Ryan Shepard
About Author
April 6, 2022

Let's Talk About Friendship Break Ups

One of the things I've felt least prepared for in my life is the loss of a friendship. When I was a teenager and dating, I always knew that a break up with a boyfriend was not only likely but inevitable. I never thought that my friends and I would go through it too. I'm 35 years old now and I've gone through 3 friend break ups. Not all of them have been permanent. For a time after college, Nola's godmother and I fell out and didn't speak for years. In our early 20s we found each other again and while there have certainly been moments, we've tried very, very hard to show each other how important our relationship is to us.

I've also reconnected with a friend from high school recently and we've been slowly but intentionally rebuilding our connection thanks in large part to the fact that we have daughters that are about 2 months apart in age. All that to say, I know that friendships go through seasons and not all break ups are permanent but sometimes you get to a point in your life where you realize that you've changed, your friend has changed (or hasn't) and your boundaries and capacity for them in your life have changed.

I've had one major romantic break up in my life and it fucking sucked. I cried all day every day for year. I would still rather go through that then the feeling of losing a deep friendship but...sometimes shit happens. I have put so much energy and pride into building my sisterhood circle. In my 20s, they were all I had and even on my wedding day, they were a big part of my vows. I basically told my Shep that I loved him and all, but I was already married to the women who were lined up in pretty dresses behind me and I meant every word. My girls and I have been through some shit together--unemployment, underemployment, sexual harassment, abuse, divorce, cancer scares, abortions, suicide attempts, massive break-ups...you name it we've faced it together. Sadly, sometimes all that history isn't enough to hold you together in the future.

It all used to be so much easier right? It used to be that you'd see each other on campus all the time or after work for happy hours or hop on a flight for an annual #girlstrip, but now we're older and everything is harder. Life is harder. Everyones load seems heavier and the pandemic hasn't made it better. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don't have the same space to be who I was before I had a baby to my friends. There are ways that I just can't show up for them any longer because being Nola's mom takes up so much of my focus. That's not to say that I've dropped the ball on maintaining our relationship, just that I have zero patience for things that maybe I otherwise would.

We're all entitled to grow and change and with that comes the fact that sometimes, you outgrow people or find that the ways they've changed no longer fit in with your life and that's ok. A friendship break up doesn't have to mean that there is bad blood. I despise meanness, it's one of the worst qualities any person can have and a break up with a friend should never, EVER get mean.

That's being said, at the end of the day, you've got to do what you've got to do to protect your peace. Life is fucking short man. You deserve to be happy, feel supported and be surrounded by people who want to see the best in you. Sadly, if your friend is no longer someone who participates in and helps to elevate your life, they need to go. It's hard but it's okay. I truly believe that the right people will find you when you live in your truth and act in love and authenticity. Until then, I'll be cheering you on as you walk in your purpose and demand the support and respect from the friendships you deserve.

You got this girl.

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