Outgrowing Friends


Remember those white sweatshirt hoodies with the red stitching we had? Mine read “Bené” yours “Tish?” We thought we were too fly. Best friends since the second grade who met because your stepmom and my mom were best friends. “The Five Heartbeats” to this day is our favorite movie. Relatives insisted we sing all the songs and give a performance when they’d come over. Show stoppers we were. Can you believe we used to literally get in fist fights with each other as kids?  We both thought we were tough. In 7th grade I moved away. We haven’t lived in the same state since. But our friendship was too strong for a couple hundred miles to separate us. I’d come to Detroit or you’d come to Nashville. That’s just what best friends did when they no longer lived down the street from one another.

Life happened. And we traveled two different paths. Became two different women.  Not one better than the other, but different. Our arguments as young adults were petty. Yet the true feelings of how we felt about one another would painfully reveal themselves during these times. You told me I’d have the career, success and notoriety but would be alone. I retorted that you’d always be a gold digging ho’ dealing with drug dealing dudes who call you out of your name. I hung up the phone. Your words cut deep. I’m sure mine did too. But all is fair in love and war of friendships. We didn’t talk for a year. When we did start communicating again it was every once in a while about small updates. “Hey I finished graduate school,” I’d text you. “The baby looks just like G,” you would text. And that has been the essence of our relationship since we’ve grown apart.

Then you sent a text:

“Speaking from the heart. I don’t know if it’s true, but I feel like since we lead two different lifestyles you don’t want to have a relationship with me. I don’t understand why you get upset with me over how I live my life. You were supposed to be my son’s godmother. I’m sad that it looks like he will never meet you cause you are a good person. I’m proud that you’re doing what you wanted to do. I feel like just because I didn’t go to school and I had my baby you look down on me.”

Despite that this wasn’t really a conversation to be had via text message, it solidified my sentiments on why we’re not the best of friends anymore. You don’t even know me.

Look down on you? Hmmm. Right, I feel like I’m better than you because I got some degrees and stuff. Yet, of my four best friends only one of them has a degree. My boyfriend who I’m madly in love with is just now going back to school at 29, so technically he doesn’t have a degree either. I guess I feel I’m better than all of them too?

But I’m glad you mentioned your lifestyle. A friend is someone who is supposed to get upset when they feel you are not living up to your potential. A friend’s duty is to know you deserve better than what you settle for. And when encouraging you to want better for yourself doesn’t work, and you end up telling me I’m jealous of you, then it leads to distance.

I knew it would come to this years before it did.

At the core, our values are different. Who we are as women are direct contrasts. What you want and what I want out of life don’t match. The things I am passionate about you couldn’t care less and vice versa. My path is not greater than yours, but we’re on two different roads that don’t intersect at this point in life.

You’re not being fair to claim I think I’m better than, but disregarding how selfish you have always been as a friend. Everything was always about you. I could tell you I want to end my life and your response would be, “Oh for real. Girl G just got me this new Bebe outfit.” When have we ever nursed each other from a break up? Sexual abuse? Domestic violence? Miscarriage? For the very lows of my life you haven’t been there. I’m sure you feel the same about me. Let’s not pretend I went to college and start acting bougie.

As people mature they grow. Sometimes that means relationships and friendships have to end. The more I own my feminist ideals, the more my conversations with my male best friends have to be limited. All the bitch and ho’ talk is too much to bear in one conversation. You understand? It’s not about being better than.

I wonder what we would even talk about today. You about your son and baby’s father and me about my life in the Big Apple?  Would we even feel where each other are coming from?

I hope you, and any of my other friends I might grow apart from understand, it’s not because I’m up here and believe you’re down there. It’s genuinely because we’ve grown apart. And our friendship is not conducive to who I am, who I want to be and where I want to go.

But I will always love you, friend. For we have memories that are forever sketched in my heart.

  • Yvette

    Nice piece, Bene; and felt by so many. Although I have the same girlfriends I've had since middle school, I have made additional friends along my journey. Because the personalities and lifestyles may differ, the friends don't often meet. But that's ok. As you, I will always have a connection and love for my childhood friends and speak to them periodically, on occasion, during the holidays. While new found friends with similar likes and dislikes, who I feel challenge me are interwoven in my daily life. We cannot afford for those that did not grow with us over the years to ever bring us down. We change, we grow, we may even grow apart, but our past is a part of who we are so we keep those somewhere in our hearts.

  • Liana Silva

    Bene, you're tugging at my heartstrings here. I too have loved friends and lost friends, and a big part of that is because I moved away from home to go to college. From there I moved to NY, and now to Kansas. One thing I have learned (the hard way) is that we grow up and become different people…and that's okay. It sounds simple, but that was hard for me to digest, that I had become a different person (not better or worse, but different).

  • writtenbyBene

    @Yvette: Well said. I'm sort of the same. My close friends are from high school, but I've made some good friends in college and graduate school too. And our circles never connect because of where people live, our differences, etc. I think the "Sex and the City" friendship model is rare and that's ok. I just hate that someone would tell me I think I'm better than because we're no longer close friends. That's insanity.

    @Liana: "One thing I have learned (the hard way) is that we grow up and become different people…and that's okay." I think this sums the entire post. So very true.

  • I've had this happen more than once.

    My middle school/ high school best friend grew up very fast, looked at me as immature for not being down with the game. She blogged about a medical crisis a couple years ago and I offered to put her in contact with someone else who had gone through same scare, she responded "not ready to discuss with strangers" and even removed me from friends list. I can only hope she gets support and feedback from someone who relates to her on the level she needs. I've had to put my hands up and stay away, if not for her then for my own best interests.

    I can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped, but I hope only good things for her.

  • Very nice, lil sis. My girl is going thru the same thing with her friends. They were ultra tight in college and for years afterwards, but as some were getting engaged and having babies, they started realizing how different they really were at these points in life.

    And in reading your comment, they are very much so (or were) "Sex in the City"

  • jazzeleven

    Believe me as the years go, the love will still be there, even if you don't talk, or see each other, if any thing happen to her, or vice versa you, she will seek you out, or you will seek her out, because some relationships don't need every day to survive, but some how they just do. I've out grown plenty of friends, but I still love them in the end

  • Nia J

    Good ish missy. Reading that felt like you were reading my inner thoughts and typing them right onto your blog. You are right. For some reason, broken friendships are harder to deal with than break-ups. Unless with broken relationships, you know that it was something that either he or you was not providing. With broken friendships, there are often a lot of unanswered questions and most times it is best it stays that way.

  • Great read! So well written and executed. Been there! Brava!

  • Jadore Amour

    YES!!! outgrowing friends is the story of my life..it's hard but sometime you have to upgrade and find people more like you

  • ChuckWilmore

    Your writing style reminds me of mine. Your stuff is very easy to read because it flows with the nature of human’s mental inquisition. Accept this as my attempt to encourage you to continue.

  • Im so proud of you Bene! I love this article as well as the one about being friends with your ex. I’ve had both of these situations come up before! Keep up the awesome work!