When a friend ‘breaks up’ with you
Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Thelma and Louise.

Romy and Michelle.

Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Romance comes and goes, but friends are forever, right? Only in the movies. In real life, priorities shift, people change and friendships end.

When a friend ‘breaks up’ with you, it can be absolutely devastating. But while we have hundreds of cultural scripts for what to do after a romantic break-up (most of them involving ice cream), we’re never really prepared for a friend to leave us.

What did I do wrong?

One of the hardest things about friendship break-ups is that lack of closure. You hardly ever get that ‘we need to talk’ conversation. Instead, your friend just becomes distant. Stops replying to messages as quickly. Is too busy to meet up. You think: ‘Are they avoiding me? Or are they just going through some personal stuff right now?’ You don’t want to make your friend’s life harder if they’re already going through a tough time. But not knowing is agony.

We don’t recommend calling up and wailing ‘Whyyyyyyyyyy?’ into their ear (especially if it’s 3am and you’ve had a few) but it’s okay to say ‘Hey, I feel like we’re not connecting like we used to, is there something we could do to fix that?’

Why friendships end

There are three main reasons:

1.  You did something not-okay. Maybe you said something cruel in the heat of the moment, or weren’t there for them when they needed you. You apologised, but your friend isn’t willing to forgive. We think you probably just have to let this one go. Learn from your mistake and move on.

2. They’re unhappy with the way you interact. Maybe they feel taken advantage of, like the conversation is always focused on you. Or maybe they end up feeling miserable every time you hang out, because you always end up talking about politics and your awful exes. We reckon this is something you can work on! It might not even be something you’re doing ‘wrong’, just something that isn’t working for your friend. Have a chat and see how you can change up the dynamic.

3. You’ve just drifted apart. For whatever reason, you just don’t click like you used to. This is hardest when you don’t feel like anything’s changed, but they do. It sucks, but you have to respect their decision. Trust that you can’t see the full picture, and that they’re probably saving you hours of awkward future conversation by ending things now.

What next?

Treat it like the serious loss that it is and let yourself grieve. Mute and unfollow on social media (we can’t stress this enough!). Put all that extra energy and love into nurturing your other relationships – including your relationship with yourself.

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