It's a sad fact of life that, even though we might say we're "best friends forever," friendships end. They just do. Maybe you have an argument, or you just lose touch, or she ghosts you out of the blue. A friendship might not be sexually intimate, but it hurts just as bad to lose a friend as it does to lose a partner, no matter how the loss happens.
Having been through my fair share of crappy friendships and friend breakups, I've learned — as I'm sure you have, as well — to choose wisely when it comes to getting close to someone new. Because, even if you have been friends for years, there's always the chance you could lose your BFF in a petty argument, and there's just no point in investing your emotions in someone who isn't going to respect your friendship.
If you've lost your best friend recently, I'm sorry. Even if you broke up with him or her, it still effing hurts, and you deserve to feel better soon. The following 10 books are all perfect to read when you're recovering from an ended friendship, so pick the one that speaks to you most and pair it with your favorite cheese, because cheese is absolutely, 100 percent better than people.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Like several of the books on this list, Cheryl Strayed's Wild is about life after an ended relationship — in this case, a marriage. The memoir recounts the story of Strayed's post-divorce, 1,100-mile hike up the Pacific Crest Trail, interspersed with flashbacks to her mother's death, her drug use, and her crumbling family life. But don't worry. Wild is ultimately a story of redemption and self-discovery.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
When I read this in university, the women of the class quickly arrived at a conclusion: almost every member of the cast has an analog in Tina Fey's 2004 film, Mean Girls. Jane Austen's tongue-in-cheek first novel is full of false friends and fake people, and it centers on an awkward young woman who's just trying to make a friend and maybe get a date.
Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine
Losing a friend is something that happens to everyone, eventually, but no one seems to give it the credence it deserves. It's a painful experience, one that hurts just as much as — if not more than — a romantic breakup, but it's almost as if everyone expects you to just get over it. Recognizing this, Irene S. Levine wrote Best Friends Forever to help women get the insight they need to recover from an ended friendship.
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger
Did you fall in love with your best friend? It happens, and, unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out like a John Hughes movie. If that's why your friendship ended, pick up Ellen Wittlinger's Hard Love . It's a bittersweet novel you won't forget, and it's sure to help you navigate falling for the wrong person.
What Did I Do Wrong? by Liz Pryor
Like Best Friends Forever, Liz Pryor's What Did I Do Wrong? examines the cryptic and often contradictory ways in which women's friendships end. When I lost my BFF shortly after we started college, I asked myself the titular question quite a lot. I arrived at my own conclusions about why our friendship ended, and you'll do the same. While you're in limbo, though, the crowdsourced data that contributed to What Did I Do Wrong? will help you in your search for answers.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
High Fidelity is the ultimate breakup novel, and you'd be remiss to ignore it in the aftermath of your ended friendship. After his girlfriend leaves him, Rob interviews the exes involved in his top five breakups in an attempt to find closure. What he ultimately discovers, however, is how to be single, happy, and self-aware.
The Friend Who Got Away by Jenny Offill
Edited by Jenny Offill, The Friend Who Got Away is a collection of essays on ended friendships from a cast of prominent women writers, including Dorothy Allison, Ann Hood, and Diana Abu-Jaber. No matter how you lost your BFF, you're almost certain to find your experience reflected here.
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
In Maeve Binchy's 1990 classic, connections between a group of young, mid-century co-eds are put to the test when one of them goes to desperate measures to find wealth and stability. It's a cheery novel that turns heartbreaking at times, and one that's perfect to read after you've had a friend betray you.
Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling is America's Sweetheart, OK? She just is. If you're feeling in need of over-reassurance after losing your best friend, pick up Kaling's memoir. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is the No. 1 question awkward and possibly insecure girls are asking, so read the book for a little commiseration when you're at your most vulnerable.
Friendship by Emily Gould
Sometimes you and your BFF just aren't right for one another anymore. Life happens, you grow in different ways, and suddenly you've left behind everything you had in common. Friendship is a novel about two women who must decide whether to continue BFF-ship following a series of life changes that begin to pull them apart.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Like Wild, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love is the story of one woman's post-divorce journey. After leaving her husband, Gilbert traveled to Italy, India, and Indonesia in a search for happiness and satisfaction, both visceral and spiritual. Regardless of how religious or whimsical you are, Eat, Pray, Love will inspire you to take care of yourself and enjoy the little things while you're recovering from an ended friendship.
Image: Jim Fischer/Flickr