Growing apart from a friend is a different kind of loss. With a breakup, often it’s a quick stab to the chest and then you’re forced to face reality. One of you essentially said, “It’s over.” and you were forced to understand that. When you lose a friend it’s a slow, confusing process of watching a connection slip through your fingers. It’s useless grasping, reaching out trying to pull them back. Often you don’t even realize it’s happening. One day you see something on social media, or hear some life-changing news and realize you weren’t included. One day you see a person in photographs and in passing that you realize is a stranger. You realize you’re millions of miles away from up-all-night sleepovers. That’s the hardest concept to comprehend. Suddenly you feel like you wish somewhere actually said it was over, at least that would bring you some kind of solace.
I know how it feels. We all do. I see photos of girls I used to hold when they laughed and cried, turned into women, wives and mothers I wouldn’t hardly recognize. I have run into people in public, or while visiting home at the local bar, and exchanged that kind of awkward conversation that can only come from pretending you didn’t use to know the deepest corners of each other’s hearts. It’s something we try to forget, because if we carried that feeling of abandonment and disappointment with us everywhere, we wouldn’t survive. We can’t feel everything forever, so we have to let go. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes that’s reality, but other times it’s not, and if you are searching for an answer to this question maybe it’s not.
Listen to your heart. If you are feeling the kind of hurting that can only come from becoming strangers with someone you care so deeply about, tell them. If you don’t, years will pass by and they will become that person on social media or at the grocery store that you wave at, shoving emotions away. Time sneaks up on you and insists upon waging distance in between you and the people you love. If you care about a friend, don’t lose them. Reach out and reconnect. There are too many strangers in this world, and only we get to decide how many.