Who We Lose Along the Way

Some friendships flame out, some fade away.

LaDonna Witmer
7 min readMar 16, 2024

When I was 15, a girl named Jennifer gave me a Best Friends necklace — a golden-hued heart split in two. The “best” half she gave to me, the “friends” half was hers to keep. Problem was, I hadn’t even realized until the moment she showed up with a gift that she thought we were anything beyond casual acquaintances.

I never wore the necklace. She never took hers off.

The ensuing awkwardness was one of my earliest reckonings with the truth that friendship is far more complicated than we like to believe.

Often we enter romantic relationships with different assumptions than those we take with us into a new friendship. In romantic entanglements, we’re aware up front that the coupling could be expendable. We go on dates knowing there’s a decent chance we’ll never speak to that person again. But we don’t usually kick off platonic friendships thinking it won’t work out. Once a mutual display of friendship is established, we expect this thing could last forever. And many do — I certainly have a friendship or two that tallies more years than my marriage.

But I also hold in my memory a small collection of friendships that have fallen apart. In fact, one such relationship crumbled just last week.