An Ode to Lost Friendships

The pain of parting may never fully heal, but have faith that the future will bring many new relationships.


photo by Somya Thakur

Friendships are often things we cherish, but letting them go is the hardest part.

Somya Thakur, Social Media Director

We lose friends for a variety of reasons — people move, you get into fights, life gets crazy. No matter the reason, we all know what it’s like to lose a friend. In a way, it’s almost like a breakup. You find yourself moping around. You want to text them or send them memes that may relate to an inside joke, but you realize you can’t because you’re no longer friends.

I recently lost a couple of friendships that I had for almost all of my high school life. At first, we had tried to fix things, but it took me a while to realize how much we had changed. It was then that I realized that things were beyond fixing and beyond mending. I would often find myself thinking back to the days when we would hang out and get way too emotional for my liking. I would repeatedly go back to try to find out where it all went wrong, which would only lead to digging myself deeper into the pit of despair. Thinking back, there were definitely times where I should have spoke up and said something rather than keeping things to myself.

You know how the recollection of events in our past can bring forth so much emotion that the mental image is burned into your brain? You remember every detail, all the feelings you felt at that moment — and no matter how hard you try to forget it, you never can. I feel that every time I remember something fun we had done together. I feel that way when I drive past places where we had previously hung out. And I feel that way when I’m in a class with them.

You never feel the need to impress true friends because they already know who you are. You can simply be yourself around them.”

I often find myself overthinking the loss of friendships or trying to make stupid connections in an attempt to rationalize. I don’t know if anyone else thinks of friends like investments, but I do. But before you call me out for comparing friendships to cold hard number, let me explain. When you’re friends with people for over three years, you invest your time into creating a better relationship with them. And in return for investing your time, you gain people who care about you and make amazing memories with you.

Nothing better exemplifies this feeling of being understood than when I mentioned my friendship problems to a senior friend of mine. They told me to go back in my English binder and re-read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on friendship. Never in my life did I think that an essay written 100 years ago could relate to me more than a meme or anything else currently popular. We had read the essay for homework, but at the time, it was Halloween and I had passively read it.

Looking further into the essay, I saw how Emerson emphasized that when two people meet who think alike, they not only grow intellectually but also spiritually through their friendship. It’s through friendship that we learn to really admire others and feel a sense of pride for them. You never feel the need to impress these people because they already know who you are. You can simply be yourself around them.

Something I have learned through this experience is that the people whom I haven’t talked to a lot were reaching out to me and offering to hang out with me. These were people that I had talked to, but never in depth, and it amazed me how much they actually cared for me and were even willing to include me into their friend group.

I honestly hope to work things out because I don’t want to lose my investment. But, at the same time, I feel as if I should just let it go and start over. I should let myself feel these feelings. There are so many times when our past comes up and we just want to push it away, but it’s important to feel. If you miss someone, let yourself just miss them, and just think to yourself, “Wow, I really miss them, but it’s over for a reason.” Ultimately, I’m going to lose a lot of friends in my life, but more importantly, I’m also going to gain a lot of other friends and experiences.

As Emerson writes, “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”