Friendship Divorce

There are countless types of friendships we create when we wish to connect with others. The best friendships are comprised of trust, comfort, support, and should add strength and love to our lives.

To maintain such friendships, continual growth is imperative. As we mature and grow, our friendships must adjust with us. Events such as marriage, children or job relocation are life-changing, and if the friendship can’t morph with these fluctuating rhythms, it won’t survive.

Signs of a Terminal Friendship
Consistently unanswered phone calls, canceled plans, or stale and impersonal conversations are sure signs the friendship is on a downward spiral. Specific traits that spell trouble for the relationship are:

Excessive neediness and moodiness — which are draining and unfair
Unreliability — true friends are always there for you
Selfishness — if a friend always puts him/herself first, there is no reciprocity
Dishonesty — if you can’t trust your friend, the true connection has been lost
Disrespect — when your friend doesn’t respect your boundaries or takes advantage of you, the relationship becomes abusive

When confronted with any of these traits and behaviors, it’s important to assess the damage. If your friend has done something you find you can’t forgive, it’s best to call it quits. Only resentment can come from an unforgivable transgression, which will eat away at the friendship slowly, but surely.

Graciously Breaking the Bond
There are several ways to diplomatically end a friendship. Be candid when it’s best for both parties. If a friendship has brought you much joy, you will probably feel you owe it to them to explain your reasons for breaking it off. You must be as honest as possible and give them a chance to respond. Staying calm and reasonable is the best way to get your point across. It also allows the other person access to your feelings without eliciting a screaming match (which would give no relief and could cause you both emotional damage). The conversation should bring closure to the relationship. If you can stay true to your emotions while maintaining respect for the other person, the memories you will keep will be only good ones instead of negative feelings surrounding the breakup.

Sometimes a more passive approach is best for both parties. If the friendship has been growing apart of its own accord, perhaps a few key behaviors (like making yourself less available and keeping conversations brief) will expedite the end of a waning relationship. If the friendship problems are more caustic, and you think the other person won’t be receptive to a confrontation, then taking the blame for ending the friendship could be best. Telling them, ‘I’ve changed’ or ‘we no longer share the same interests’ may be a more peaceful than a spiteful argument.

Whichever way you choose to end a friendship, remember that all relationships enrich our lives and teach us about others and ourselves.Here’s to friendship and all the grittiness, effort, love, and beauty that goes into it!

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