I thought We We’re Gonna Be Friends Forever…..What happened??



This month marks the 4 year anniversary of the last time I saw or heard from my ‘best‘ friend. I happen to know it’s been four years because the last time we hung out was the month I moved into my last house (April of 2009).

For a while I used to try calling him, but he’d never answer his phone. Eventually, I lost his number, thank you Verizon Wireless for the Droid that killed my phone book!

I met him my senior year of high school, Michael had just gotten out of county jail; he had stolen a four-wheeler ATV and brazenly drove it around his suburban neighborhood. The neighbors called the police because they didn’t like seeing a 4-wheeler making so much noise in the Burb’s and when the police arrived they noticed it had been reported stolen.

Michael was a typical American tragedy; raised in a low-rent suburb, hooked on drugs, going nowhere during his teens, lived in his van selling drugs to high schoolers, and he bounced from one girl to the next trying to hook up with anything that moved and had boobs.

In jail, Michael ‘found god’.

When my parents moved to Florida (I was eighteen) Michael and I shared a place together and off & on for the next decade we were inseparable. For a period of time our house was the it spot and the center of a lot of action. Life in the late 90’s was fun and exciting. Even the music was upbeat with songs like “I Just Wanna Fly” by Sugar Ray and “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow.

Who knows if he really found god or not, but for the next decade of his life Mike made serious improvements forward and eventually found himself married with four children and working in a successful career.

He was young.

Barely 30 years old and four children under the age of nine.

It was a heavy load for he and his wife and a combination of both his poor upbringing and the negative elements of his wife’s childhood led to an eventual divorce.

It wasn’t a pretty divorce….are divorces ever pretty?

As a counselor, I realize that sometimes divorce is necessary.

But, whether good or bad; divorce often has long range consequences.

Divorce doesn’t just break up family units; it breaks up communities of friends.

Prior to their marriage, I was actually friends with both Mike & his wife….when they began the bitter divorce, it put me in the middle (sheesh! sounds like I was their kid doesn’t it?!) and its tough to stay friends with both of the divorcing parties when they each want to bash the other.

I don’t blame Michael for losing touch with me and his other friends that haven’t heard from him in years.

I realize that the divorce and situational elements he was dealing with were probably a psychological heavy load and it was probably all he could do to keep his head above water.

yet…..all of this causes me to reflect.

I realize now that in the here-and-now we can’t always determine who are ‘best’ friends are…..because; its only through time that we find out who they are.

When I was in grammar school I had ‘best’ friends that I didn’t even stay in touch with once I was in high school.

Who are our ‘best’ friends….I think we know who they are because they’re the ones who are still in our lives years and years later.

It’s only over the long-haul of life that we find out who are closest friends are.

I have a couple friends in my life that I’ve known just as long as I knew Mike….but back then we were merely acquaintances. Now, nearly 20 years later those ‘acquaintances’ are people that I talk to nearly every day….they are now my close friends.

Life is like that; things change, seasons change, and the people who are still standing by our side when we are old are the people we’ve grown closest too; they are the people who are there for us.

When I was young I threw out terms like ‘best friend’ rather flippantly.

Now if you ask me, “Kenneth, who are you’re best friends’

I’ll say,

“Let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side”.

I think I’ll get a cup of coffee now.

Kenneth Justice.



Categories: relationships

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77 replies

  1. It’s strange, isn’t it. I now accept that losing friends may be part of growing up (we’re all still growing up, all the time!). I’d like to think that the friends I have now are friends that I’ll have for life – and it feels as if they will be. But there are two people who I’ve been very close to for periods of time earlier in my life that I’ve now pretty much lost touch with. People keep growing up and they change – sometimes they grow apart or sometimes there’s an event that throws them apart. Like a lot of things, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just one of those things that can happen.

  2. It still kind of hurts, though.

  3. Thanks for sharing that, it gave me a lot to think about. Very interesting article

  4. yup! and this is my experience as well. “my best friends will still be there by my side” – this would make a great song!

