Sure, you probably aren't surprised that you no longer keep up with your middle school bestie — you're not alone — but by the time you're an adult, it's not crazy to assume that you and your friends are in it to win it. The sad truth is that friend breakups are very, very real.
Whether the rift is mutual or one-sided, dealing with the loss of a friendship can be hard, even if it's just a matter of two people realizing they don't have much in common anymore. And sometimes, friend breakups can be more hurtful than romantic splits. As Rebecca Traister posits in her 2016 book All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, "As women live more of our adult lives unmarried, we become ourselves not necessarily in tandem with a man or within a traditional family structure, but instead alongside other women: our friends."
So why don't we give the same amount of attention to platonic breakups as we do romantic ones? And why aren't we talking about these experiences more?
Whisper, an app that aggregates anonymous secrets, found that when friend breakups were discussed, the secrets often mentioned "relationships," "boyfriend," "love," and "sex." Of course, citing these as the sole reasons for female friend breakups is both stereotypical and reductive. In truth, what causes friendships to fall apart is oftentimes much more complicated and nuanced — and isn't always connected to romantic relationships or sex.
To paint a clearer picture of friend breakups, we asked five women to talk about theirs. A handful of stories may not be able to show the full scope, but hopefully, they'll provide a little insight into an oft-overlooked adult experience.