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Healing from a Broken Friendship

I picked up my phone earlier this week only to hear my friend from the Midwest at the other end of the line in tears. Her best mommy friend dumped her. She found out about it via social media. Her friend had a party and posted pics of it on Facebook. My friend did not receive an invitation. For those of us who know my friend well, we saw the slow drift apart happening, but for my dear friend this came as quite a shock. Friendships can be the source of great joy but also deep pain. As parents we often have to help our children navigate their feelings with regards to their evolving friendships but it can be just as hard for parents to adjust to the change in our friendships especially when children come into the picture. For moms who make the transition from the working world to being a stay-at-home mom, many times you lose touch with your office friends. They're so busy planning for the next meeting or presentation while you're busy wiping spit-up off of your clothes or changing another dirty diaper. Sometimes a major life change impacts even the best of intentions. The quest then becomes to find a mommy friend or two. You strike up conversations with other mothers at the park, pediatrician's office, or at a mommy-and-me tumbling class. If the other mom has children the same age who get along with yours, and if your parenting styles are similar, it can feel like you've hit the mommy friend jackpot. Sometimes however that can change too. Years ago I met a mom through a mother's group. Our friendship grew as our children's relationship grew. Our kiddos had relatively the same temperament and we enjoyed each other's company. We hung out often during the week, took day trips together, and had many wonderful mommies nights out. It was the kind of relationship so many moms desire. Unfortunately a situation with another mutual friend of ours strained our relationship. The weekly get togethers, texts, and FB messages became fewer. Eventually my texts and invitations to her were met with, "I'll get back to you" or worse yet, complete silence. At first, I tried to make excuses for her especially when it came to answering my son's questions about why he wasn't spending time with his buddy. "They must be busy," I said. "Something must have come up," I said, but then I would see posts on social media of her excursions without us and then the reality set in. I'm being dumped. The erosion of a friendship can feel similar to a breakup ---the surprise, the hurt, the resentment. It's even worse when you run into them while you're out and about. It feels awkward yet everyone plays their assigned role and pretends everything is okay. You ask how the other person is doing, how things are going, but you know your answers don't really matter to them. You can see it in their eyes. You can see it in their body language. They've moved on. As I comforted my friend over the phone I shared with her what helped me heal from my broken friendship. It starts with knowing that you were a good friend. I've known my friend from the Midwest since college. She's sweet, loyal, and would do anything for her friends and family. The "why aren't you my friend anymore" question doesn't need an answer. A good friendship is a reciprocal relationship, not one-sided. Sometimes people are dealing with too many of their own issues to be the friend you deserve. I encouraged her to be grateful and to treasure the many wonderful memories that she had with her friend. It's a wonderful feeling to connect with another individual. Not everyone is given the opportunity to have that sort of relationship. If you've lived fully in the moment, and laughed deeply, it means you have experienced happiness and that's an amazing thing. After all, isn't happiness about enjoying all of those little moments? Being an adult means recognizing and releasing things that aren't meant for us. When we release that which isn't meant for us we permit ourselves to release the hurt/anger/sadness associated with it which opens the door for new friendships and experiences. I reminded my lovely friend that there are over 7 billion people in this amazing world of ours. I'm positive there are many more wonderful friendships and experiences awaiting her in the near future. ~HZM

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