If you've decided it's time to part ways with a close friend, then here's some advice to get the closure you deserve, and make sure your voice is heard.
Remember when your high school crush asked someone else to prom? Or when your college relationship didn't survive the summer break? Well, I'm convinced that the pain cannot begin to compare to losing a friend. Especially a friend you thought would be a part of your life forever.
I know this because everyone I know feels so comfortable speaking about relationship breakups. Eventually, the air clears and they can tell you the entire story. But very few people can be candid about their former friends. These breakups are not always planned, but they can be. They can be about removing yourself from a toxic situation, or being blindsided about a relationship you thought was good. It can be forced upon by external things like parents, timezones, or other people. They can develop quickly, almost overnight, but some manage to linger for months. Whatever role you play in the end of a friendship, here's how you can navigate it without losing your self in the process.
This should be a given, but sometimes, emotions can get the best of us. As you grow older, friendships can become more tender. It's not like when you were in middle school, and a fight between friends got resolved two periods later. Adult friendships are more developed and mature, but that doesn't mean they can't be easily broken. If you're thinking of breaking up with a friend, give it a lot of thought beforehand. If you go through with it and realize it was a mistake, it can be hard to put the pieces back together.
Align the Break Up with Another Ending
This is all about timing, but I find it easier to end things when other things around us are ending. For example, if you've grown apart from your best friend in college in your last year, this additional conclusion can help soothe the damage. This is because endings, at least those who we see coming, can make us excited about the future. So while the break up of your friendship can be unexpected, the ending of college can help alleviate the time it takes to move on.
Sometimes the Truth Is Not Worth Hurting Others
I already know this point can be controversial, especially if you're breaking up with a toxic friend. After all those moments where you kept quiet about their behavior, you want to leave with a bang. I get it. But I also know that life takes us down mysterious paths, and we never know who will come back to us. Twenty years down the line, you and your friend will be different people and may cross paths again. That's why I'm a fan of the phrase "leave everything better than you found it." In the end, it's up to you to say what you want to say. But the goal here is getting closure. Sometimes when we end on the wrong foot, the physical friendship may end, but closure is not always earned.
Be Clear About Your Reasons
You don't owe anyone anything, but if you're breaking up with a lifelong friend, it's nice to tell them why you're ending the friendship. You don't have to give all the details away, especially if you're still making sense of them, but don't ghost them. Ghosting someone doesn't do justice to the power in you for taking this important step. You can be as vague as "We're not aligning in so many things, and I think parting ways would make us feel happier" or even more specific like "Over the last few months, I've realized that we have different perspectives on what being a friend is, and I no longer want to be friends with someone who I have nothing to offer to and vice versa."
And I don't mean their rejection to this ending. You've got the power to leave relationships and friendships that do not fulfill you anymore, but it's important that people get an outlet to voice out their feelings (as long as those are respectful, of course). Chances are your friend will be in the slightest surprised about this, and they will want to get things off their chest or ask questions. I think it's healthy to give them the time to talk them out. That way, when you leave the conversation you'll feel like everything was left out there and you're not carrying anything.
Breaking up with a friend can give you anxiety and make you feel afraid, but remember that if you've considered this and reflected about it, you have every right to make this decision. For your best, make sure you remove yourself from any future conversations and let people be. Don't drag it around or discuss it with anyone else. Just keep the good things and leave the band things behind and move on with your life. It'll always be better that way.
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