I’ll start this by saying that you really cannot change the way people perceive you and it is also not your duty to do so. I learnt this the hard way and I’d say is the reoccurring pattern in all my friendship breakups.
Friendship breakups are painful and more difficult to get over because sometimes you lose your confidant, the person you bounce your ideas to, your drinking buddy, and sibling that you chose.
This year definitely shocked me when it comes to friendships. It all began on New Year’s Eve when I spent a good thirty minutes crying because I had to intervene with friends fighting because one caught the other saying rude things about me behind my back. Then it went on to another friend of mine on the verge of beating me up because he thought his boyfriend and I were having an affair. Thereafter, I basically had to beg them to also attend my birthday celebration.
I have had way too many friendship breakups in the first half of this year. I think I have ‘break up fatigue’ and I would say I know how to deal with friendship breakups. So I decided to create a list for those who may struggle with this.
- Hold yourself accountable
We are all human and we often make mistakes. Some more than others. After every breakup, it’s important to evaluate what you did that led to the fight or crisis. Also, take into account that sometimes people do outgrow each other and that’s okay. If that is the case, allow the friendship to fade away.
- Reach out
After you figure out what happened and what role you played, place the relationship in order of importance. How has this person’s departure from your life affected your life? Let’s be honest, sometimes we keep people around because it is convenient and occasionally people weed themselves out of your life. So, some breakups are actually blessings in disguise. Also, my therapist always says take the lesson and move on.
- Move on
There are millions of people around you that you can actually make friends out of. I don’t believe in ‘day ones’ or the duration of the relationship is a marker of the quality. This how people feel trapped in stagnant relationships. I’ve met people who feel like family after 3 weeks of knowing each other. So, you can always make new friends.
- Don’t burn bridges
Everyone comes into your life for a reason. Friends are the family we choose. If you can honestly say that this person really mattered to you, then you cannot honestly block, mute, and cancel them out of your life. There are memories that you will never be able to erase. I was taught that it is better to always try to leave things in a respectful manner. If I see you, we can still say Hi because it really takes a lot of effort to act like you don’t know someone that you shared intimate parts of yourself with.
In a lot of my friendship breakups, it always involved some ‘man’. Albeit the friend being insecure about the nature of my friendship with their boyfriend. Context, they met through me or I spent a lot of time with the couple. When I looked at how I contributed to the demise of these friendships – I figured maybe I was too friendly with these men. But also, I generally have a bad reputation which I was given preposterously and because I’m always single.
I have also realised people are very loyal to their insecurities. I’m an open book, but alas people generally won’t confess that they are intimidated by you or your existence makes them feel inferior. I do it at times because jealousy and envy can be motivating emotions. If I feel like my friend dresses better than me, I’d reach out to them for style tips – for example. Also, this loyalty is normal because what will you do with my vulnerability? It becomes a trust issue. Will you throw it in my face or will you embrace me?
I read somewhere that some aspect of trust is the ability to think generously of someone. An example, your friend forgets to call you on your birthday – so you think that surely there must be a valid excuse. So you excuse that and wait for the reason. I overdid this in most of my friendships to my detriment because I thought so highly of people who really thought the worst of me. Even found myself forcing and hoarding friendships with toxic people.
In closing, always remember that everything happens for a reason. Everyone is on their own journey. You will sometimes be there for a season and not a lifetime. It is okay to let people go when you both have fulfilled your roles in each other’s lives.
I hope this helps.