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. 👭