“Lots of things can be fixed. Things can be fixed. But many times, relationships between people cannot be fixed, because they should not be fixed. You’re aboard a ship setting sail, and the other person has joined the inland circus, or is boarding a different ship, and you just can’t be with each other anymore. Because you shouldn’t be.” ― C. JoyBell C.
The ending of a friendship can be heart-breaking… and, let’s be honest, sometimes necessary.
Break-up? Isn’t that a little extreme? Sure, it can be, but what happens when your investment turns sour? What happens when the bond between the two of you morphs into something toxic, gooey and quite possibly fungal? When a friendship goes from something supportive and nurturing (note, I did not say perfect) to a breeding cesspool of contempt, it could be time to part ways.
Nothing lasts forever.
Whether you’ve been friends for three months or thirty years, the breaking up bit is never usually easy and let’s say we’re easily distracted, scared, confused and even a little coward.
In a lot of cases, when the point of no return wraps its dark cape around you and your friend, instead of taking action, we’ll spend a ton of time pumping ourselves up by slandering the hell out of the ex-friend to be. We do this in our minds and to other friends, trying to convince them to join our camp. This cyclical behavior can end up as a heavy backpack of guilt and shame that we end up carrying around on top of all our other shit, but nonetheless it feeds our need to justify the inadequacy we’re feeling about our friend.
In other instances we stick it out. This happens for various reasons… we’re afraid to let go, to be lonely or to lose a digit on our Facebook friend gauge (what will people think?). We’re afraid we’ll miss out on something or we’re scared that the ex-to-be will gather forces against us.
So, in both instances above, instead of anything working out, we end up fighting furiously, crossing ridiculous lines and boundaries making our friend and our selves feel awful in the process. We’ll continue to force a friendship that has deteriorated and instead lose respect for ourselves and the other person…
What do we do?
Breaking up can be the best thing you do for yourself and the other person.
When things go wrong for a long period of time, when a friendship has become unhealthy and destructive, no matter how difficult it is, it could be time to make space for something new and nurturing. This can mean taking a Ross and Rachel or it can mean cutting all ties, severing all strings and parting ways completely.
“Two words. Three vowels. Four constenants. Seven letters. It can either cut you open to the core and leave you in ungodly pain or it can free your soul and lift a tremendous weight off you shoulders. The phrase is: It’s over.” ― Maggi Richard
Sure, some friendships are worth fighting for — sometimes a fight for friendship survival can help us to grow, see ourselves more clearly and to even find peace. But, some for some friendships, it’s better to just throw in the towel.
I’ve certainly had my share of friendship break-ups over the years. Some have happened naturally, some dragged on and on, and some didn’t go down without a hellish fight. But, no matter the how, there seemed to have been some key indicators pointing toward the fork in the road.
I’d like to share them with you…
10 signs it might be time for a BFF break-up:
1. Instead of being supportive and encouraging, the friendship turns critical, judgmental and condescending. This isn’t to say this won’t happen from time to time, but when it happens all-the-time or more often than not, is it really worth it?
2. You feel uncomfortable or tense around the other person. Sure, this is going to happen from time-to-time as well. Sometimes we aren’t going to feel the vibe in general and we just need some space, but again, if it’s happening more often than not, well, you decide. Remember to listen and feel the signals of your physical body — we may lie to ourselves in our minds, but the body never fibs.
3. Conversations become more argumentative than not. Is there anything more annoying or energy-draining than a chat that always turns into some kind of fight or blood-boiling debate?
4. You notice that you’re trash talking the other person to your boyfriend/girlfriend and other friends. And, just think, they are probably doing the same thing to you… niiiiice. Break the cycle, take out the trash and wash your dirty laundry before you hang it outside. No more hitting below the belt!
5. You feel a loss of energy, anger or disappointment after spending time with the other person. People change, we change, the chemistry between us changes. Just because thing’s were for a time doesn’t mean they were meant to be forever.
6. You constantly feel as if the other person brings out the worst in you. Perhaps you are seeing a reflection of the worst parts of yourself, perhaps not. Perhaps you are just at your wits end and exhausted. Perhaps your friend sees nothing but the worst in you.
7. You feel as if the other person’s crisis du jour becomes your problem and you start to live out that bad mood. So, perhaps this isn’t completely their fault, but for me this is a sign that you just can’t handle them or their issues anymore nor do you really want to. It could also mean that the incessant negative energy is all too consuming and toxic.
8. When you aren’t in touch or when you leave the other person, you feel a sense of utter relief. Not to mention, you can’t even muster up the energy for small talk or a text message.
9. You feel bullied or manipulated and are fearful to disappoint the other person. Enough said.
10. You feel as if you can’t share your joy and happiness with the other person. For fear of him/her raining on your parade or sprinkling unnecessary worry, jealousy or grief on your vegan cupcakes.
By identifying if the friendships we have are meaningful or if they are just an obligatory unhealthy habit, and deciding to do something about it, we take a step toward creating a bit more positive space in our lives — for me, for you and for everyone around us.
If the friendship or relationship has run it’s course, it’s time to come clean, be clear and honest.
Have you ever broken up with a friend?
How did you know it was over? What steps did you take to break-up? What worked and what didn’t? Share your experiences in the comments.
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