Growing Pains

7 Oct

I’ve had this post in my draft section since I started this blog, but wasn’t really sure how to write it.  Or if I even wanted to.  But the longer it sat there and stared at me, the more I wanted to write it. 

Anyway, I’ll get to the point.  So, I have this friend.  A girl who has been my friend since we were 11 years old.  We were best friends.  During the summers we’d spend all day together, and we would even go on vacations with each other’s families.  We learned to drive together, got over first boyfriends together, helped each other through family issues and had sleepovers most weekends.  We did everything together.  She would even come over to my house every morning before school so that we could talk about what to wear.  She would make fun of me for still watching cartoons well into my teenage years.  But I didn’t care if she knew, she was my best friend.  She knew more about me than anyone else, and I felt the same about her. 

Once college came around, she decided to stay in Texas, and I decided to go to Boston.  But, it didn’t matter.  We stayed very close and would visit each other every year, and would talk on IM (remember IM??) and we maintained our close friendship.  We did have big fights though. I think partially because we could feel the growing pains and some distance forming between us.  It was hard to see your best friend get cozy with someone else, and start to share secrets with someone else when you were their go-to person.  But, we always moved beyond them.  It was like fighting with a sibling. 

Then bigger things started happening like buying houses, getting married, attending graduate school, etc.   At this point we started to grow further and further apart.  The closeness we had just wasn’t there anymore.  There wasn’t a big fight or anything, we just kept growing apart and not sharing things about our lives with one another anymore.   I stopped sharing with her because I felt judged.  This was so different from the girl I knew when we were kids.  She stopped sharing because she said after you get married you share things with your husband.   But, that wasn’t the girl I knew at all.  The problem was that we both still maintained the title of “best friends” though it wasn’t true.  I felt like I didn’t know who she was anymore, and maybe she felt the same way about me. 

What makes this really hard though is that I know she’s sad that we aren’t close.  I can tell.  And, I feel like I’m being a huge jerk.  But, we’ve had multiple talks about our relationship, and I’ve told her again and again that you can’t be close with someone you know nothing about; someone that won’t share anything with you.  But things just haven’t changed.  We go out for happy hour or lunch and we have superficial conversation, and then we go our separate ways until the next outing.  I find myself saying things I don’t even feel or mean because we have such a “fake” relationship now. 

Having this fake relationship makes me sad.   How did we go from sharing everything to being complete strangers?

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13 Responses to “Growing Pains”

  1. Becca 10/08/2010 at 3:00 am #

    It’s so difficult to grow apart from someone. I went through a similar situation with my best friend from school, but being quite a confrontational person, after trying to talk what felt like a million times, I told her I couldn’t handle it any more and cut all contact.

    We started speaking again two years ago – she’s now married with a young daughter. It has been awkward, and new, and emotional, but we’re on the road to recovery.

    This may not be the suitable approach for every situation, but sometimes people need a shake-up before they can take action. I hope that things get better. xx

    • kelsey@mintedlife 10/08/2010 at 6:55 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate that other people get what I’m talking about.

  2. Mina 10/08/2010 at 7:53 am #

    oh, that’s tough. growing apart is sad, but the unwillingness to let it go or make changes creates a lot of discomfort and stress. i’m sorry i don’t have any advice, but i do hope it gets better.

  3. Jessica 10/08/2010 at 8:30 am #

    I think you’ll find that a lot of your readers have gone through the same thing. When I was in 6th grade, I went over to E’s house every day after school and we walked around the neighborhood and just talked and talked. We remained besties after I moved from VT to VA but things aren’t the same.

    We grew apart, had different goals and I sometimes sense she is jealous that I’m married and she still doesn’t have a steady boyfriend. It’s hard to maintain a friendship when your totally different people than you used to be.

    • kelsey@mintedlife 10/08/2010 at 6:55 pm #

      So true! I think it’s so hard when what you had in common just isn’t there anymore.

  4. Jennifer 10/08/2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Its so hard! I just went through this with my best friend from college. We just grew apart – no falling out no “words” were had. She married a man with a child and health issues and her life was very wrapped up in that (understandably) and I was getting married. She took it much harder than me. I thought it was just the natural progression but she kept trying to force the situation and now we have completely lost touch. I think of her fondly but I just don’t have a place for her in my life.

    • kelsey@mintedlife 10/08/2010 at 6:56 pm #

      Ugh, it’s just so hard when you know that they’re sad. It makes me feel bad, but I totally get what you’re saying.

  5. Amy 10/08/2010 at 3:47 pm #

    I’ve been in similar situations. Sometimes you have to appreciate the memory of the close relationship you had back in the day. It’s hard though.

  6. N. 10/12/2010 at 5:21 am #

    I can totally relate to what you wrote. My best friend and I had a big fall out three years ago. We had been friends for more than 10 years when it happened and I never truly recovered. He wasn’t there when I graduated, found my first job, when my dad got really sick or when I finally moved out of my parents’ home, got engaged, got married etc…What hurts the most is that little by little, all this has ruined the good memories of him I had…I hope you can work it out or find a way out of this without being hurt too much

  7. Victoria 10/15/2010 at 9:42 pm #

    I actually felt like you stole this right out of my draft! I am in the exact same situation. Best friend moved to SC, I stayed here. we made a “pact” when we were younger to always be best friends and each other MOH. now we are at that stage and we both feel “obligated” to maintain that fairytale friendship and we barely even talk anymore. Its hard. you are def not in the boat alone.

  8. Meghan 11/03/2010 at 9:43 am #

    Wow, you’re talking about my life right now. Best friend from childhood, go to different schools, get married, and now it’s just awkward. And sad. And I do that same date thing, where I just make small talk because I don’t know what to say anymore. It’s hard, and I know she’s hurting, but what can you do? I guess we all just grow out of some relationships.

    -Meghan

  9. Melissa 11/03/2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I have just gone through the same thing with my best friend and we’ve barely spoken in 4 months. Nothing happened, we just are not close anymore.

    I always felt judged by her and grew to think she was narrow-minded and I stopped sharing things with her. She stopped sharing things with me, and our relationship because very superficial.

    I decided to just let the friendship go. It stressed me out, and I decided that just because we had been friends since the 7th grade, doesn’t mean we need to continue to be.

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one in this situation.

  10. LadyJ 11/10/2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I know this is a little old, but I had to comment – again, I feel this was written about my own life.

    I have a friend, we were very close in high school, and life has taken us in two very different directions. We still touch base about 1-2 times a week; and although we are both married with children, she still references high school and the things we used to do with regularity. I’m all for laughing at memories, but it’s as if she hasn’t been able to grow up and mature from it.

    She refuses to accept the fact I am married, and have a child of my own. She still thinks I’m the 17 year old girl she met in history class. I have lived in my own house with my husband for 5 years, and she still insists upon calling for me and “stopping by to see me” at my mother’s house (where I have not lived since senior year of high school)

    She does not accept that I have grown up, have matured, and have added a number of new friends, new hobbies, and new priorities. To her, we should still be waiting at the bus stop together and pulling all nighters with our homework.

    It’s hard to distance yourself from someone like this. I feel sad that these memories is all she has of her happier days (not my story to tell, but she has a very unhappy marriage) but I also find it difficult to be expected to reminisce about our crazy high school adventures at every turn, every phone call, every topic, every conversation.

    In terms of her marriage, I have tried being very supportive, offered help, suggested counselling, and I am always, always put off with a comment such as, “it’s okay, let’s go get cookies in the cafeteria” – no joke.

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