“To Me, You Are Perfect.” [Andrew Lincoln’s sign for Keira Knightley in the film Love Actually]

Sigh. If only something like this would happen to me at some point. In fact, I would just love to live in the world of Love Actually. The characters are impossibly charming, have great British accents, work at hip jobs that apparently pay a lot because they all live in horridly expensive London, and, best of all – they all get their happy ending.

This movie delves into the love between man and woman, man and unrequited crush, parent and child, sister and brother, husband and wife, sex fiend and Americans, boss and underling – but the one love I wish it resolved was that between best friends. Because then I could find the answer to my real-life problem in my favorite movie.

It’s funny, because my best friend introduced me to this movie and it’s one way we bonded. All I have to say is, “Hi!” and she’d dissolve in giggles, picturing the exact scene in the movie that kills us both. We have whole sets of dialogue memorized and can watch it over and over. Well, we used to anyway – when we were speaking to each other.

She and I had been friends for almost 15 years. We met while working at a coffee shop and bonded over our mutual disdain for our overly demanding boss (seriously, who hides gum behind the toilet to make sure we’re cleaning back there every. single. day). Later, I went to work for her at a different coffee shop and then moved in when I needed a place to live and she needed a new roommate. She introduced me to her circle of friends and I let her use my employee discount at the clothing store I worked. When I moved four hours away, we kept the friendship up and actually became closer.

She was two years older than me and a wonderful big sister to this only child. She did my hair and makeup before we went out. She was generous with her clothes and accessories. She scolded me when I acted inappropriately and dried my tears when I was hurt. She gave me tough love when I needed it and always encouraged me to accept God’s grace. She was my maid of honor and the first person I called after having my baby. It’s hard to imagine a life without her in it.

So, what killed this friendship? Time, distance, change, lack of care. I moved to England and for 3.5 years our communication was spotty. We’d talk on the phone every few months and each time swear we’d keep in better contact. Facebook kept us updated on the day to day, but not stay connected. The cracks started to appear when I missed her wedding. I was willing to fly back to the United States just for that weekend and would have – if only her wedding wasn’t the same weekend my husband was due home from a 5-month deployment. I had to put my husband first in this situation, and it really hurt her. I was upset that she didn’t understand – I wanted to so badly to be there, but couldn’t (and didn’t want to) miss his homecoming. I tried to make it up to her by surprising her with a live Skype toast at the reception and recording a message just in case the Internet connection failed. We eventually moved on from it, but it shook us.

The year following her wedding was extremely eventful for me. I made a lot of bad decisions and my husband I almost divorced several times. I hit rock bottom, contemplated suicide and found myself in positions I never thought I’d be in. I couldn’t tell anyone back home what was going on. It was nothing I wanted to share over Skype or telephone. So, I retreated into myself and my family. I gave vague details to my inner circle, but focused more on the work I was doing to heal. And I did start to heal.

My method of healing came at a price, though. When I moved back to the United States, I was so excited to see my best friend. I hadn’t seen her in almost 3 years and she had never met my son. She came up to visit and we finally got to have a long overdue heart-to-heart. I believe it was that heart-to-heart that killed the friendship. I didn’t know it, but she was extremely anxious about seeing me that weekend. Had I known that, I might not have dropped the ton of bricks on her that I did. I don’t think she was prepared to hear all of the things I told her.

After I dropped all my bombshells, things were awkward. I didn’t know what she was thinking and tried to give her space to process. However, it was eating at me. Finally I laid out my concerns to her in an email and waited to hear back. Again I tried to give her space, but must have pushed too much. We argued and shot angry texts back and forth, and a few weeks later I got the answer to my email. It was clear we were on completely different plains. She didn’t understand me, and I didn’t understand her.

I could fight for the friendship, but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to. Just writing that hurts and I feel like a jerk. What is wrong with me? Why wouldn’t I want to do my best to patch things up? A part of me thinks I should, just because of the history we share. But it’s not my job to patch things up – it’s our job. I can’t control what she thinks/feels/does; I can only control me. Right now, I don’t want anyone in my inner circle who doesn’t “get” me. I don’t feel like she “gets” me anymore, so I think it’s best if I back off for now. A good friend reminded me that sometimes there isn’t a wrong or right in a situation; it just is. I think that’s where we’re at.

What I feel now is sadness. I’m sad that I didn’t give her a chance to get to know the “new” me. I’m sad she won’t be a part of my day-to-day life. I’m sad that the memories of our good times now come with a twinge of pain in my chest. Time will tell if this is a break or a break-up; I’m ready to let time do its job. But I’m still sad.

strangers with memories

And I’ll always hold this movie dear to my heart, because it’s something I shared with her.

