In Defense of the Friends Who Always Get Left Behind

Posted on December 17, 2011


There’s a lot of preconceived notions attached to that phrase: the friends who “always get left behind.”

What does that mean exactly? What is the context of that phrase? Or is it so obvious, that it needs no explanation?

There is a certain group of people out there who will understand this statement better than the rest. It’s no high achievement to get it, and there’s no deep meaning connected to it. Simply put, many people experience the heartbreak of losing a friend, or several friends, when friends start dating, get engaged, and finally married–biting the dust–as the cliche puts it.

Why is this? So many people long for that sole connection with another human being, that when they find it, they unintentionally loosen, and at some later point, break ties with those friends with whom their connections were not as strong.

You know the scenario. Maybe you’ve been the scenario. But certainly, you understand the scenario. You see the scenario. Michelle and Renee are best friends. Renee meets the love of her life, and Michelle fades into the background. Renee marries and becomes this great, new version of herself. She stands next to that power connection of a husband, that one person who seems to get her better than anyone else ever has. Because when you know, you just know you’ve met that one person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. And there’s no need to apologize, because you’re deserving of someone to love you, and you know that your life has never been better or happier then when you’re with that one person.

Holy cow, is Michelle even in this story?

Of course not. And the answer is even simpler than the scenario: she’s not part of Renee and Mr.’s relationship. It can’t be a trio. It’s a duo. Two is better than one, but three is certainly not better than two. We all know the rules here, people.

Then what are we missing? Why does it have to suck for Michelle? Why does Michelle have to find new friends because she’s nowhere visible in Renee’s life anymore?

Perhaps the friendship didn’t have a strong foundation to begin with. But even if it did, does it even matter now?

And now, to my defense for those who have been left behind:

People are human, and they’re fallible. And they suck. You even suck sometimes, right? But the truth is, most people don’t care about having lasting connections with their friends anymore. Emphasis is on family and romantic love–not a bond of friendship. And while there’s a few of those people in the crowd that will disagree and assure you that not all share this viewpoint, the truth is, that’s really all there are anymore–just a measly few who believe in the power of friendship.

Most people struggle with the idea of balance today. While it’s easy to talk about and assure yourself that you’re finely balancing all the different people and relationships in your life, the truth is that it’s hard work. Siblings are hard work. Marriages are hard work. Parent/child relationships are hard work. And so are friendships. But most people don’t care as much for their friendships as they do for their families and loved ones to pump that time, heartache, and worth into those relationships.

So where does that leave us?

For me, personally, I try to be the difference I want to see in everyone else. I know Ghandi or someone else legendary or famous phrased a similar quote to that, but it’s truly what I strive to do. I’ve had people give me those sad faces and tell me that they’re sorry I don’t have a big family, so I can’t understand strong familial ties. I do understand those ties, and they’re dear to me. But so are my ties to my friends. And it seems like the more I get burned by friends who don’t believe in friendship the way that I do, the more I want to give up on friends and rely entirely on my family. But the truth is, as great and supportive as my family is, I still need friends. I need people who are around my age, who get me, who work with me, who like to go out and have fun, who share similar interests. And I think no one is immune to that need, but most people don’t care to fulfill it by seeking that love, attention, and bond in a friend when there’s a family member or a spouse on hand. So let me ask those people–

What are you going to do if your marriage doesn’t work?

What are you going to do when your spouse is out and you have no one to call?

What are you going to do when you need a girls’ night out, or just time with the guys?

What are you going to do when your parents pass?

What are you going to do when you need help at the last minute and you don’t live close to family?

Where are your friends?