Loyalty is the cornerstone of any relationship, whether romantic or platonic. But what if you get dumped for sexier GPS coordinates and are left to bounce back with a hot piece of proximity?
I find myself in a chronic spiral of gaining and losing friends. Not because they stop liking me (I hope!), but because they keep moving to distant shores. One moved to Edinburgh, another chose Johannesburg, then there was Prague and London, the exotic though very off-the-beaten-track choice of Asmara popped up, and, of course, a frequent destination of choice: the Northern Suburbs. These places have snatched up my Best Friends Forever, and recently I decided to relinquish all hope that I would ever have full control over this sad, sad state of affairs.
Here: 0. Anywhere else: 1.
Technically, I’m able to hop in my car and drive to grab a Spar parking lot boerewors roll with my friend from beyond the Boereworsgordyn - anti-Covid measures permitting, of course. It’s a 20-minute drive away, but Scotland is a different story.
These bonds we forged over time may not be broken but in the end, the distance will change them once and for all.
Rebounding from a Best Friend Forever is not possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to feel a similar closeness again with someone, well, closer. It can be the same, but different. Like with any breakup, it’s all about timing.
They always say that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new. But cloning that closeness you had with a Best Friend Forever is not as simple as swiping right on Bumble BFF. It takes time to gain (and earn) that level of trust.
Friendships solidified early in life - during university, for example - tend to be much like first loves: So hard to forget, as you grew up together and shared ‘significant’ milestones.
University. Travels. Marriage. Divorce. Drunken stupors. Arguments. Belly-ache laughs.
All so darn valuable.
When people love you absolutely and unconditionally, they take a piece of you when they leave. That piece doesn’t need you to explain yourself or your sometimes odd behaviour at (any) length. The person just knows and accepts. Finish-and-kla.
But the beauty of new friendships is that we discover the fragility of adults and adulthood. We avoid the torture of letting new ones in. Imposter syndrome washes over us like an icy splash of Atlantic Ocean water on a bikini-clad warm body, and we react with discomfort. We wonder if maybe, just maybe, those loyal besties learned to love us with all our flaws. And whether fresh eyes might expose us as frauds.
Maybe we are shit.
So we decline the new friend’s invite, call our long-distance bestie, down a glass or bottle of Syrah and reminisce about the old days when we used to go there and do that.
But facing that wave splash and feeling the cold on your skin can also lead you to refreshment. It’s all about riding it out.
Best Friends Forever who cheat together stay together. Give each other consent, encourage each other to connect, and find new besties who’ll accept your unique brand of crazy.
Open friendships allow both friends to indulge in the perks of solid ‘Loyalty Member Status’ friendships built over time, as well as flirty ‘Proximity Member Status’ newbies who might just steal another piece of you, this time closer to home.
(Image from @hebe_konditori)