Burning Bridges

Have you ever lost a best friend and then had to pretend that you didn’t miss them? I have, and there isn’t much I can say besides it really freakin’ sucks. I haven’t met anyone in my life quite like this person. She was the perfect amount of rude and sassy, with a side of care and compassion. I remember the first time I saw her; she was sitting at a table near our cafeteria, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself unless I said hello. I walked right over, looked her in the eyes, shook her hand, and I smiled. That’s what I loved about her the most; she always knew how to make me smile, she always just knew… me. It’s amazing when you’re able to click with a person; being yourself—something we’re all still figuring out—is easier for some reason. Being able to skip that awkward phase lets you get to the fun stuff, like going to the fair, getting some ice cream, and talking about aliens, without it being weird. Letting someone get to know you better than you know yourself isn’t as scary anymore. She knew when I needed a slap in the face, someone to lean on, or when I just needed to be heard. She was the best, best-friend I have ever had. I have shown her every dark, dirty, and disgusting skeleton I keep in my closet. She was never scared by them, she never even flinched; she was the strongest person I’ve ever known—which was impressive for being less than 5 ft.–because she put up with all the stupid things I’ve done. You see, I’m the type of guy to blow things slightly out of proportion. Don’t give me that look, I already feel bad enough. We didn’t spend enough time together, even though we spoke every damn day. It wasn’t enough, because it wasn’t the forever I promised you.

I know I’m making it sound like she died, she didn’t. She’s still alive and kicking; but in a poetic sense, she did. That amazing person is only in my memories, and now all that is left of our friendship is this battlefield filled with angry texts and sub-tweets from hell. Even though we miss one another, the only thing we feel is the others cold shoulder. We’ve all been promised “forever” before, and I’m sure we’ve all been let down; but some of you still have a special person in your life. Don’t go breaking things just because you feel a little broken inside. Eventually, you’ll break something neither you nor they can fix. It’s all downhill from there, and the person you once went to for everything is someone you can’t look in the eye anymore; now they aren’t too good at making you smile. Pride gets the best of us all, and pride can destroy anything it gets its grubby hands on, if you let it. Learning to control your ego is a great tip, not just for friendships/relationships, but for almost anything. No one wants to be friends with a self-centered jerk, but becoming that self-centered jerk is simpler than it seems. It’s less noticeable and more difficult to accept when you are being the unreasonable one. Before you know it, you’re saying things you never thought you’d say, and hurting feelings that you used to heal. Be as good to them as you want them to be towards you. Do that and you shouldn’t have much to worry about, other than zombies. Always worry about zombies.

Look at them the next time you’re in a fight, and make sure you really look. Pay attention to what you could lose due to that argument about boys, girls, games, money, or any other arbitrary reason you can think of. Cutting a person out of your life is worse than going to the dentist; but, like the dentist, it could be what most of us have needed for a while. A reset can be scary, and extremely lonely, but everyone has gone through it. You could find a new group to hang out with or you could fall in love all over again, making sure it’s done right this time. You might even be lucky enough to find another once in a lifetime kind of friend, and you’ll be closer to them than you’ve ever been to anyone. The future is exciting to think about, and opportunities await those that take the risk of walking that path alone. Or your future could be right next to you, right where they’ve been all along. So, there are two options: you can refuse to let an argument end your friendship, and let it become water under the bridge, or you could burn that bridge down until it’s nothing but ashes. The thing with fire is it can get out of control, fast; much faster than anyone would be ready for. With a fire that big, everyone is bound to get burned.

Is it the end of the world? Nah, but losing a fight isn’t either. People like to say the friends you make in college are the friends you’ll truly keep forever, but I wouldn’t use that excuse to be a mean person. Treat every friend as if they’ll be there until you’re 90. Even if they aren’t, and the friendship does end, the arguments you had will strengthen you. The laughs you shared will comfort you, and the lessons you learned will shape you.


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