Opinion: The worst break up of all

Is the death of a friendship the worst break up of all?

There’s been a tonne of songs written about romantic love and breakups. If you turn on the radio at any time of the day or night, you’ll be sure to hear people singing about how they’d like to get someone into bed or what happens when that same bed gets cold. But somehow, inexplicably, few people have been willing to tackle one of the worst breakups of all: the death of a friendship.

I remember one of my first and only friendship breakups quite a few years ago. One day, out of the blue, she just stopped answering my messages. Not understanding what had happened or what was going on, I kept up a one-sided conversation for months. I didn’t want her to think that I didn’t care or that I had given up on her friendship, even though it was clear that she had. It was months of me going through our last few interactions to try to see what had happened. I became an obsessed archaeologist sifting through the bones of the relationship desperately seeking answers. After some time had passed, she finally deigned to set up a meeting. I showed up there feeling like a murderer waiting for her court sentence to be read out. I was finally going to get some merciful closure. It turned out that her new boyfriend just didn’t approve of me, and instead of her sending him where the sun don’t shine, I got dumped instead.

In our parents’ time, such decisions were extremely common, everyone paired off forsaking all others that came before the relationship, got married, and began building their own families. I can’t even count the number of Maltese expressions that basically tell you not to trust those outside your front door. However, as society continues to change, and people are waking up to the fact that they don’t necessarily have to put up with their families just because they’re related to them, more and more people are building chosen families out of their friends.

If you are having trouble with a friend or you’re perhaps not sure what their latest words or actions mean, I would kindly suggest that you speak to them before removing the rug from under their feet. Communication truly is key in these things, and you never know what’s going on with someone unless you bother to ask. Unless there are underlying issues to begin with, most of the time it’s probably not even about you. Not speaking about things and ghosting people because you don’t have the courage to say things as they are only leads to trauma and anxiety, and we could all do with less of that.

And to all those singers and songwriters out there, start writing those friendship breakup songs. We need something good to cry to.

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