Opinion: To All the Friends I Have Lost

A photograph of a group of friends all posing and smiling, all grouped close to one another. The still of a moment of happiness and companionship, something to look back on and reminisce for those involved (Photo illustration by Phoebe Holm).

We met at some point in our life, where we allowed ourselves to open up to one another, to make memories and become the best of friends. We felt a sort of rush – a sense of calm understanding that occurs in hand with companionship.

In a moment, we were two people who shared moments and a mutual understanding that we wanted to remain a constant presence in one another’s lives. That we would walk together down the same path. 

We found ourselves watching movies with one another, talking for hours on end, eating lunch and dinner together almost every day, going on late-night fast food runs, sharing our hobbies and passions and spending time with each other whenever it was given as we forgot about our responsibilities. 

Two images of a group of friends spending time with one another. The top shows them grouped together in a conversation; the bottom other shows them looking over a city skyline after a night out together (Photo illustration by Phoebe Holm).

Everything has its own time though. I guess ours was up. 

How quickly our time was spent before we found ourselves moving on from one another and drifting apart. Shifting and shaping into different people. Molding into our new, different roles with different demands that didn’t allow us to stay together. 

Sometimes it is hard to determine the exact root cause of this phenomenon, especially with how quickly friendships and emotions can come and go as new opportunities and life events arise. 

A cause of losing connections, something I have dealt with throughout my life, is the abundance of one-sided friendships. Feeling a lack of reciprocation from those you care about most. Finding yourself constantly fighting, grasping onto every thread of the connection. Praying that if you spend a bit more time holding on they won’t leave the friendship and the memories behind.

A hand holds tight onto a fraying piece of rope, sitting there and waiting for it to break. This represents what refusing to let go of a lost friendship feels like, a constant struggle to make sure the bond between two people doesn’t break when there is nothing that can be done to mend it (Photo illustration by Phoebe Holm).

There are, of course, falling outs, arguments, misinterpretations, being uprooted from a home, graduation and other large life events that aren’t simply fading out from one another’s lives. Some things just simply don’t work out the way we hope they would. As individuals, we are always evolving and changing. The paths we walk along with people are always going to have to diverge, sending us toward something new. Towards different people. Different places. 

This experience puts you in a vulnerable place. It can make you feel incapable and undeserving of receiving love. Moving away from a person or a group is an unobservable pain that creates internal scars as if your heart is being ripped from your chest or your lungs are locked in a tight grasp. The thought of leaving those people behind, in the past of your existence, makes your body numb.

Losing someone you care about in any sort of way makes you feel worthless and undeserving. The flood of loneliness comes and you are left sitting alone with your thoughts, unsure of where to make the next step.

Sometimes, I feel as though it is easier to stay alone. Not allowing yourself to open up to those around you saves you from the inevitability of loss and change. Lack of connection saves you from having to fight to keep the spark of companionship alive.

Maybe how much I change can explain why no one is left in my life. Perhaps I am never satisfied enough. Perhaps I ask too much of people. Maybe my personality isn’t cut out for emotional connections. Maybe I get bored too easily. It’s a retrospective experience when you are faced with the presence of loneliness. 

A hand lays outstretched, finally letting go of the things it can no longer control. Sometimes it is better to let go of people than continue the back-and-forth struggle (Photo illustration by Phoebe Holm).

You will find yourself at a point where you must let go of the connections. A point where you find nothing worth saving, for the well-being of all involved. There is only so much work you can put into saving something until it exhausts you, until you find no joy within the connection anymore. 

But simply now, I have grown to learn that some things just end without explanation, without a finite conclusion. We will always find ourselves missing or regretting a friendship. Regardless, the memories we formed with other people will be ingrained within us forever. Loneliness is only temporary. 

This is where you must attempt to remind yourself that you enjoyed the connection and it did bring you some temporary happiness. Remind yourself that an individual or group of people made you feel a wide range of emotions that make us human, that allow us to grow as individuals, as we are constantly learning lessons from one another. 

So to all the friends I have lost: I still think of you in the quiet moments, when my mind is at rest. I remember the good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly. The happiness and the tears we shared together. Regardless of how or why we drifted apart, I hope you are doing amazing in life, and that you have found happiness. And that hopefully you also think of me in your quiet moments. 

About Phoebe Holm 19 Articles
Phoebe Holm is a junior from Boyne City, Michigan and a psychology major at Albion College. She is interested in understanding the human mind, writing about things that make her passionate and creating art. You can always find her listening to music and watching movies. Contact Phoebe via email at PJH12@albion.edu

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