Friendship Breakups

Let’s chat about breakups. Not the romantic breakups that usually feature in the myriad of gorgeous YA novels we all know and love. No, breakups of the friend kind.

If you asked me what my favourite genre was, I’d immediately say YA contemporary. It used to be science fiction. It was middle grade mysteries for a bit, and it’s never been fantasy. But contemporary has appeared at the top of the list since the spring of 2012. I cannot resist those summery, poignant and relatable stories. I love adorable couples who are just right for each other (I’m looking at you, Anna and Etienne) and the thrill of discovering a new book boyfriend. And I love to read about female friendship. It’s the most important kind of relationship in my life and it’s been that way for years now. I’m shy and introverted – and social.

If you’re like me, you’ll have friendships that are comfortable and stable; the sort of friendships that seem to stick for years even when you haven’t seen or spoken to each other for months. You might not send a message for what seems like a lifetime and yet, when you do finally meet up, it’s like you’ve never been apart. I’ve known one of my best friends for over 20 years and our relationship has barely changed within that time. It’s a great kind of friendship.

And then there are the friendships that are all-encompassing, the kind that you couldn’t possibly survive a day without (that you wouldn’t want to survive a day without). The friends who may just as well have known you a lifetime, even if they’ve only been around for a fraction. The friends you message every day because you just love talking to them. Because it’s cold outside and you need to tell them that your hands are frozen (complete with appropriate emojis ❄️), because the world is pretty unbearable at the moment and you need to rant about what Trump’s done this time, and because you just fancy knowing what they’re having for dinner. And let’s hang out tomorrow. And hey, let’s have brunch next week. And let’s go to the cinema the week after. And I miss you, even though I just saw you yesterday.

It’s not only about the companionship you’ve had every day for the past few years, but also the plans you’ve made for the future. It’s about enjoying that friend’s company, no matter what you are doing together. It’s about laughing, all the time.

It’s about the friend you enjoy talking with most, even if the topics of conversation are rarely that significant. You talk about Netflix and the newest dessert pop-up and what to read next. It’s comforting, especially in this daunting time of uncertainty.

It’s about the friend who takes you on adventures, makes you challenge yourself and forces you out of your comfort zone, but is always there in case you fall. It’s about the friend you really care about and root for when they accomplish something incredible, no matter how tiny. It’s about the friend you turn to when you’ve had a bad day and when you’ve had a good day, in equal measure.

It’s about the person who knows you better than anyone else (even if they don’t really know who you were before) and who you want to know everything about. It’s about the one who can always tell when you’re not fine, even though you assure everyone else that you are. It’s about the person you love so, so much.

But what do you do when that isn’t enough?

Society doesn’t have much time for friendship breakups. It’s not something that’s as prolific in books, in music, in film and in television as romantic breakups, but ask anyone and they’ll probably tell you that their friendships made them who they are. We radiate sympathy and dole out encouraging advice and support when romantic relationships end, but for most people, friendships have lasted much longer and have meant much more.

So, let’s chat about them. 👭

24 thoughts on “Friendship Breakups

  1. Lovely, lovely blog post, Stacey! We really do need to talk about friendship breakups more – in some ways, they’re even worse than romantic breakups. Especially as most people are friends with people longer than they have a relationship with someone else.

  2. This is such a lovely post, Stacey! I agree that we should talk about friendships more. They’re so important and something I always stress about when changing jobs because you no longer see your favourites every day!

  3. Great post! Friendships are the world to me. My friends have been the people who have been there through all the good and bad changes in my life. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said in your post 😊.

  4. Friendships definitely need more attention. I feel, in a lot of ways, they’re so much more complicated and harder to navigate than relationships.
    Lovely post ❤

  5. I LOVE this post! Friendship break-ups are infinitely harder than romantic relationships. When a romance ends, you go to your friends. But when friendships end, who do you go to? They’re difficult and complicated and you don’t quite realize just how important they were in your life till they’re gone.

    But friends — the super close, always in touch, and the distant but steady and unchanging — are amazing. They’re wonderful. I don’t know where I’d be with out my close-knit group and without my bestie. Their hopes and dreams and wishes are mine too, and their joys and sorrows are mine too. Like sisterhood!

    I love books that feature close friendships. Morgan Matson and Emery Lord come to mind instantly when I think of friendship-oriented authors. Are there others you’d recommend?

    • It’s always really difficult to think about books about friendship. Code Name Verity, Beautiful Broken Things, The Rest of Us Just Live Here?

      • Friendship as Plot A is definitely hard…I thought of more, but then realized the friendships were primarily Plot B to give romance (Plot A) the spotlight. Since You’ve Been Gone and Open Road Summer are primarily friendship stories, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a good sister story. Hmmmm…

  6. Friendships play such an important role in not only books, but real life. From all the YA contemporaries that I’ve read, one of my favorite characters always end up being the lover (not surprisingly) or the protagonist’s best friend(s). However, there always tends to be a friendship break up somehow and it totally breaks my heart (at times). What’s even worse is when the character and their best friend don’t make up and go back to “normal.”

    I think friendships are super important because they allow you to feel like you fit somewhere in this world. At least that’s how I feel, because without them I don’t know what I would do.

    Anyways, I think this is a great post. It’s genuine and brings the spotlight to something that some may look past at sometimes, especially when they’re head over heels for someone. 🙂

  7. I had two very close friends, in two different countries that we may never visit again. We wrote letters, but they just dwindled away. I think of them often, even it’s been more than 20 years since we last communicated, and I really miss them.

    • That’s really sad. I’ve also had a few of those. I had a best friend when I was about 13 and she moved to Australia. We wrote a couple of times but we never spoke again.

  8. Great post, friendship breakups need a mention. I mean, it’s one of the reasons I love YA (or any book) which features strong friendships as they are the most important relationships we have. Friends are always there for you and so when, for whatever reason, you have a friendship breakup it’s sad. You don’t see them often enough in books and I think that’s because the idea is friends are there forever. But you can grow apart, change as people, go on different paths, and when that happens sometimes a breakup is inevitable. As it is in any relationship. And when you would normally turn to a friend to support who do you turn to when it’s a friend that’s gone?

    I’m trying to think of a book with a friendship break up in and I can’t. I want to hunt out all the books now because it needs to be mentioned. I also feel a strong urge to text all my friends and if they’re ok.

    • Do it, message your friends! It’s so easy to get on with life and forget to keep in touch with people. And yes, it’s much more difficult to think of books about friendship breakups. I shall have to write a post!

  9. I love, love, love this post! It made me think of the kinds of friendships I share with different people (especially the all-encompassing kind) and made me smile so much. I’m always on the look out for books with close friendships (and break-ups), because I relate to them very much. I can’t think of any that I’ve read, which is sad because friends can break your heart too but there isn’t much focus on that.
    Anyway, great post. Thanks for this! ❤

  10. Friendship breakups have always been more impactful in my life than romantic breakups. They tend to happen at a point in my life when myself or the other person is changing rapidly. This is such a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck when it’s happening to you. I honestly wish there were more YA books about this phenomenon (although Hilary T. Smith’s A Sense of the Infinite is a great one). I wish that as a teenager I’d had somewhere to turn when friendships were falling apart and I assumed I was to blame.

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