Today I’m linking up with the amazing ladies at

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30 thoughts on “It’s not Love, Actually

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize why you loved this movie until you shared the background story behind this and do hope that somewhere the two of you could make up and find some peace from all of this. Funny how a movie though could hold such strong memories for us and believe me I do have a few of my own that can transport me back to a different time and place, too. Thank you so very much fro sharing this and linking up with us. Hope you have a great weekend!! 🙂

    1. All this stuff just happened in the last few weeks. I was contemplating writing about it (see post about cheaper than therapy, ha ha) and then when I saw the FTSF prompt, it felt like a sign from the heavens: DO IT. I’m glad everyone isn’t as much of a Debby Downer as I am – I’m really enjoying all the funny posts!

  2. So, I think that you wrote the post that has been sitting in my drafts for weeks. I have gone through something very similar. I agree with everything that you said, except for one thing – I think you did give her the chance to get to know the “new you”. She just chose not to.

    You offered her honesty (by way of bombshells) or what ever you want to call them, and something in her kept her from being able to see past those to the true you that you have always been. I know this hurt, I know this pain. I feel it daily for I too “surprised” some people with some bombshells of my own…and they chose to leave.

    Subsequently, I have surrounded myself with a new set of friends and a new life and I have never been happier, but if I go there, if I allow myself to think about it – the sadness still reigns and I don’t think it will ever completely be gone. I am happy that you have found some happiness. Sending hugs.

  3. That is a beautiful post. I am going to share it on Twitter as The HerStories Project- we feature guest posts on friendship, and that one was so moving. I’m really glad you stretched the FTSF sentence to include this honest story and the movie that makes you think of your friend. That will stick with me for awhile, I think! So glad you linked it up today!

    1. Thank you!! I was going to see if The HerStories Project would be able to use it. The post by Nina Badzin on there really resonated with me and helped me sort out my feelings.

  4. Wow! That’s such a sad, sweet story. Don’t feel like a jerk though – by the sound of things you need people who are where you’re at. And it doesn’t sound like you’re ruling out a future reconciliation. Hang on in there.

  5. Such a unique twist on the sentence and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you to share this with all of us. As Dr. Seuss would say, “Don’t be sad that it’s over. Smile because it happened.” I hope you can continue to cherish the memories of your friendship (like the movie) and make peace with where things stand now.

  6. First – LOVE Love Actually! I mean, really, who doesn’t? I don’t think my husband does, but he doesn’t count.

    Second – You are so brave to open up on your blog to such an emotional situation for you. I hope and pray that eventually you and your friend can get past everything and enjoy a happy future. No matter what, it will all work out for the best. Being part of the military is not easy and unfortunately not everyone understands that. I hope you have friends who do understand, that are maybe in the same “place” as you. And don’t forget about your blogging friends! Isn’t that kind of why we blog – to connect with people and have more friends?

  7. What a poignant quote. I have a friend like that, its so hard, I want to have what we had back. But we are not the same people we were anymore.
    And I loved loved loved Love Actually. Basically anything with Hugh Grant and I’m in.

  8. Much love for Love Actually, a must see at Christmas and whenever I’m a little blue. As for the friendship – I feel your pain. My college roommate and I were closer than I was with my family. I admitted something really stupid that I did to her a few years after we graduated, and she cut me off. She did reach out years later and apologize, and we are FB “friends” now, but I still miss the closeness we had then. It hurts.

  9. I’ve been down a similar road; not your circumstances, but my SIL and I were best friends. Lots of things happened (the two of us and our other SIL all got pregnant together, I lost mine to miscarriage; hubby and I moved across state; we drifted apart and she drifted closer to the SIL she shared a baby with; other SIL decided she didn’t like me; I was eventually left adrift) but I finally came to a place where I’ve gotten over it. Sometimes I still feel the sting of ‘that would have been us’ when I hear about their kids playing together, but we have surrounded ourselves with friends as good as family where we are now, and that’s even better, because they spend time with us because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. That’s the thing about forming friendships as an adult: they take you as you are, instead of expecting you to be as you were.

    I still have not seen Love, Actually. I need to though. Putting it in my Netflix queue immediately!

  10. The losses we endure in life are so hard…especially lost friends due to past conflict. I know when this happens to me I always feel like I should have done something more, or why wasn’t I different, etc?? But you know what? Sounds like you did all you can do. And that is enough.

  11. Heartfelt. Honest. True. Great, great post. I think many of us can relate and understand your experiences and subsequent break-up. In order to have these hard detachments it means that at one point you were both connected emotionally. It’s so hard when these things happen whether you are an adolescent or adult. You words are so powerful, and I’m glad I found you through the Honest Voices link-up. You have a new follower. Thank you!

  12. I know people with these intense, lifelong friendships that nothing ever shakes. That’s a lie, actually. I see that in books and movies. In real life, it’s people like you and me, who have friendships that last for a while and diminish. Or friendships that fade in and out as our life stages and locations change. As you said, only time will tell whether this was a break up or just a break. Either way, the memories are there. The friendship was real.

  13. I can totally relate to this story and it makes my heart sad. Sometimes, we outgrow our friends and it sucks. It TOTALLY sucks. Perhaps some day you will get a knock at your door and she will be there with huge flash cards professing her undying love for you and her desire to be your bestie again. Who knows? It could happen…

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