My close friend Sorrah and I broke up this past week. I wrote about him several months ago, where I described him as one of the few men I ever trusted. Despite how our friendship has ended, I still feel grateful for the time we shared together and all that we meant to each other.
I will always value his way of seeing the world beyond superficial markers of success like awards or prizes, his concern for community, his love for words and breaking down binaries. I will always cherish the support we gave one another, how he helped me find my first apartment, how I saw him grow so much into a more committed, stable person when our friendship first started at our college’s writing center. I know that we have touched each other in deep ways, and I will always care about him, like a brother I just grew away from.
We did grow apart. I want to respect his privacy, so I will just say that his needs and values shifted, and we grew less compatible. I felt afraid he would continue to deprioritize me. He did not want to shift his priorities. So, I broke up with him.
I think society reserves break ups for romantic relationships because we value those more. For friendship, people often just ghost each other, or the bonds of friendship sever more due to the slow passing of time than any overt intention. I have some of those less intense friendships too, the friendships that persist through meaningful and compassionate meetups that occur once every few weeks or months. Others, though, like the one I had with Sorrah, carry more intensity, almost akin to a romantic relationship, minus the patriarchal over-glorification, or a familial relationship. I loved him.
I feel a slight sadness that our friendship has finished. At the same time, I feel so free, like a red-headed woodpecker flying into the light. I feel free to focus on my other close friendships where the emotional labor and care feel reciprocal, to focus on my hobbies, to focus on myself. When I close my eyes and breathe, I hear the tune of Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next”, and I feel immense gratitude for all Sorrah taught me. And then, I hear whispers of BlackPink’s “Ddu-du Ddu-du” and “Boombayah,” and I feel empowered to prioritize the people who will prioritize me. I feel empowered to prioritize those friends. I feel empowered to prioritize myself.
How have you dealt with friend breakups or breakups of any kind, or the end of friendships? While this breakup feels pretty wholesome and smooth to me, I have definitely had friendships in the past that ended in messier ways
like one friend who said I felt too angry toward people who voted for Donald Trump okay any way. Hope everyone who reads this is well and because I turn 24 next week – omg I feel so old yikes – I already have a posted planned for next weekend or so, so, until then.