  5. Never a truer word was spoken than ” let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side” .

  6. Very well written…and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ll be following yours now…

  7. The ending says it all. “Let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side”.

  8. Hmm, very coincidental. Maybe we should mark April 12th ‘Drift Day’. Thanks for the article.

  9. Friends who leave leave a hole in my heart.

  10. I have a similar situation with a friend… when he married, she forbid his old friends. Sad.

    • Hi John,

      I do not understand why wives do this. Unless, of course, the old friends are all a VERY bad influence on the husband, like criminally or something like that.

      But other than that, I do not ever understand why wives do this.

    • Claudia,

      there are so many things wives (AND husbands) do that just don’t make sense….I agree

  11. Your title of this post got me hook,line and sinker. It has a very familiar ring to it sadly. I always say I can hold my best friends in the palm of my hand and the other ones, well, sometimes they are just with us for part of our journey. Maybe our roads will cross again at some point. It is neither good nor bad but still sad .

  12. Well written article. The title says it all!

  13. Thank you for your articles and for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about all these things you are writing but I do not have anybody to turn to for advice. Fortunately, you are here with answers to important questions. Thank you.

  14. Another thing that makes you find out who your real friends are – a major life crisis. When my son was diagnosed with autism, some of my friends dropped off like flies. Some stuck around. Then I made some new friends, and this time around, the criteria were so different. It was less superficial and more meaningful, long lasting. A personal crisis is a great test of your relationships.

  15. My best friend died in 2006 after her 10 year battle with cancer at the age of 29. I have had no other best or any friend/s since her death.

    But I agree with your last statement: “Let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side”.

    That does determine alot.

  16. Love it CM…spoken so true with the voice of experience! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  17. This post hits home with me. When we are young, the connections we make with people are so powerful it can be overwhelming. We actually expect our friends (those who are closest to us at that time) to be with us forever. Literally, forever. Eventually the inevitable happens; moving away, getting married, having children, or filing for a divorce. These events create barriers that interfere with those relationships and years later, when something reminds us of that person, the question arises; what happened to them?

    • Shell,

      isn’t it incredible how strong emotions are when we are young?

      I still consider myself young….but when I think about the way I felt things in my twenties compared to now being in my thirties, holy cow dude!

  18. I have known my best friend since 5th grade…. we were tweeners together, first loves , etc. She was my matron of honor this last time. We are still close butwe don’t necesarily talk every!

  19. love to see some photos of “the in spot” during those times. 🙂

  20. powerfully written! I relate to this topic a lot, considering that since i’ve graduated college, my friendships continue to change. either i am finding that my “best friends” back then are no longer bff’s anymore, people i barely knew or were just casual friends with are now my best friends. I like that this post could have been negative, but you made it sounds really positive!

    • Mcwino,

      I don’t think I said this in the post, but in psychology we studied the difference in high school friends versus college friends;

      you are much more likely to keep your college friends (or the friends you make in your twenties) through the course of your life than your high school friends.

      If I remember correctly, the reason is that in our twenties we have developed more into the person who we will be for the course of our life but during high school our personality is still undergoing a higher level of development.

  21. Beautiful and heartrending post. I’m touched by the presence of you and your friend, Michael. May he come back to you one day. Thanks for visiting my blog and appreciating my posts. You’re very special. Michele

  22. Hopefully I won’t be on my deathbed for a while, but what I’ve found is that tragedy and loss separate the wheat from the chaff. I am blessed because I have discovered that there is very little chaff in my life. I have two sisters who are my best friends, long-term friends who have been there for me every step of the way as I deal with my husband’s suicide, and shorter-term friends who have been every bit as wonderful. I wondered when Tony died if that would be the case. Suicide scares people, makes them uncomfortable. I wrote yesterday about grace and gratitude, and your post I think underlines why I feel so much gratitude. I have had friends in my life, before, who have drifted in and then drifted back out. Sometimes that’s the way of things.

