Friendship Heartbreak

Examining the damaging mentality I brought to my friendships which led to their demise


Shreshta Ranganathan, Opinion Editor


I was five years old when I first got my heart broken. It happened on my elementary school playground: my self-proclaimed best friend told a group of other girls that I was “clingy” and “weird.” When I found out what she had said about me, I stepped back in disbelief. As tears started forming in my eyes out of embarrassment, my face began to grow warmer. I look back at it now and laugh, stillshocked that I cried over such a brief friendship. But, it shattered my 5-year-old self.

That heartbreak was the first of many. I have always had a tendency to overvalue my relationships. I convinced myself it was because I was just more passionate than others, but in reality, I was just a pushover. My pushover tendencies partially developed through watching my parents with their friends — I romanticized friendships, thinking every single one was meant to last forever. Whether it was changing my plans to make time, or changing my personality and behavior depending on the people around me, I was ready to do anything to satisfy everyone. 

But it didn’t matter how much I changed. No matter how much I tried, at one point or another, my “friends” always decided to hangout with other people. Nobody fit the perfect best friend that I had built in my head. Some friendships ended more harshly than others, but each heartbreak hurt more than the last, making me wonder why I was so lonely.   

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I started to realize I was the root of my own problem. After a big falling out with my old friend group, my hurt was exacerbated by the knowledge that nearly everyone around me was able to maintain seemingly-perfect relationships for years. But I hadn’t had the same friends for more than one school year. 

Maybe the incident from when I was five years old wasn’t necessarily my fault, but ever since then, I’ve come to realize that my “pushover” mentality was negatively affecting my friendships more than I thought. I would blame my “passionate personality” as the cause of my friendship fallouts, but in reality, the problem was just the extreme dependency that I projected onto my friends as a defense mechanism.

I tried way too hard to keep people in my life who didn’t want to be there because I was too scared to be lonely. I couldn’t even leave my house unless I had someone else to accompany me. I would take extreme measures to ensure that everyone would stay in my life, which resulted in both parties being unsatisfied. 

After sophomore year, I took some time to myself, and started to get used to being alone. I spent the summer in San Francisco without any of my old friends and learned to live independently. For once, I wasn’t trying to be someone else that other people would like. I would explore the city on my ow

Photo used with permission

n everyday and started to find happiness by myself. I found joy in just walking down the street by myself, observing the people around me. Nobody knew me there, and nobody cared whether I had friends or not, which gave me peace of mind.

As overplayed as it is, I neededto learn how to love myself before anyone else. I simply did not like the person I was, and that mindset damaged the friendships I held throughout my life. After taking some time for myself, I started to develop new friends, and this time, with balance. I didn’t project my insecurities of being alone on to them, and I didn’t look for lifelong friendship. I wasn’t codependent on them and didn’t expect too much out of them. I focused on the memories Iwas making rather than the connection.

I feel so much more comfortable being alone now. I’m not stressed about staying in on a weekend night, and it doesn’t bother me if other people are having fun without me. Honestly, if I could go back, I would thank all of the participants of my failed friendships, even the one that lasted one day, because they made me realize that I am the lifelong best friend I had been looking for all along.