Breaking up with a friend as an adult

Reflecting on the good and bad of a friendship destroyed by insecurity


Zamira Recinos | Special to Warrior Life


*All names apart from that of the author have been changed*

“You’re acting like a !$&?ing baby!”

In our almost 10 years of friendship, it’s the first time I’ve ever cursed at my friend Homer in genuine anger.

We’re speeding down the 91 Freeway, on our way to grab lunch and have a walk and talk. We were supposed to be talking about Homer’s divorce from his ex-wife Mack, who was also my friend, but he kept subtly insulting me and insulting our other friends.

You couldn’t just blame it on stress from the divorce. He’d been acting like a jerk for a long time. When I called him out he did what he always did when someone criticized him – he lashed out.

For once, I got mad.

We fought. Words were said. Through tears, he tells me to shut up and to take him back to his car.

He shuts down and he won’t even look at me. It was a common tactic of his. Whenever a friend expressed hurt or anger toward him he would deflect, ignore and attack.

“So, is this really it?” I ask.

He shoots me a look of pure hatred. In that instant, I knew our friendship was over. Although I didn’t cry, I felt a lump in my throat.

Driving silently I think about our friendship, the good and bad. It all comes in flashes.






“Action!” shouts Homer. It’s night and our friend Topher and I start running barefoot down the street, except we’re not Delfino and Topher. We’re two bumbling robbers on the run. We’re making a movie – Homer, me, Topher and our friend Jane.

I first met Homer in a college broadcasting class in 2011. We became friends when we realized we were both film fanatics. Through him, I met Topher and Jane. I’m still friends with Topher, but after the fight, I never saw Jane again. She was closer to Homer.

“Cut!” Homer shouts and we set up for the next scene. These are some of the most fun times of my life.




It’s 3 a.m. Christmas morning. After spending the day with our families, we all met up. We always spent holiday nights together.

Homer is driving us all home. The freeway is a ghost town. Next thing I know we’re stopped at the shoulder. Homer wants to do something crazy.

We’re running across the freeway. There’s not a car in sight. Everyone’s yelling. We touch the center divider as if we’re playing a game of tag and run back to the car. Jane and I can’t stop laughing.

I wish I had tried harder to stay friends with Jane. I guess I always thought there’d be more time.




It’s late and I’m tired, and I need to be up at 5 a.m. for work.

We’re making another movie and Homer needs me because I’m one of the main characters. He pressures me to stay late. I didn’t have many friends growing up. I’m a people pleaser and it’s hard for me to say no. Homer knows this.

The shoot is repetitive and unpleasant. Instead of a group of misfits making a movie, this feels like someone on a power trip. He complains and orders us around, but none of us say anything. We don’t want to upset him. I’m exhausted at work the next day.




Armando, a friend of Homer’s, starts getting recognition for his photography. Instead of being happy for his friend, Homer starts acting jealous, insulting him behind his back.

But it’s OK. It’s just a joke, right?

A pattern starts to form. Apart from Topher and Jane, none of Homer’s high school friends like him anymore. I took Homer at his word when he told me it was because they were either jealous or jerks.

“Not like you,” he tells me.




I reconnected with my friend Veronica after high school. I’ve never been lucky in love, but I like Vicky. Still, we’re just friends.

Homer encourages me; tells me it’s obvious she likes me.

“You know it. I know it. The whole damn neighborhood knows it and you’re an idiot if you don’t go for it.”

I take his advice to heart. I ask her out. She says yes. We got married in 2020.




It’s his wedding day. Mack, Homer’s bride-to-be and our group’s newest friend, looks beautiful. Homer looks distracted.

Months earlier, when he first told us about getting hitched, Topher and I asked if he was sure. We loved Mack, but wasn’t it a little soon? They hadn’t been together that long.

“It’s fine,” he said, flashing a smile. “We can always get divorced.”

At the end of the festivities, our little group collapsed in a corner.

Homer, ever the photographer, starts taking photos of all of us. SNAP! It’s Vicky and me cuddling on the couch. SNAP! Jane is dancing, dressed in a full suit complete with suspenders. SNAP! Topher sticks his tongue out for the camera.

Although it probably wasn’t, in my head I remember this as the last time we were all really happy, all together.




After months of only hanging out via Zoom due to the pandemic, we finally feel comfortable to start hanging out again. This time it’s just Homer, Topher and me. The vibe is off. The entire time Homer and Topher seem tense.

After a couple hours we part ways. Topher calls me as I’m driving home.

“Did things seem weird?” he asks.

He goes on to tell me Homer and he had an argument right before I got there. I knew things felt off.

“What was the argument about?” I ask.

“Oh, you know Homer,” replies Topher.

I get what he means. Homer was always what we lovingly referred to as grumpy, prickly even, but it was a part of his charm and he was always “just kidding.” Topher tells me he got fed up with the underhanded insults and pushed back. Homer got mad. Then I got there.

“You think I should have just bit my tongue?” asks Topher.

“Nah, we’re all friends. We should be able to talk to each other,” I say to reassure him. “It’ll blow over.”




It was another running joke of ours. If our friend group was a boy band Topher was the funny one, Jane was the loud one, I was the nice one and Homer was the mean one.

We always meant “mean” in a fun way, but maybe that was because we were too close to him or maybe because in the beginning, his barbs were always aimed at outsiders, never us.

After they separated, but before they divorced, Mack would go on to tell me that near the end of our friendship Homer grew to resent and badmouth me.

“He was in competition with you,” Mack said.

I guess he forgot to tell me.

People are complicated. Friendships even more so.

With the benefit of hindsight it is obvious to see what happened, at least from my point of view. All of us changed and settled into the people we were going to be. In my opinion, Homer became someone who enjoyed being cruel and who lacked accountability.

Maybe he changed. Maybe it was me.

A lot of people, including him, think I stopped being friends with him because of Mack. I can almost hear him telling a story about how we abandoned him and sided with his ex.

But the divorce was never the real cause. It was him.

Homer was charming, in rare moments insightful and funny as hell. There are times I really miss him – every holiday and after watching a new good movie, but he was also mean and insecure.

I’ve accepted we are no longer friends, but I will never regret the friendship we had.




As Homer and I reach his car I try to say something, but he’s out of my car in a flash. I yell at him to talk to me, as he fishes for his keys in his pocket.

When he finally opens his door he grabs a pile from the passenger seat. It’s a collection of books, movies and records of mine that I had let him borrow. He had brought them to return to me.

“Is this really it?” I ask.

He drops my stuff on the curb, slams his door and drives away.



Editor’s Notes:

  • Deck and tags were added for context on Monday, June 5.
  • Photo was enlarged on Sunday, June 11.