  23. Reblogged this on The Gratitude Diva and commented:
    This is so true! You don’t know until times get tough or years pass by who your true friends are.

  24. Very nice. I have thought about my childhood friend many times. I tried to keep in touch but we lost each other. I had a husband kids and a house in the forest of NM she in Memphis and single. Ya know what they say..it is hard to have a long distance relationship.

  25. Great post and everyone can relate to it! I still have my best friend from grade school, but all of my “best friends” from high school ended up changing and everything you said was right. Quality is better than quantity =)

  26. Good post. I have close friends with very close bonds between us. However I have a friend whom I first met over twenty years ago. We shared some very difficult times together. She lives in america now and I rarely contact her. However I would still consider her one of my best friends. She is a friend of my heart. If she wanted me in the morning I would do my best to be with her and I have very little doubt she would do the same for me. When we do make contact it is as if we never parted.
    I have also had “friends” who let me down so badly, It hurts.

    • Tric,

      its funny how friends can make us feel so good…or at times so bad…

      people don’t always realize that friendships can have just as much of a positive or negative emotional effect on our lives as a spouse

  27. Friendship is a feeling (like love) not a contract, deep down we feel who are our best friends, unless we are too self centered or stupid. And nothing is permanent.

  28. It’s true that friendship is measured by how long people stay connected over time. Keeping communication open and flowing is also vital to the health of that friendship. For those that stick around ’till death do us part” there is a union and an understanding in the friendship that transcends all others.

    Through life, we may have countless of acquaintances and sometimes it’s through these acquaintances that a life time friendship is borne.

    There is a jewel to treasure in all people that we meet, bouncing off each other, learning through experience, and being open to love and respect all. We are indeed blessed in this way.

  29. Thanks for like, interesting thoughts. My wife and I always talk about friendships and the ones that fall by the wayside.

  30. “Let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side”.

    i love this.

    right on.

    i teach preschoolers every day and i offer the concept that we have “many best friends”…different people offer us different things…

    thank you for this post.

  31. My husband and I also lost our other couple half from their divorce. We tried to stay friend’s with each one separately, but the void was just too large, and the US was gone. You are so right, the “Relationship Rift Ripples” from divorce affect everyone who is close to them.

    • Lorene,

      When i was younger I never had to think about things like this…then you get older, your friends start divorcing or breaking up….and….now I experience a lot more things….

  32. I quoted you on our blog site. Thanks for great read. I might say your best friends will be; the ones looking for a photo of you while everyone else is fighting over your other things before you are even in the ground.

  33. “Let me get back to you on my deathbed; my best friends will still be there by my side”.
    I really like that.

    Thanks for the like as well by the way.

  34. The only constant in life is change… ten years from now, everything you know will be both exactly the same and totally changed, this applies to friends, lovers, ideas, beliefs… everything.

  35. Seriously man. I had a BFF in middle school. She started “liking” me and then I “liked” her best friend and then there was a lot of angsty teenage fallout. Needless to say, we’re not BFFs. But we are facebook friends, which is what really counts you know?

  36. I respectfully disagree that our best friends are the ones that are still by our side. Best friends come in and out of our lives, but just because they are no longer apart of our lives, does not mean they are not a best friend. Nobody needs to look up the word best in the dictionary to know what the word means. A best friend is one who’s friendship has shown to be superior over the rest. If it had anything to do with who sticks around the longest, you’d call them your “longest standing friend”, not your best friend. I had a best friend, we were connected at the hip for ten years. He saw me through it all; breakups, self harm, periods of bitter loneliness and depression, and the death of my father. We no longer speak. The person he was at the end of our friendship was no longer the person I knew for many years. And even though I have not spoken to him in two years, I still consider him my best friend. The quality of our friendship cannot and probably never will be matched by anyone I’ve ever met. He is still, and will always be my best friend.

