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It was a strange chah to say to someone who had, at one point, been my best friend. But with people increasingly moving their communication from IRL to behind a screen, this cold behaviour has become fairly common.

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I knew, deep down, that I owed her an apology. It felt weird to think she was so nearby and I found myself typing her a message. Well, I have.

We sat down and I focused on the drinks order to hide my nerves. After a few awkward minutes of getting used to sharing the same air again, we started to catch up on mising last three years. She was married now, she was working as a PA to her dad and she was moving out of the city. I updated her on my new job, the highs and lows of online dating and saving for a deposit. We were strangers and friends, at the same time.

How to tell your best friend you miss them

It was weird but it also felt strangely ok. I knew it was up to me to get things started. I felt terrible.

She confessed that she too had felt drained at times by our friendship and apologised too for not missig how distressed I was. But in reality, I knew this was probably the last time I would see her.

The trust in our friendship was gone - on both sides. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, people might forget what you said and did but people will never forget how you made them feel — and I had made her feel awful. But we both knew it would never happen.

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I gave her a hug and, finally, said a proper goodbye. In normal times, a rift like the one Stanley described might be easy to repair. The knowledge that your time together might be ending is a powerful incentive to move past disagreements. To some extent, that can also happen in friendships. So has Rick, 42, who recently found himself wondering whether he and a classmate from college had reached the end of their friendship. Rick and his friend, he told me, have known for a long time that they occupy different spots on the ideological spectrum; Rick tends to lean progressive, while his friend has a libertarian bent.

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In the past, despite the occasional flare-up over politics, they still managed to connect over pop culture and college memories. Those with social anxiety struggle because they are in their head and second guess themselves.

I felt ready to hear what Bayard had in store for me and was happy to know that there were only three challenges she wanted me to tackle over the next month to help me make friends. I wrote each challenge down and devoted at least one week to following through mising them. The first thing Bayard advised me to do was take inventory of people I know and who they know.

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Who are the people you sometimes see at the same parties and share mutual friends, but never have one-on-one conversations?