Breaking Up With a Friend
She’s been by your side in every escapade since junior high. He’s at your house every weekend, helping you fix your car, the plumbing, or just hanging out. When you lose a friend that close, it can be even more painful than losing your significant other.
Strong friendships can actually help you live longer, up to 7 ½ years, and make you happier, research shows.
But sometimes people just grow apart. Even if you were inseparable at the office for a dozen years, outside the workplace you might not have a lot in common. Or you may have moved to a different city or made new friends.
While romantic relationships usually have definitions, such as dating, engaged, or married, friendships can be more fluid and hard to pin down. You can go from seeing someone every weekend to seeing them rarely at all, and wondering what changed and what you did wrong. Sometimes people just get busy, but other times your buddy might back off deliberately when they sense things are not working out.
Sometimes friendships implode with harsh words, hurt feelings, and other friends taking sides.
So how do you decide if your relationship can be salvaged? And what should you do?
With some friends, a little space can make things better. If you’re spending too much time with them, some time apart might make you miss them and appreciate them more.
But if your bud doesn’t take the hint or has done something that really upset you, you’re going to have to make a decision. As scary as it is, if you value your friend, you’re going to have to talk to them. And you might want to start with an apology. If you’ve had a fight, apologize for anything that you might have said in anger, especially if it wasn’t true or out of line. And then listen. Let them talk and really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes just clearing the air can mend the hurt.
If you have just grown apart, talk to your friend about your feelings. Figure out if and how you can repair the relationship. Don’t blame or bash your bud, just tell them why you’re feeling more distant. They probably are having some of the same feelings.
If you agree that the friendship is worth saving, figure out things that you can do together, especially if it’s something that happens on a regular basis, as a monthly date at the salon or card game.
But if your friendship is irretrievably broken, it can hurt – a lot. You can feel isolated, lonely, and sad for a long time. If possible, try to end things on a positive note without arguments or anger.
So what do you do after breaking up with a friend?
First, acknowledge the loss and that you’re sad. Figure out what you did wrong in the relationship or what you could have done differently. With the loss of your buddy, you may have lost your sympathetic ear, so find someone to talk to – another friend or a therapist.
And then move on. Don’t stalk them on social media, don’t drive past their house or go where they hang out to see what they’re doing. You have the right to be happy and have people in your life who want that for you.
By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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