friendships that have drifted apart, mostly because I'm horrible at staying in touch. I will admit, a few I purposely distanced myself from because these particular friends were so negative all the time, constantly complaining about their lives. I found that the continuous negativity was impacting my life. It was becoming more of a chore to hang out with them. So I gradually ended the friendship.

Alyson Noel said...

Bookaholic- I think we're lucky if we end up with one or two people we can truly count on in life. Some of my friend break-ups I saw coming, some not, but it always shakes me up a bit no matter what.

Monique- I agree that we're drawn to those who are most like us in outlook, interests, etc. Law of attraction again! :)

Wendy- Agreed. And you are better off with out them, when it stops working, there's just nothing you can do about it.

Lauren- Amen! And I love this line: the difference between imagined reality and true reality is too big to accommodate--so true!

Anonymous- Oh, I've had some really close guy friends--they are some of my most cherished friendships, and I know how hard that must be for you. Hang in there! :)

Alicia- Nothing wrong with distancing yourself from toxic, negative people who drag you down--I've definitely done the same in the name of sanity/self-preservation!

Sara Hantz said...

Most of my friend breakups have happened naturally when I've moved away (or they have). I still have one friend from school - but we only see each other every two or three years, when I go back to UK. My best friends these days tend to be writers, and the majority of interaction takes place online....

Alyson Noel said...

Sara- Most of my interaction is online too, which is nice because I hate talking on the phone, but also sometimes a bit said, since it tends to replace the actual face time!

Emma said...

Oh I have definitely been there. I remember just last year I had sooooooooo many close and trusting bff's. But then when I saw them this year, I was like "Wow, they look really different, but it doesn't matter what they look like. It's what's on the inside, etc." So I went over to say hi and to catch up with them. When I was walking over, they quickly glanced at me and then turned around! I was like, ummmm what are they doing? Cause I knew they saw me. So I just ran up to them and joined the circle and then they totally ignored me! So I said, "hey Alcie how are ya doing? She just turned her head and flicked her newly dyed blond hair. I grabbed her by the shoulder to turn her around and said" okay Alcie, what the heck are you doing? Why are you ignoring me?"
Alcie bit down on her lower lip "Sorry Em, it's just that, well I don't think we should be friends anymore. It's just not meant to be. I just that, well I made some new friends and well, they're just cooler and......" She just trailed off when she noticed the look that I was giving her. "Thanks Alcie, thanks" I just walked away then. I was so hurt. Then I ran to the bathroom and balled my eyes out. School started out sooooooooo rough for me :( Thanks for listening :)


Alyson Noel said...

Emma- Please know you have my sympathies-that sort of thing is just AWFUL and I know how much it hurts--I actually wrote about that same situation in KISS & BLOG--and writing it brought up my own similar experiences. I hope you know that things WILL get better (if they haven't already). You deserve REAL friends who like the real you and treat you with the respect you deserve. Hang in there--and thanks so much for sharing your experience!

Amanda Ashby said...

I got dumped by a really close friend TWICE. Once in my twenties and then again in my thirties. The first time I put it down to her going through some bad stuff and that perhaps I hadn't been there enough for her. But when I saw the signs the second time I finally realized that's just what she does (and by then I knew it was what she did to other people as well). It is still probably one of the saddest things that has ever happened to me, and if it was my decision we would've still been friends because she was a really amazing person.

Alyson Noel said...

Amanda- You're such an amazing person, it's hard for me to imagine, but boy have I been there, twice by the same person, just like you! I like to think that I'm better off, and I know you are too! :)

Melissa Walker said...

Such a great topic that obviously resonates with everyone! I had a heartbreaking college-friend breakup that I still ache over when I let myself think too much about it.

I really like your spin, though, Alyson. I'm in a very different place now, and maybe that breakup helped me get here. It's a good spot.

Thanks everyone for sharing--I feel less alone just from these comments!

Jordan Brooks said...

Wow! I'm only 14 and I know I have many more of these friendship break-up's to come. But I just expercienced one actually. I had one BEST friend. For about three years, we did everything together. We would always go to each others house, everything. Then, at the beginning of 8th grade, one of us changed. At first I thought it was me, and it partially was. Because I go to a small school, everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone. Because we were all getting older, we were facing the pressures of sex. For me it was a scary thing. The person who I thought was my best friend, gave in. At the age of 13. I cried, for her. I knew she was going to regret it. I tried to talk to her about it, but she always seemed to brush me aside. I was no longer in the "in" crowd. I was losing her slowly. She would always tell me how much "fun" it was. She wouldn't stop. Her weekends with me became weekends to see how many people she could hook up with. Things WEREN'T the same. I'm almost done with my freshman year now. I just got the strength, not to long ago, to tell her that either she would have to stop what she was doing, or our friendship was officially over. That was the hardest thing in the world to say to her. She was my best friend. You know what she told me ? These were her exact words "The sex I have is a million times better then our friendship was or can ever be" You don't even understand how heartbroken I was. I still really haven't gotten over her saying that. She told me that about two months ago when I confronted her. I made a promise to myself when I started facing the pressure, that I was not going to have sex until marriage. Let me tell you, it's a hard promise to keep. But I know it's going to be so worth it. I guess we just chose opposite ways, and mine is for the better. Although she hurt me a million times more than she knows. I still love her will all my heart and only wish the best for her.


