We’ve all been there. In the midst of a shift in a friendship dynamic. It could be a matter of distance or just life pulling you in opposite directions. But for whatever the reason, you’re at a crossroads. Friendships can no doubt go through their ups and downs but as life progresses, some relationships just simply no longer serve us. Though recognizing it’s time for a change, when you’re splitting ways with the people who've been by your side during some of your most pivotal moments, it can be hard. Some may even say that pain of a breakup with a friend can rival that of one with a romantic partner.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BREAK UP WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND.
First, there is the inevitable desire to salvage it. Of course, this person has meant a lot to you and you don’t want the relationship to end. This could mean some pretty intense discussions and the airing out of things never said but deeply felt. The longer you’ve been friends the harder these talks can be. The intention is to come to an agreement on how to proceed but somehow the words don’t seem to come together, emotions cannot be put aside and it’s as if you realize for the first time how far away you’d already grown from one another.
In long-term friendships, it can be easy to rely on the amount of time you’ve known each other to cement a false sense of how much you actually know each other. The truth is, we are changing so much as people as time progresses, there has to be real energy invested in growing with one another.
YOU REALIZE THAT HASN’T HAPPENED BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU.
So, ultimately you make the decision that this person who has been part of the fabric of your life no longer fits into the design. And now the hard work of forgiving yourself and forgiving them begins. Usually when a friendship is ending, it’s because one or both of you have not been getting what you needed to feel loved, supported and appreciated. It is not always an easy feat to make peace with that. You also, undoubtedly, leave with some of their secrets and they with yours. The hope is that the love and respect you have for one another means those will always be safe.
Then there’s the business of deciding how much of this person’s life you still want to take in. Social media has made it almost impossible to have a true clean break from people; therefore, seeing a former close friend live a life without you in it is something that can hinder the healing process. And yet, making the move to unfollow or block can seem a bit harsh in a delicate situation like this. The love has not been lost in the face of disappointment but the etiquette of engaging with their life content can be a thin line to walk.
ALL OF THAT HAS IT’S COMPLICATIONS.
But, perhaps, the hardest part about breaking up with a friend is remembering that you have. Even if it is merely temporary, they are no longer your trusted confidant. You may not hear from them after your big wins or feel weird about reaching out for theirs. You field questions about how they’ve been or what they’ve been up to because this is not a rumor for the gossip mill but a real event in your life that you are still learning to live with. This was not some silly boy or girl you let go of, this was your bestie. How do you even begin to explain that?
You find a playlist that has songs you both used to love and the memories come rushing in of all the good times you shared together. And the nostalgia almost makes you forget that the past, as lovely as it is, has already happened. The break in your connection is about who you are now, not who you were then. All you can do is be thankful for their presence in your life that carried you to where you are. And trust that if you’re ever meant to journey together again, you’ll do so with a new understanding of one another. One that takes into account all that you both are and all that you both hope to be.