When Best Friends Break Up

Like most people, I love the story of how my best friend and I met. It was in an English literature class in college. I sat down next to Jen and noticed we were reading the same book, The Bell Jar, and we were even on the same page!

Most of us remember how we first met our best friends – whether it was playing hopscotch in the street, sitting next to them in school or moving in with them in college.

But even close friends can fall out after years of enduring loyalty. Many friendships suffer a grizzly fate after an argument, crossing of love interest or change in directions. As we go through life our disposable generation renew and replenish most things around us frequently. New clothes, new house, new job and new partners – even new friends.

So what do you do when your friendship becomes so unhappy, dramatic or troublesome that you are ignoring their calls? Is the only reason you’re still friends with this person because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or incur their wrath if you ‘desert’ them? With this in mind we look over the four reasons why best friends break up…

My best friend Holly. A true friend will go to your art show and embarrass you by taking photos like a proud mother.

1. She or you said something unforgiveable

Speaking your mind is important in a friendship – no one wants to have to walk on eggshells. Some people are sensitive – while others prefer the direct approach. Some are deep thinkers, others value light hearted banter. Most friends wouldn’t say something deliberately hurtful, however, jealousy, a change in circumstances, misunderstanding and betrayal of trust can all lead to us saying things we regret. While a true friend will usually forgive anything that is said in anger – hitting too close to home might be ‘unforgiveable’.

What you can do: If you are the one who has been hurt by your friend take time to calm down before you retaliate. Giving yourself a few days to think can give you perspective. Perhaps she pointed out a flaw that is difficult for you to face. Even if you are still angry at the end of the few days you will be more inclined to look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself do you want this friend in your life? Communicate and tell her why what she said or did was hurtful. And listen to what she has to say.

If you did the talking: Apologise as soon as you can, explain yourself and then a day or two later repeat what you said. Then give her space and time to think. Time is a great healer. If she is true friend she should come back eventually.

2. She is making you unhappy

Your friends are so called because their job is to be there for you – to make you feel better when you are down and to be the voice of reason when you’ve done something stupid. A true friend should not try and make you feel bad when you are doing well. 

What you can do: If she makes snide comments about your new life out of jealousy, for example: “I like your new car, but you’re too old to drive it, “You’ve gained a few pounds” or “Oh you’re going on holiday again?” distance yourself from her – you don’t need that negativity in your life.

Friends that share your interests and encourage you to achieve are worth their weight in gold!

3. You drifted apart

Were you always this different? Is it you that has changed, or her? The reality is some friendships are formed out of convenience – but when circumstances change they fizzle out. With those you have a true bond with, this should never happen. Distance may mean you only speak once every few weeks, but with true friends, as soon as you speak again, it should be like you were never apart. 

What you can do: If you miss your friend and want her back in your life, don’t wait for her to make the effort. Take the bull by the horns and call her to arrange a get together. Be honest and tell her you miss having her around. If you realise you don’t miss her as much as you should – let it go.

4. The friendship has become one sided

You do all the running, she never makes the effort and on top of that you spend so much time counselling her, you should start charging by the hour. Her phone calls are draining you and every time you are together for an hour you get about 5 minutes of talk about you and about 55 about her.

What you can do: Friendships should be equal. Tough problems can be a lot to shoulder. If someone has an ongoing problem they need to seek professional help. You are only human – recommend them to a counsellor and stop doing all the running – a friendship should be 50/50.

Signs you need to bin an old friend

Just like with a no-good relationship, ditching a bad friendship can be difficult. Here are some signs you need to dump her…

  1. You frequently let her calls go to voicemail, even when you are in a good mood and would answer to anyone else. You just don’t have the energy for her small talk!
  2. She sounds pleased when you tell her about your disastrous date and doesn’t sound happy for you when you tell her your exciting news (new job, new man etc.)
  3. When you go for a drink you can’t get a word in edgeways without feeling like you’re on a quiz show trying to press the buzzer before she beats you to it again about her problems.
  4. You are reluctant to tell her your secrets or worries because last time you did she made you feel much worse about them.
  5. You suspect she is bitching about you behind your back every chance she gets.
  6. Every silence when you are together feels uncomfortable.
  7. You find the need to rant to someone after ever time you see her or talk to her on the phone. 
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