I'm about halfway through the book Wonder by RJ Palacio. It's great, so far, and I totally recommend it. It's told from multiple perspectives, and the section I'm in now is the big sister describing her first days of high school and the shift she feels in her relationship with her two oldest friends. Basically, they are breaking up with her, and as I read it, I felt like I was fourteen again. It's funny, isn't it, how easy it is to remember that sinking stomach feeling of an awkward teenage experience?
I had a best friend dump me once. I was sitting on the edge of her bed, and I thought that we were just hanging out like a normal day, when she got serious and said, "I can't be your best friend any more." I felt so stupid, sitting there wearing a gold plated necklace that was half of a heart, split down the middle in a jagged line. My half either said "best" or "friends", and of course she had the other half. I probably started crying. I cry really easily when I'm sad, but also when I'm angry, frustrated, or embarrassed. It sucks.
Don't get me wrong; I don't hold a grudge about the situation. We just grew apart. We actually reconnected several years later and are friends to this day. (Hi, you! You are awesome.) In fact, she deserves a lot of credit for just putting it right out there. Around the same time, I broke up with a boy via a note telling him that I was "fighting with my parents a lot lately, so it's not a good time for me to be going out with anyone right now". I thought I was letting him down easily, because it seemed awful to say, "I'm just not into you any more." He responded with a note back that said, basically, "I'm not really sure what you fighting with your parents has to do with me, but I wish you the best." We are friends to this day as well. (Hi, you! You are also awesome.)
Pausing to read over the anecdotes that I've just written down, it occurs to me that these two people were far more mature than I was. Note to self: figure out how to instill confidence, sincerity, and frankness into my children.
For further reading:
Do you want to delve into friend break-ups even more? Mindy Kaling has an anecdote about it in her book, when she goes out one day and sees that the other three girls in her BFF foursome have gone to the mall without inviting her. My So-Called Life and Freaks & Geeks cover this ground beautifully with their Angela/Sharon and Lindsay/Millie storylines. Those two shows are the very best ever at depicting high school reality. If you haven't watched either of them, you need to remedy that. Like, this weekend.