Alyson Noel said...

Jordan- Wow. I am so very sorry that happened to you, I can't imagine how much that hurt. There are so many choices and changes once you enter the teen years, that these kind of friendship break up aren't all that uncommon--but that still doesn't make it hurt any less, I know.

I hope you realize that your friends words are really more about her, than about you. People who are happy and feel good about themselves do NOT lash out at other people. People who are happy and feel good about themselves want everyone around them to feel happy too.

While I truly am sorry for your friend, at this point in your life, at every point in your life really, you owe it to yourself to be around people who inspire you, not people who drag you down and make you feel bad.

Your sending her love and wishing her the best is such a kind thing to do, maybe someday she will recognize what a good friend you are, and if not, you can still wish her well, regardless.

I wish you all the best--and hope you're able to feel better soon!

Peace-love-and Joy- to you!


Jordan Brooks said...


Thank you so much! I love being able to connect, and talk to authors like you. (Although, I must say that that just put me in tears, not because of you though. Just remember the situation in general)

It's funny. To me, highschool is... DREADFUL! I hate it. But to my friends and everyone I got to school with, I'm the good one. They all know that I'm not going to give in to anything. I'm strong enough for that. Being that person is SUPER hard! I'm always the person doing the right thing. Ill get in a stupid fight with a friend because THEY did something wrong, and I'm the one always saying sorry. All my friends call me "mom" They feel they have to run things by me.

I'm the girl that sits in the back row. I'm super quiet, am on the honor roll, and is always reading a book. It's nice to know that to other people I'm more than that you know? I'm the one they can look to if they need help. The only problem is that when things happen to me, like my current situation) I've got no one, you know? So I've had to learn to take my own advice. Being the one that doesn't give in is hard! Very hard. I appreciate you taking time to read what I have to say. It means the world to me!


P.S. Meeting authors like you is my dream!

Alyson Noel said...

Jordan- I can relate. You heard my story & so you know that I felt the same way about high school. Because of my situation I had a hard time relating to most of my peers, and though my attendance took a major nose dive during my junior & senior years, I chose not to make some of the other risky choices as the rest of my friends. One of the hardest things to do is to be yourself and stay true to yourself--but in the end, it's totally worth it.
Hang in there Jordan, you can't believe how much better it will get!

Dax said...

It's so weird, I never talk to anyone, not even my closest friends really about....well anything. And right now I have this friend and well I had thought of her as my best friend, but there is this boy that is one of my best friends. I can tell him anything, without any judgement, anything. And I have liked him for 2 years. So awhile back ago, we finally started going out. That's when things started going kind of down-hill with our friendship. I don't know, she is supposed to be a total Jesus-freak to be honest. She brought me back into the faith. And well she is a total hypocrite. I mean she always talks about acceptance and love. Well I see the exact opposite from her, she is so mean to him, for no reason (she ever said so herself!), no only that but she judges our relationship for no reason also. And time and time again I tried to work things out, I broke up with him, ignored him, made fun of him with her and none of it was ever good enough. It's just like, "What more do you want from me?" *sigh* I had been taking this crap for 6 monthes, also him too, and niether of us have said anything. I am not all boy-crazy either, and I do not ignore my friends to spend time with him. Not only that, but she rubs things such as grades (she is an A+ student) in my face. Which to be honest, I am always watching my 3 and 5 year old sister and brother. I don't have the time to be making such good grades. *sigh* Well I finally told her off, and to be honest it lasted only for 3 minutes. She said "sorry" though I'm not quite sure if she meant it or not. So now I'm not sure where we are anymore. *sigh* Life is frustrating.
P.S. Sorry for such a long message!!!

Anonymous said...

one day i was sitting at my piano playing and then i heard a buzzing sound and it was my phone i answered it and it was my best friend. she as is we could talk and of course i said yes. she told me that she started cutting her self and recently tried some kind of drug with her BF. i started bursting out crying cause i love her like a sister and never saw this coming. i asked her why and she said idk...
what should i say? what should i do?