It’s unfortunate but true- sometimes even the best of friendships fail. Friends move away, interests change, misunderstandings occur, betrayals happen, new friends are made and people simply “grow apart.” These are just a few of the reasons that good friendships may fall by the wayside. So, what is the best way to handle the end of a friendship?
The most important thing to do is to think long and hard about how to handle the situation before making any emotional choices. Maybe scheduling hang out time with a friend who you have lost touch with is the answer to rekindling the relationship. If your friend lives far away, maybe taking turns visiting each other once per year as your finances permits is the key. Maybe a heartfelt conversation is all that needs to take place if there has been a misunderstanding in a friendship. If a friendship is currently bringing negativity to your life, maybe simply taking a step back from the relationship instead of ending it is best. If a friend has betrayed you, walking away without looking back may be a reasonable choice. Every situation is different and may call for a different action.
Many times, pulling away from the relationship will also mean that changes will occur that can make things even worse. For instance, taking a step back means that your friend may no longer be privy to the privileged information that you used to share with them. This can cause animosity and anger, especially if your plans of not proceeding as usual in the friendship are not discussed before you do it. Changing patterns in the friendship can also make things worse. For instance, say you feel that a long time friend’s negativity is wearing you down and you want to subtly end the friendship over time. Your soon to be ex friend is accustomed to you taking her out to dinner for her birthday every year, but in your efforts to end the relationship you decide to only send her a Happy Birthday text message this year. With out question, this will probably result in her becoming confused and angry because of you breaking the tradition with no discussion beforehand. Thus, an already bad situation is made worse.
Still, the subtle approach of trying to pull away from the relationship over time seems to be a common way to say goodbye to a friendship for many. Janice Edwards, of Richmond Virginia has had her share of friendship “breakups” over the years. Janice believes that the subtle approach is best because it prevents feelings from being hurt and leaves room for possible reconnection later when the situation or the people have changed. “Don’t say things you don’t need to say. If you can avoid hurting someone’s feelings do it!
Whether the end of a friendship happens on purpose or naturally as the parties grow up and change, the most important thing to remember is that this person is someone who you care for and who cares for you. Ending a friendship should always be handled as a delicate matter and with love and kindness. So, the answer to the question posed by this article, is that there is no one right way. But, if we ever find ourselves in this situation, (again) maybe this should be our new first rule of thumb- DM LK…Delicate Matter, Love & Kindness.
Image courtesy of http://www.goodenoughmother.com/2010/11/ask-rene-best-friend-bust-up/women-arguing/