Breaking up with a friend is a very dramatic and emotionally trying process. It’s not much different than breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, in fact, it may actually be worse since we tend to be closer and know friends much longer than many of our romantic relationships. I’ve had a few friendship breakups and they freaking sucked but were necessary in order to prevent me from going insane. The first time I had to divorce a friend was just a couple of years ago. (There had been many breakups in this friendship beforehand.)
I had been friends with the same chica since I was eleven years old and by the time we were in high school people on the street would come up to us and ask us if we were twins. We look nothing alike but our mannerism, the way we could speak with gestures and looks yet without words and the way we dressed had become so similar people thought we were related. Unfortunately, my BFF had a troubled home life, in high school it was a no brainer that she would come and live with my family. She was like my sister already, my parents knew they had to intervene because she was being emotionally and physically abused. Her parents didn’t even bother to come find her. Things were dire.
It seemed like a great thing to have my sister from another mister live with me but it wasn’t. She was in a fragile and dark place and quickly spiraled out of control. I won’t give you all the details but I can say, that I tried my best to support her and help her but it was no use, she was addicted to finding new ways to hurt herself and self-destruct. If you’ve ever had a troubled friend or family member, you probably know how emotionally draining it is to watch someone fall so hard. It was driving me crazy and pushing me into a dark place, so I just stopped speaking to her. The friendship breakup had begun.
It sucked because I knew that she needed me but I knew that I wasn’t helping her and she was hurting me. Just like when someone is an addict, you have to allow a self-destructive person to hit rock bottom so that they can find the will to build themselves back up. I felt like I was abandoning her when in reality I was just no longer enabling her bad behavior by bailing her out whenever she got into trouble. Years later, we tried to reconnect but she wasn’t in a different place. It sucks, I miss my sister but hey, I don’t miss feeling like crap every time I see her.
If you suspect you may have to breakup with a friend, here are some warning signs.
It’s Just Not Fun Anymore - If every time you see someone in your life you feel frustrated, annoyed or angry at them then it might be time to part ways. A friendship is supposed to be enjoyable most of the time. Squabbles, disagreements and arguments come with the territory but if you feel worse after hanging out with a good friend then this could mean the relationship is toxic.
You’ve Told Them How You Feel And Nothing Has Changed - You can’t really blame someone for mistreating you, if you haven’t voiced that you feel mistreated. However, if you’ve told your friend time and time again that the way they speak to you sometimes or the way they ditch you or the way they flirt with your boo, or whatever it is, makes you uncomfortable and they still continue to behave in that way, then they’re not respecting your boundaries.
Do You Even Have Anything To Say To Each Other Anymore? - A tell tale sign for me was the fact that I just had nothing to say to my BFF anymore. We didn’t have very much in common and the only thing I was interested in was telling her that something in our friendship had to give. We were on different paths, I was trying to navigate adolescence and she was still wrapped up in what I felt like was childish drama.
Everything Is About Them - Selfishness shouldn’t be tolerated in any relationship. Friendships should be equal. You should both be ready to catch each other when you fall. When you’re the one always offering advice, always catching, always there to rescue your troubled friend, it’s exhausting. A friendship should be a shared experience but when one person demands that you constantly listen, help and be present, it’s no longer a friendship so much as a parent-child relationship. You should be getting something out of this, otherwise what’s the point?
You’re Always Rationalizing Their Behavior - You shouldn’t be constantly convincing yourself that your friendship is “fine” and they didn’t “mean to do that.” This is what people in abusive relationships become conditioned to do when they are being manipulated by their abuser. If your friend is nice one day then shit the next and this is a constant occurrence don’t let their good behavior overshadow the horrible things they’ve done.
A friendship breakup is a difficult transition but it may just be the thing you need to move on with your life.
Remember guys THIS is what friendship is really about.
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