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How I Overcame The Hurt Of Losing My Best Friend

Love & Relationships

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.

Related: My Female Friendships Were The Most Heartbreaking & Loving Relationships Of My Twenties

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.

Related: Why I'm Okay When Certain Friendships In My Life End

I Forgave

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.

Featured image by Getty Images

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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