Happy 2018. You can tell from the title, this is not for the faint heart, but a much-needed piece of information. Friendship breakups are not an easy task. Gone are the days on the playground where you would walk up to another kid and announce “I’m not your friend anymore,” then proceed with your day as if nothing happened. Now you to worrying about navigating feelings and egos, plus considering how this will impact your reputation. It’s difficult for us as humans to let go of attachments, but sometimes you have to tighten up your squad and let people go.
How Do You Know it’s Time to Break Up with You Friend?
Perhaps you have a feeling you’re receiving half the effort you’re putting into the relationship, which might be a sign that you need to initiate a breakup. If you’ve reached a point where you see that you and your friend have a different definition of friendship and cannot find a middle group. Maybe you’re like me and my ex-friend and have a different set of values that you refuse to compromise on. There is nothing wrong with any of those scenarios, but you need to realise it is time for you to divest yourself.
You should not be pouring energy into a relationship that causes you that much strife with little gains. You should not be forcing a friendship that is less than you deserve. Know your self-worth when it comes to your interpersonal relationships. You are allowed to reject toxicity in any form, even if that person has been in your life for a significant period. You don’t have to stay in a friendship under the guise that it wasn’t that bad of a relationship.
Remember, I live by the Three Fs in life. So when my ex-friend told me she didn’t like my strong personality and viewpoint of certain situations, that was pretty much it for me. I’m not going to let anyone cripple my self-esteem to make myself digestible to their palate. Label it “arrogant, mean, confrontational, belittling” etc. but I’ll never allow someone to walk all over me and compromise my values for the sake of maintaining a relationship. That is toxic behaviour and is a sign that person does not have a place in my life.
If any of this sounds like something you’re experiencing, take stock of what those friendships mean to you and if you think there is any way to repair what has been broken. My process included prayer and journaling. That revealed to me most of my interactions with this person left me bitchy and angry. Good friendships are supposed to relieve stress, not pile it on. I was holding out, but as each sign came that it was time to let go, I knew what I had to be done. It was time to break up with my friend and divest myself of that relationship.
What Steps Should You Take to Divest Yourself of the Situation?
Clear the Air
First I would recommend you and said friend talk. Give them an explanation of why you feel leaving the relationship is the best course of action for yourself. It is your responsibility to let people know when you feel their treatment towards you is inadequate. Be honest with how you are feeling but also be open to any feedback they may have for you. Maybe you’ll find something about yourself. Maybe that talk will help salvage the friendship, or maybe it’ll give you the closure you need. In my situation, I left reconciliation on the on the table, and the other party declined. During our talk, my goal was to make sure there were no loose ends and no regrets. So when the choice was made not to go forward with the friendship, I didn’t feel the need to go back seeking answers and to wonder what if.
Don’t Leave Your Other Friends in the Dark
Unlike some romantic relationships, where each party typically enters the union with their own friend groups, you and your ex-friend probably share a friend group. This means having to see this person at functions after the breakup and dealing with awkward small talk or complete avoidance. You should tell your extended friend group what’s going on. It doesn’t have to be in great detail, but give them a heads up that there will be tension because there will be tension. Whatever you do, don’t ask your mutual friends to pick sides in the breakup because that’s childish and rude. It is not fair to them as they aren’t the ones who decided to end a friendship.
Prepare to be Uncomfortable
An acquaintance may ask about your former friend. During times of celebration, you’ll find awkward silence and empty space where there was once warm hugs and unforgettable laughter. If you were best friends, you might have to return borrowed books or shared clothing. You’ll have to delete that contact out of your phone and unfollow them on social media at some point. At the risk of sounding cliche, rip the bandaid off and just do it. The more of these encounters you have, the less uncomfortable you’ll be the next time it happens. Soon it will become your new normal.
How Do You Move Forward after a Friendship Breakup?
As you move forward with divesting yourself of this friendship, it is essential for you to remember people aren’t always meant to stay in your life forever. Sometimes people are only expected to be in our lives for specific periods of time, and that is okay. It does not mean you wish your ex-friend ill will or don’t want to see them succeed, but you are both on different paths. Last year a lot of people asked me” are you sure you don’t want to fix things? You were friends most of your college experience.” My answer was always no. I’ll take nothing over a faux friendship in the name of saving face and holding onto yesteryear. I’m the type of person when I’m done with the relationship, that is it. There is no going back because I have come to the decision it is more beneficial for me to look forward than to be stuck in limbo.
I trust the journey I’m on in life and believe better things and healthier friendships are in the cards for me. As you go on to develop new friendships, look for qualities that you like in a person and ones that you don’t. You shouldn’t keep repeating the same mistakes in friendships. When this attachment ended, two more developed in a somewhat unexpected way. I can honestly say these people entered my life at the appropriate times and have been such joys.
View this ordeal as character building. A breakup is never easy. Losing a friend you’ve created lifelong memories with can be difficult, but it is important to remember you did what was best for you. Stand proud in that decision. You’ll likely grow more without that person in your life. As you move forward, it is okay to reflect on those shared memories. Look back at old journal entries or Instagram posts and remember the joy you had at that moment.
Most of all, I want you to remember ending is not a failure. Sometimes friendships end. That doesn’t discredit the good times. That doesn’t mean you’ve become a bad person. Nothing lastd forever and moving on from those who are weighing you down can be the best thing for your sanity. When the divesting process is over, remind yourself you’re still living your best life. I started off my 2017 with a friendship breakup and I’m glad I entered 2018 with a reformed squad and less baggage.