  37. It’s so true, sadly, I have also called an irratic number of people my ‘best friend’ over the years, it’s a painful feeling when that friendship dissipates.
    I love your photography!!
    Thanks for following my Blog and for the likes 🙂 much much appreciated!!

  38. People change. It’s the same with relationships. Sometimes you can hold on and change together. Other times not. It’s not always a bad thing.

  39. broken friendship can hurt the most…..

  40. Reading this had me nodding and shaking my head alternately. Nodding because I feel like I can relate and shaking my head because some parts made me a bit sad. I haven’t got many friends, close ones that is. I had a best friend but we also had a parting of ways. I think that bit here in the comments about keeping friends we made in our 20s might be true. While I’m still in contact with some friends from high school and earlier, we’re not really friends friends—they won’t be the ones I call when I have momentous news or even with my ordinary day-to-day.

    As for my former best friend, in her defence, I think she tried to keep our agreement in place, that should we ever fight, we’ll do our best to make up and bridge the gap, and get back to being best friends. I suppose the lesson I learned with our friendship is that there are some things one should not have to put up with with one’s best friends.

    I probably will have to wait until my deathbed as well. Although I did picture a different scenario before, that my best friend(s) will probably the one sitting on the next rocking chair, cackling right along with me as we reminisce.

    Sadly, we are still facebook friends. 😛

  41. While reading this, there are a few things that have run through my mind: My friend, Brieanne, who has been my “best friend” since 4th grade, yet, we’ve barely spoken or seen each other since she married and moved away; My friend, Julia, from college, who has been my closest friend over the past 6 years; and my mother, who never really had any friends and still doesn’t (seriously, the only interpersonal relationships I’ve witnessed this woman have any involvement with in over 20 years are boyfriends, family, and co-workers – but only *at work*) who always used to tell me how friends come and go and would chastise me for wanting to put effort into maintaining relationships….

    • Aikifox,

      good thoughts,

      I think we all realize that certain friendships only last for seasons of our lives….

      but its really nice to have friends that stick by our sides till the very end 🙂

  42. Great post. This is so true many friends come and go. I believe that people enter our lives for a reason…sometimes only for a season. I’m blessed to have had the same ‘best friend’ for 40 years. I figure if she stuck by me after the hell of my cocaine addiction, my homelessness, and my alcoholism that I’m stuck with her too! I am truly blessed. But it does make me wonder why some friends “stick” and others don’t. And I am sorry about your friendship with Mike…

  43. Strange you would be discussing best friends and divorce. Right now I am feeling the need to divorce my husband; and my best friends or should I say the friends that are in my life are supportive of my decision. I don’t know if I have a, truest, or true, best friend. Especially during this low point because I feel alone, lonely, and trapped. I don’t think I want to replace my husband I just want the pain to go away. And his unwillingness to help repair our broken marriage really gets underneath my skin, thus, adding fuel to the fire of being totally unhappy with him. So, at this moment, I view him as a human parasite that I do not like with each passing day. My question at this point to self is: What is the role of a friend or best friend? At one time I thought the answer was “husband.”

  44. That was indeed a heart warming post! Thanks for visiting my blog..cheers!

  45. I enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments as well. Thanks for the like of my post “Sunshine and Daffodils”.

  46. Life and the dynamics of relationships change. The hard part is in knowing: when to let go and move on and in not being afraid to try again.

  47. Cool post, man. I landed at your site through Stumbleupon and randomly clicked through to here. Glad I did. To share my own example, my best friend from sixth grade and I still keep in touch and hang out even though our lives are vastly different. It takes work and effort to keep something like that going, but it can be worth it.

