Can A Mere Friend Break Your Heart? By Chioma Obiefuna

I’m sure that like me, when many talk, or hear, about heartbreak, we automatically connect it to romantic relationships. It feels like friends never really manage to disappoint us enough for it to qualify as heartbreak but I beg to differ for recently, a couple of close friends broke my heart and it hurt just as much.


Culturally (correct me if I’m wrong), many of us grow up in households where an open show of emotions is not usually encouraged and as a result, we’ve learnt to perfect the protective shield around our hearts. Personally, I don’t think that a show of emotions means one is weak; I just think that it makes one appear weak and puts the other person at an advantage because they appear to be stronger – and this is not necessarily true. We don’t go through many romantic relationships in our lives – not as much as friendships – so when we realize our friends’ capacity to hurt us in ways that break our hearts, some of us become even more protective of that strong, yet fragile, part of ourselves by going into denial.




Recently, I experienced such heartbreak and it was weird how much it hurt me. A couple of people who I’d considered to be really close friends for some time disappointed me in a way that some may consider minor but it still hurt – I guess the saying that it’s the little things that matter in relationships really is true. They didn’t devastate my world or do any serious damage; it was simply a case of exhibiting ‘seemingly inconsequential’ actions that belittled our friendship (in my mind) and that hurt my feelings.


I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – many do but we feel weird about admitting it because it makes us seem needy – I mean, people, and even you, would go like ‘it’s not like you guys are dating or anything,’ but the truth is, every important relationship in our lives has the power to hurt or heal us, whether it’s romantic or not. This is why it hurts when the good news you’ve been dying to share with your friend is received in a lukewarm manner – he / she can’t even drum up any enthusiasm for your good fortune.At that moment, you realize that your good news is not as sweet when your friend is not as excited for you. What of the moment that job, or gig, comes through? You tell your friend, expecting to share happy laughs, only for him / her to rain on your parade with annoying words of discouragement or conspiracy theories on why the good luck wind blew your way – making you feel like you don’t deserve it. Think of those times when you look so good and you know it, only for your friend to pretend not to notice but she never fails to mention your flaws; or is your friend the one who happily encourages you to make bad fashion choices because it puts her ahead of you in the looks department. Let’s not forget the friend who throws you away, or relegates you to a very distant background, once their life changes for the better and they become successful; suddenly, you’re not worthy to be part of the posse because you’re not cool enough so you’re left out in the cold, wondering why your best friend changed along with her success. These are not life changing issues – in fact, they are actually pretty minor issues – but they have the capacity to hurt deeply though many of us refuse to openly admit how much. Well, whether we admit it or not, sometimes when that friend acts in ways that belittle the value we place on our relationship with them, it hurts so much, it breaks our heart.




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