Last week, two of my galspirations Kim Catrall and Sarah Jessica Parker publicly made it clear that there was no love lost between them and some of the world’s reactions were just, well a bit off. A catfight, ‘white woman drama’, a bitter feud, even a betrayal of the sisterhood… can a woman just call someone out for being an arsehole without being judged? Maybe despite how much we love her, SJP has been a bit of a dickhead and KC just thought ‘fuck this shit’ and let go.
Don’t get me wrong, I found it sad. Only the other week I was having a mild freak out because SJP herself had replied to one of my Instagram comments. Just to tell me her show ‘Divorce’ was coming to the UK very soon, but you know, she clicked on my name whilst probably floating around in Manolo’s so naturally it had me fangirling. But I’ve grown up enough to realise that just because someone is a lovable icon with an enviable wardrobe doesn’t mean that they’re perfect.
The true reason that I felt so disappointed wasn’t because of the public call-out. It was because that despite knowing it’s scripted, that perfect girl group friendship between Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha wasn’t real. There was a small part of me that hoped the weekly brunches, being there for each other through wrinkles and breakups, sharing regular phone calls over confusing male signals and spontaneous cocktails was all attainable. The Sex and the City girls had the perfect relationship and since I first saw that pink tulle skirt get splashed by a bus, I’d been secretly envious.
In reality, people don’t have time to maintain a romantic relationship, earn money, be sociable and healthy, see your families AND constantly talk with your gal pals. So if a friendship isn’t strong it’s not going to survive. Plus there’s the added factor that every few years (if that) we change a little. We grow up more, we get smarter, our interests differ, we might relocate or go through something life-changing. With each stage of life, you’re more and more likely to grow apart from the friends that you made in the last chapter. I can count on one (maybe two) hands, the people that have stayed friends with the people they’ve known since they were in preschool, or at least without an extended fallout.
I once had a large group of girlfriends at school who shared my interests… parties, Smirnoff Ice and Topshop. I still like two out of those three but as we got to the end of university and I made my move to the big city, our friendships took a toll. Meetups became general small talk and finding out who was going to buy a house next whilst I was there paying overpriced rent, going on spontaneous adventures and drinking more than one glass of wine at dinner. I no longer had anything in common with them apart from the good ‘ole days when we used to hit up under 18 club nights.
I tried inviting them for girly weekends in London but it wasn’t for them and so I distanced myself. I immediately felt more relaxed, albeit a bit sad, but there was no pressure to go home for semi-awkward dinners, to have to explain why I love my city life and spend money on travel rather than house deposits. I could make more space in my calendar for my newer friends who shared my passions and outlook on life.
Recently, when the first of the group got married I felt overwhelmingly nostalgic, seeing them all lined up in a group photo with their boyfriends like nothing had changed. I tried to reach out but without a response, I could only assume they either just weren’t fussed or still held onto the idea that I was the girl who abandoned the group. So I learned to once and for all, let go.
I’ve also had it the other way around. A best friend suddenly moved from London and within six months we’d gone from seeing each other every few weeks to having no contact. I’d text her asking when she was free and get nothing back apart from a few random ‘I miss you’s sent on a Saturday night when alcohol was no doubt influencing a reminiscent moment. I found it hard, not understanding how when I could be busy too, she couldn’t make time to stick to a date and see me. After photos went up of a birthday where I hadn’t had so much as an invitation, that’s when I decided again to let go. To stop wondering what I’d done wrong and to just realise that like the girls from my teens, maybe she just felt she’d grown apart from me. Maybe she’ll drop me a line one day and we’ll both be at the same point in our lives to rekindle our friendship.
And then of course those are the one-way kind of friendships. The ones where you feel like you put in all the effort, offer all the support and don’t really get much in return. These can be the most hurtful, because no one’s grown apart, someones just got lazy… like a long term relationship where the romance goes down the drain. I’ve experienced this a few times; where someone I thought would be there for me through thick and thin abandoned me during my first breakup, where friends have had to be bluntly asked to support me or haven’t even acknowledged an achievement. These are the worst. And like the perfect relationships on Instagram, perfect friendships can be just as envious. These are the friendships I can’t seem to let go of. Instead they’ve fizzled due to the lazy counterpart who stops making an effort all together but at the first sign of interest, I’ll try and ignite a reunion. This is when I’ve learned not necessarily to let go, but to say ‘you’ve upset me’ and to try and make the friendship stronger.
Learning to let go of past friendships is a key part of growing up, for men and women. And it can be really hard, especially when it’s not on your terms. Just like a breakup, you don’t want to seem weak or needy yet can desperately miss the relationship you shared or could have continued if you’ve both moved on from it. I know that if I was to reunite with the friends from my past, it’s not like we’d go back to throwing parties when our parents went out or giggling over teenage gossip. It just wouldn’t be the same and well, that’s ok. At the end of the day, you can’t realistically be friends with everyone you connect with throughout your life so, at some point, you have to let go.
So if you’re stuck, either trying to maintain a friendship that isn’t working or realising that your pal isn’t quite who they used to be… maybe its time to just move on and make space for some friendly new people in your life. There’s plenty of them… hello!