Knowing when to let go of old friends

October 10, 2018

Friendship is a wonderful thing. No one knows your weird little quirks or your deepest secrets quite like your closest friends do. That’s probably why friendship breakups are so devistating. Life just doesn’t prepare you for them. 


I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we expect a break up when we enter into a romantic relationship, however, it’s safe to say that society is a little more geared to accept and deal with it. Think about how many movies portray break up with a partner, all friends will unite, with chocolate and wine, and chic-flics and trash talk about the ex. Despite this, you hardly ever hear of a friendship break up at all. 



It’s safe to say that as I’ve got older, my group of friends has changed, and has got smaller as I’ve started to value quality over quantity. After all, who wants lots of mediocre friendships when you can have a few really close, reliable ones? I guess that’s what makes this friendship breakup especially hard, as this is a person I would absolutely have put in the latter group previously. 


This is someone who I used to spend almost all my free time with, turned to whenever I needed anything, or just wanted to vent, and was someone I considered to be one of my closest friends. When she was having a hard time, I called her just to check in and make sure she was ok. I’d make sure to text often, and let her know I was there. I like to think I was a good, and caring friend. If you know your friends are in need, I feel your support should be offered, not asked for. 


Yet if I look back at the last few years, this just hasn’t been reciprocated. This person has missed my last two birthdays, despite saying she would join in on plans months in advance, only to cancel the week before for ‘double booking’ or being ‘busy’. She missed me getting engaged to Mike, even though all our other close friends were there. 


I spent some time a little while ago reading through our messages, and the theme that jumps out at me, is that my messages are always first. It’s always me asking how she is or when she’s free to catch up, how she was and so on. Off the back of that, I decided that I wouldn’t message first, just to see what happens. Well, we now haven’t had any form of exchange for months. Absolutely nothing. I’m not sure when or why the relationship changed. Perhaps in some ways it didn’t, there’s a chance that there’s always been elements of this that I just didn’t see at the time. But now that I’m taking a long hard look at it, without the rose tinted glasses, I’m seeing it for what it truly is; a one sided friendship. 


I’m tired of it. I’m tired of dedicating my time and attention to people who, quite frankly, can’t be bothered. As I said before, if your friends are in need, your support should be offered, not asked for. If friends can’t be bothered to make time for a short catch up, then what really is the point? Is love and support not an integral part of friendship? Or any relationship for that matter? 


So after all that, I’ve decided I will no longer invest time and effort into people who won’t do the same. I’d much rather focus more on those who balance the friendship, and make it a positive relationship. Yet, despite making this decision, with reasonable logic, I still have a pang of guilt. I feel like the friendship is now breaking down because I have stopped making an effort, rather because neither of us are. I feel as though it’s my fault, even though when I think about it, I know it isn’t. 


Life simply doesn’t prepare you for friendship break ups, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to approach it, or feel about it. On the one hand, I’m sad to have lost a friend, and on the other, I wonder if I’ve really lost anything at all. The usual break up remedies of food, alcohol and bitching, just doesn’t apply, and there aren’t really any hard feelings. 


You’ve possibly noticed that I’ve recently added a quote to the bottom of each and every post, to remind myself and others to “Be the change” and be our own positive influence. Every time I feel that little pang of guilt, I think back to that quote, and remember why I made my choice, that it was in order to eliminate negativity and make life more positive. 


Have you been through a friendship break up? How did you handle it?

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