There were six of us. Six different personalities, but we all worked. Friends since high school, we were virtually unbreakable — breakfasts every weekend, nights out in the city, parties all Summer, and holidays, not to mention engagements, weddings, divorces, and new babies.
I woke up at my bachelorette weekend to a text that said they had all packed and left. Yes, the five others had left me at my own bachelorette party. The night before, the group decided to explore the club and spend very little time with me. And when I got tired, I looked at my very best friend (who was not part of that group of friends) and said, "I'm tired. Let's go upstairs and order pizza and go to bed."
Three of my other friends came with me, while one stayed behind. Apparently there was some dramatic altercation in their room later that night which I wasn't involved in, but there I was the next morning — left by my "best" friends in Atlantic City.
The shower was awkward. The wedding was awkward. I reached out to try to make plans about a month later — my every-weekend brunch dates were all always busy. About two months into this, while watching an episode of Sex and the City, I sent one final group message that read, "Ladies, I don't know what's going on with us, but I miss you guys."
Not a single reply.
Two days later, I woke up and I was done. I unfriended them on Facebook and Instagram and my then-husband did the same. I don't think they even noticed until we all showed up at the same wedding at the end of that same month. While it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, I realised that I am better and stronger without them. Here are a few things I learned now that they're gone.
- They held me back: I once had some very serious doubts about the man I was planning to marry. When I expressed this to them, they just said, "But we love him!" Not wanting to upset the status quo and truly believing they had some insights into my relationship that I didn't have, I let it go and continued with the wedding. The marriage ended in divorce. It wasn't just with my marriage, though. I had a role to play within the group. It was part of my identity. I don't believe that if I stayed within the group, I would be the woman I am today.
- They alienated my other friends: After the group was gone for a bit, I started hearing stories from other friends about how they would ignore them at parties or functions we had. My other friends would feel so uncomfortable but they stuck around because they loved me. That's true friendship. It could have turned out a lot worse for me.
- You do get lonely: When I was first separated from them, I used to get really lonely. A lot of my friends have gone on to have kids or have moved away. At least with the six of them around, I would have had distractions. However, that's just what it would have been — a distraction.
- You realize how valuable it was — or not: Once I realized that there were certain parts of my life that I couldn't tell them about, I realized that those friendships weren't as deep as I believed them to be. If you can't have friends that can listen to your feelings and stand by your actions — even if they aren't the right ones — then what's the point?
- You're going to come out stronger: It's going to hurt. There will be FOMO. There will be the inevitable Facebook stalking. But just stay strong and remember that you left this group for a reason. (I actually had to tell mutual friends to stop telling me things because I didn't want to know anymore.) You'll move on to find more meaningful friendships: those that push you forward.