  48. Reblogged this on Living Authentically and commented:
    I needed to read this today…

  49. Reblogged this on Where the day takes me and commented:
    Powerful, I also had to reblog this. It is so very true, so very true indeed

  50. Nice blog, Kevin. Thanks for visiting and the like.

  51. Hi there, thanks for writing this. It is a relief to know I am not alone. Friends change, people change, our personal situations change. I guess the world just keeps on turning, but it is sad to lose a dear friend. Being a chick – I find that women find new friends and move on quite a lot. My husband is still friendly with men he has known for 30 years. I guess men don’t expect so much from friends, it is easier going with blokes, where women can invest a huge amount of energy into their friends. That’s just my experience! Great blog. I wrote a book on friendships. It is a subject very close to my heart! http://alanamunroauthor.com/

  52. BFF’s, a pet peeve of mine. I’ve had a handful in my life, one girl I knew since 1st grade, long story short, after way more than 30 years as bff’s she dumped me like a hot potato because I wasn’t able to go to her Mother’s wake. The why doesn’t matter, it was unavoidable on my part thru no fault of my own yet she no longer speaks to me (I’m sure it has nothing to do with her boyfriend who doesn’t like me because I know all his secrets and his feelings were hurt because I turned him down when he kept asking me out, the fact that I’d just gotten married wasn’t a good enough reason for him I guess).
    My BFF became my Mom. Except she died a few weeks ago out of nowhere.
    So now, I’ve decided that until further notice, I’m gonna stick to words, they seem to be the best friends I’ve ever had.
    PS: In my experiences, I’ve found that excluding my Mom, girls make terrible bff’s, give me a male bff anytime over a female, males, for the most part, don’t play games in the friend arena

  53. Nice post. I’ve been thinking about the very same thing recently. We don’t have many friends who stay through all the seasons of life. I used to get crushed by that, but I’m learning to hold people more loosely.

  54. You are amazing! I love reading this stuff–very relevant! I have friends who have stuck by me since childhood–I am in my sixth decade of life now. Unless they go before me, After fifty to sixty years, I kind of think they might still be hanging around when I get there. Others who made grand promises or pacts and have long since disappeared. I let them go. I understand that life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. We fulfilled a purpose in one another’s lives for the necessary time to accomplish whatever was needed to be worked out or through. I’m sure I’ll see them again somewhere in the universe, and I’ll say, “Remember that time on Earth we….””

  55. Wow! You hit this one on the head. My best friends have changed over the years too. But my oldest friend of 50 years now has remained. Sometimes closer than others but always a part of my life. I agree when you say “ask me on my deathbed”.

  56. Reblogged this on IMAGINE and commented:
    Are you my best friend? Read this.

  57. I have friends/acquaintances who believe that they can lose touch with a friend … and a year or more later they’re back in contact like no time ever passed. I feel as you do. Your comment sums it up best: “Who are our ‘best’ friends….I think we know who they are because they’re the ones who are still in our lives years and years later.”

  58. It has taken 43 years for me to understand this! After this past week, I realize relationships that come and go are not always due to my fault alone. We all have baggage and how we carry it affects are relationships too…

  59. It was quite easy for me to assume as a six year old that the friend I had grown up with would be my best friend forever. It’s taken me 20 years to see how silly it was.

  60. I have few ‘best friends’, people i have known since i was 13 yrs old and some i’ve known since the first grade. The quality of a best friend is not so much the exclusivity of that friendship, but that is that the person or people you can turn to when you need them and are you there for thme too? it’s more the quality of friendship than the frequency of social interaction.

  61. This was the post that first turned me on to your page. It was after my break-up with my best friend who promised to be my friend for ever. I was just searching for people who had been through similar experiences and found you. I thought your post was good and I kept reading.

    The funny thing for me is how many times I’ve been through this experience. I’m a songwriter and I’ve written many songs about undying love. Even though the love has died I still play the songs. Why is that? It’s because it captures a point in time. At that time is was an undying love. What has changed is time.

    There are two ways to evaluate our life. One is by what we have at the end of the game, the other is what we experience on the way. My belief is that if I have amazing moments throughout my life I don’t care if I die a homeless bum with no friends and no money. My best friends are still my best friends because I carry them with me in my heart and in my songs.


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