When A Friendship Ends: Important Lessons On Friendship

They say breaking up is hard to do; well, I think breaking up from a friendship is more complicated.

Some people have friends they have had since kindergarten. Which means one of two things: you have grown together, or you both have remained in similar places and still speak the same language.

Old friendships are lovely because there is a certain level of acceptance that must take place. We have probably held our friend’s hair as she threw up after a night of drinking. We have coached them through a bad break-up or their final exams in college. We celebrated as they got their first real job, apartment, and car. We have watched that person grow and have a connection to their journey–one of which both friends share.

But what happens when you find yourself dumped?

It is hard not to feel defined by these moments. If our friends don’t love us for better or worse, who will? Friends can be closer than family, and having someone leave can take a piece of us with em.

If you are like me, once that person is in your heart, that space is theirs. It can be devastating to let go.

When I had to heal being dumped by not one friend, but two–I had to do some real soul searching. After picking myself up out of the puddle on my closet floor… I opened my journal and wrote until my hands cramped.

The truth is, I had changed a lot since I met both of these women. My early adult life was full of disappointment. Mostly I was disappointing myself and others in the process. I was a people pleaser and a coward. I didn’t understand things like boundaries or speaking my truth.

I have no doubts that those tendencies hurt every person I love. It was the catalyst for a lot of change I embraced.

After ten years of working on myself, a lot changed. I was more comfortable in speaking my truth, standing up for myself, and doing what was right for me.

I still lead with love for others, but not at the expense of myself. I was stronger in myself, and that might have made people uncomfortable. The thing is I used to think being kind meant sacrificing my wellbeing. When I now know being kind is inviting myself and others to do what is right for them.

Was this the determining factor that left me in the dust? I will never know because I never got an explanation.

I did not get an opportunity to apologize or make it right–even when I tried to reconcile. (Which is really all one can do when a friendship starts to sink.)

I have found the most critical component of any relationship is the responsibility of self. It is our obligation as social beings. We have to be willing to look in the mirror and not project onto others. Your insecurities are yours, and not for someone else to tippy-toe around.

Unfortunately, friendships can be built on commiserating about misfortune and pain. When one starts to grow, it can make the other feel threatened, and abracadabra a friend disappears.

Am I a perfect friend? Absolutely not. But now more than ever, I make a consistent effort to implement my learning and be better in all my relationships.

On top of that, there has to be an equal energy exchange. A friendship is a give and take. Sometimes you do give more, but you cannot be the one continually resuscitating the relationship. Nor can you be the one that is continuously avoiding things in the relationship.

A friendship must include a willingness to communicate about difficult things. Of course, this is hard–but it also shows that other person you are willing to work through things to preserve the relationship.

When things start to feel constantly uncomfortable, it is a good sign that a talk needs to happen.

All of this said–logic does not heal a broken heart. If your friend is unwilling to patch things up, you are left to remedy that space in your heart.

Something that helped me heal is a straightforward concept.

Do you want someone in your life that doesn’t want to be there?

The reality is that not everyone is meant to be in our lives forever. And if one person feels like they want to jump ship–all you can do is wish them a safe swim.

Although I may never speak to these women again, I have taken the time to reflect on my part in the relationship.

I journaled about what I could have done differently and tried to find peace in my dedication to do better next time.

I will always love both of these women. They are sisters from another mister. Of course, I have my days where I feel hurt and angry–but I work hard to keep sending love and healing myself. That is all we can do with a situation that lacks closure.

The good news is there are plenty of fish in the sea. When one relationship ends it makes space for someone new.

Time will heal that sorrow–make sure you acknowledge your feelings.

My grandma once said to me, “Friends can be close even when distance is there. Sometimes you are in very similar situations, and it leads to a sense of closeness. Other times you are living different lives. The right friends will always be there, even if you do not speak.”

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