Dear Bothered by Best Friend,
If I had a nickel for every time I thought I had found a best friend for life, I would have a shit load of nickels. But I don’t have any nickels. What I have are memories, some good… some bad, and many lessons learned. There are two things that are absolutely certain in life:
1: Some day you will die.
2: People change.
The thing that I have learned from having several best friends throughout the years is that you either grow together or you grow apart. Like any relationship, friendship takes work. A LOT of work. AND it can’t be one sided. But, sometimes a best friend will need a little more from the relationship when times are tough. Recently, I went through some medical issues and found out who my real friends were. I was not myself because I was in constant pain. I had some very understanding friends, and I have some friends who I don’t talk to anymore. It is during the times that we are at our worst that we find out who really cares. These are your real best friends. The ones who can be understanding and accept that one day they might need more from you and you will be there for them.
Now, my illness and rough time was a passing thing that only lasted a handful of months. Two years of not being on the same page with your “best friend” is a different story. There have been a series of events in your relationship that have put it to the true test of friendship. These are major life events that would test ANY friendship.
Life Event 1: Your best friend moved out of state.
Life Event 2. Your best friend started medical school.
Life Event 3. Your best friend got married.
Lets examine each event in detail.
Your best friend moved out of state. Not only did he move out of state, but he moved several states away. “Getting together like old times” is just not an option any more. This is when friendship takes extra effort because it is easy to find new friends to hang out with and replace your best friend with new best friends. Out with the old and in with the new. It is much easier to keep in touch these days with things like Facebook, so the extra effort really doesn’t take very much, but it does take extra effort.
Your best friend started medical school. I’m not a doctor (I just play one on T.V. HA!!) so I have no basis of comparison, but I hear that medical school is no joke. Nor should it be, when peoples lives will be in the hands of these future physicians. The work is tough, the hours long and all-consuming. The time that he has to devote to his career most definitely affects friendships.
Your best friend got married. And now for the triple whammy. He got married. Marriage most definitely changes people. He has a sacred responsibility to his wife and she is now the most important thing in his life. This is how it is, was and always will be. That doesn’t mean that you should be any less important to him, but you have to understand that she will always come first from now on.
It sounds to me like your friendship is failing because your friend has a certain naivete about the world. Why do I think that? Because of the process of how his marriage came about. Relationships do not work that way. You don’t just get married because you are a born again Christian and have a time limit. In fact, that is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Who puts a time limit on how long they are engaged? AND who decides not to sleep with their future spouse until marraige when virginity is of no concern? As we learned in one of our Wisdom posts last week, you can’t pray for your virginity back, so why should it matter? I think it is a bunch of made up bullshit. Your friend is naive in thinking this way in his romantic relationships, therefore, he does not have the mental maturity to handle a long distance friendship. He does not understand relationships with other people and has a “rose tinted” view of how the world works.
My advice to you is to take a step back and say goodbye for now. You need to let him wander his own path for a while and let him see what life is like without you as a best friend. He obviously feels like he can take advantage of you, so don’t let him. You must take the high road and let him mature on his own. You have devoted far too much energy into this relationship without getting what you need back. Once you step back, you can really examine if you ever want him in your life again. Sometimes the friends we imagine being in our lives forever just can’t always be that person we want or know that they can be. It’s frustrating, its difficult, and it’s for the best. One day he may come around and the two of you can start building a relationship again. You may even be able to reach “best friend” status again. This will take some time, understanding, and certainly some maturity on his end.
Sometimes you just have to say a goodbye and let your best friends figure out their own shit. He will either come around or he wont. It is best to start saving your energy for a better “best.”
What did you think of Robyn’s advice? Comment below and don’t forget to check back on Friday for Skippy’s advice!