Let's face it, not all of us are walking around, "Hey, sis-ing," at every turn.
In fact, it took me a solid three years after my best-girl friend relationship ended to even utter those words.
Growing up, I never had the charisma of our First Lady Michelle Obama when it came to making friends, but when I started college, I just knew things would look up; and for a while it did. All of my college brochures would advertise their "family-oriented environment," so I entered my matriculation with high hopes of developing life-long friendships.
When I met my first group of friends on campus, it almost felt too easy. All four of us lived in the same dorm and hit it off almost immediately; we were inseparable. People on campus were so used to seeing us together, they often referred to us as one hyphenated name. Every party, every pregame, and every homecoming event, we were together as one.
Midway through our sophomore year, I discerned a shift in our dynamic like a storm was on the horizon. I started to notice that I was being excluded from certain activities that we would normally partake in together, talked about behind my back, and they would always give me a hard time whenever I'd come around for reasons I have yet to understand. I knew something was up but it didn't seem like anything that we couldn't overcome. Truth be told, all the cattiness and shade were just red flags of a friendship that was reaching its end, and we eventually decided that our friendship was unsalvageable.
I left that friendship questioning everything I thought I knew about female companionship: were all friendships like this? Even as I entered into my post-grad-adulting life, I found certain groups to run rampant with clique-ness, jealousy, and competitiveness. Frankly, there seemed to be no way for me to break into these circles without compromising some part of my integrity. I had to decide whether gaining and maintaining solid friendships was worth the fight, and it was.
But first, there was work to be done:
I Embraced My Time Apart
Some work can only be achieved in the sanctuary of solitude and healing is one of them. When you feel like you've been wronged by the people closest to you, there is major healing to undergo and most times, that's a one-woman act. The season of loneliness that I thought was going to break me was actually giving me the time I needed to become a friend to myself and prepared me for the friendships that were awaiting me down the line. It was only after I did the personal work that I knew I was ready to be a friend to others again.
I Had Guy Friends
I was one of those girls that used to pride myself in, "only having guy friends," but truthfully, it took having majority guy friends for me to realize how much I needed girlfriends. All the claims are true; guys do tend to be more easy-going and laid-back, but let me be the first to tell you that that gets old real quick. Having guy friends made me realize that behind the band of brothers I was marching around with, I was missing one thing: emotional connection. Whenever I was around my male friends, I'd switch into character as "just one of the guys," which in term suppressed my divine feminine energy. As women, we need the space to be as free and expressive as we desire to be and I learned that could only come through sisterhood.
Forgiveness is the key component to this journey and there's no way around it. There's a saying that unforgiveness is like, "grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." So why would you carry around a grudge for years while your ex-friends are out there living their best lives, not paying you any mind? Just because you forgive doesn't mean you forget. You learn from it, grow from it, and use the lessons you've gained to grant you with the wisdom to choose better, more fulfilling relationships in the future.
Forgiveness and freedom are synonymous. You're giving yourself the permission to let go of what's no longer serving you to embrace the love and grace that comes from healthy bonds and friendships.
Have you ever been hurt by a girlfriend friendship? How did you heal from it? Share your story with us in the comments down below.
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