Tuesday, March 20, 2012

let's just (not) be friends

The other night, after an impromptu dinner of soup dumplings and Shanghai noodles, my friend Adam and I sat talking in my car in front of his apartment. I had been telling him about a close friendship of mine that had abruptly ended last year, and he shared a similar story of a friend of his, who, after too many ignored voicemails and last-minute cancellations, he found himself "breaking up" with. It got me thinking about how little we talk about this particular brand of relationship ending.

It's a funny thing, ending a friendship. Books, songs and poetry are constantly being written about the end of romantic unions--the universally understood heartbreak of the severing of a bond between two people who used to (or, in some cases, still do) love each other, yet there seems to be less discussion of what happens when two people who aren't sleeping together decide to end their relationship. But in my experience, while there is perhaps less oxytocin involved and fewer belongings to divide, the ending of any kind of intimacy hurts--and continues to sting, even as both parties move on.

The over-saturation of social media in our daily lives surely contributes to its magnitude. Just as I feel little pangs of melancholy when I see the goings-on of former boyfriends in my Facebook newsfeed, my old friend's updates fill me with a rush of longing, sadness and guilt. As time goes on, it fades more and more quickly, but it is undoubtedly real.

And just as with the ending of most romantic relationships, I know that it was probably for the best. But that doesn't mean it was easy, and it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

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