Lifetime friendships are solid gold. My mother, Esther, had an enduring bond with Lucille, her best bud from high school. The special relationship they shared continued until my mother’s passing at the age of 95. The friendship evolved through life’s cyclicals of births, marriages, endless worries, exhilarating joys, divorces, then finally–death.
The end of a friendship
The bond was broken…
As I reflect on the demise of my friendship with Belinda, I am reminded of a particular article I read on the website, refinery29.com, that discussed friendships and why it isn’t the end of the world when they end. The writer asserts, When you break up with a friend – suddenly, stealthily, loudly, or slowly – we should mourn like we do when a romantic relationship ends. Eat a tub of Ben & Jerry’s… sob in your therapist’s office…do whatever it is that helps you cope and move on.
Do I mourn the loss of my friendship with Belinda? I was more shocked at how the friendship dissolved. I have no guilt feelings. But I have come to realize that when there is no more growth, it’s time to shift gears. Perhaps, one day our hurts will heal and my relationship with Belinda can once again flourish. In the meantime, I will treasure our long talks, our consolations, our laughs, our good times, and be especially grateful for Belinda’s caring and boundless generosity. I will always cherish the memories.
The dynamics of a friendship
Here is a compilation of friendships that I have encountered.
The narcissistic friend
My high school friend, Sarah, was too self-absorbed. The world revolved around her. Sarah’s selfishness had become overbearing. And if she attempted to be supportive, it was always fake. She needed me to fuel her self-esteem and her tank seemed endless! Sarah lacked empathy so there was always zero validation of my needs. The relationship taxed my emotional being, it had all the elements of an unhealthy dynamic. I had to cut Sarah out of my life.
The one-sided friend
In a one-sided friendship, one person often initiates all communication while the other person is unresponsive or shows a lack of interest. Taking without giving back can lead to resentment and frustration in the long run, and it can damage the friendship irreparably. If one person is always taking, it’s difficult for the relationship to be balanced and healthy. During my college years, Mona was always on the receiving end. I was always the one phoning her. Rarely, if ever, did she call me. She made no real effort to contribute to our friendship.
Mona and I were friends during a time when only phone calls or mail connected folks. There were no texts, emails, or social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. After tirelessly always being the one to reach out, I finally discontinued my phone calls to Mona.
Sadly, I discovered that Mona had transitioned a few years ago. There was a reason why we played a part in each other’s lives. Shortly before her passing, we had reconnected at an event. We both learned to bury the hatchet. We knew we weren’t going to be close friends again. However, we expunged all the negative thoughts we once had and accepted that the past is the past. RIP, Mona.
The back together again friend
It is fine for a friendship to experience ebbs and flows.
Ariel and I had a falling out for several years. Well, our paths crossed once again at a funeral. Oddly enough, for the living, attending a funeral can sometimes be a place for connection and healing. The flow of friendship harmony had simply been lying dormant and my relationship with Ariel reignited. We knew our past grievances would only hinder the progress of rebuilding the friendship.
Thankfully, Ariel and I are moving forward in a great direction and we are friends once again.
The ex-friend befriends a family member
Paula and I had a falling out – and to this day, I’m not exactly sure what caused it. Since then, we have not reconnected. Interestingly enough, Paula and one of my sons have become good buddies. My son is not violating a friendship rule. He is grown and I certainly don’t have the right to approve his friends, so, he can carry on! I wish the friendship well.
The til the end friend
The warmth and companionship that a good friend can provide is unmatched. In troubled times, we need that special friend to whom we can unburden our hearts. There is one amazing brotherhood that has sustained an alliance throughout time.
In the documentary, Hitsville: The Making of Motown, the two major OGs responsible for the historical record label’s feelgood sound: founder Berry Gordy and producer, songwriter, and artist Smokey Robinson. Witnessing the genuine soul brother bond of Berry and Smokey is heartwarming. You can clearly sense their reciprocal love, admiration, and unwavering respect.
The celebration of friendship has not escaped Hollywood. Numerous films have captured kindred spirits like Girls Trip, Waiting to Exhale, Cooley High and Set It Off. Friendships should never be taken for granted. They are priceless.
A good friend is a life connection—a link to the past and future, the key to sanity in an absolutely insane world. The kind of til the end friendship that Berry and Smokey have is one that I applaud. One of the best feelings is to have a ride-or-die bond with a person on your same wavelength.
It is said that a friend is a gift you give to yourself.
You are your own best friend
A true friendship is like an asset, it involves years of investment. A friendship holds history in your heart. As I have illustrated, not all friendships are meant to last. And even some like the relationship I share with Ariel, bounce back. I do treasure all of my friend connections. It is important to value the moments in life because you never know.
During my late teens, I purchased a bestselling book, How to Be Your Own Best Friend by Mildred Newman and Bernard Berkowitz. The book enlightened me on the power of becoming my authentic self. The scant 59-page read contained powerful nuggets. One key life lesson for me that still upholds some 50 years later: Be my own best friend and I will have a friend for life.