What do you do when a friendship breaks down

Break-ups suck. Plunging yourself into an ice-cream soaked misery, wearing the same pjs you’ve been wearing for weeks, watching chick-flicks and listening to the most intense break-up songs.

That’s the typical break-up routine we all know when you break up with a lover, but what happens when you break-up with a friend?

I’ve never been the type of girl to mope over a guy for long. I’ve grown up with movies like Legally Blonde to teach me if it’s ended then great things can happen when you get up and get on. So that’s what I’ve always done – minus the fabulous outfits and great legal mind, of course.

But I’ve never had much experience of a friendship break-up. In films they fight and things get nasty but eventually they realise their friendship is more important than whatever it is that broke them up. But what if it isn’t anymore? Then what do we do?

As I said, I’ve never had much experience of friendship break-ups, so experiencing one recently and not knowing what on earth to do has been hard but I am learning how to say goodbye and carry on without her.

the end
Photo credit to James Benet

The myriad of films showing friendship breakdowns and encouraging forgiveness can blur the lines in real-life, and that’s where my problem started. We’re taught there’s nothing a friendship can’t overcome but if a guy treats us like crap then ‘ditch the bitch’. Whilst I agree with the latter I think the former has its limits and we should start empowering ourselves to identify those limits. In other words, as Elle would say ‘I object!’ We are just as deserving of a good friend as we are of a good partner.

We had been friends for 10 years and she changed, I guess I must have changed too, and what used to work perfectly just didn’t anymore. We argued a lot and little things she did started to bug me, she started doing drugs and smoking, which just wasn’t her. I was beginning to really struggle maintaining the relationship. That same year she ghosted me for months when I needed her more than ever, she stopped caring about me, I don’t think I’ll ever stop caring about her. The cloud of those few months hung over me, whenever I tried to ask her about it she’d change the subject or make excuses and eventually I didn’t have the strength to ask anymore, but I also never had the strength to forgive her either. I started to put up a wall from her, struggling to know what to say or how to act. Then she did something that showed me the friendship didn’t mean anything to her anymore and from then on I decided that really was the end. I couldn’t do it anymore.

I haven’t heard from her since that day. It’s been nearly a year now and I still find myself thinking about how we used to be, the things we went through together no other human-being will ever understand and I miss that, but I know we aren’t those people anymore. It’s hard because I didn’t know how to grieve, I couldn’t talk to friends because most of them we shared and I didn’t want to be seen to be bitchy or make people think they had to take sides. We never had a massive blow-up so no closure there either.

Slowly, I’m realising that some break-ups are like that, they aren’t dramatic bust-ups like in the movies, they’re slow and gradual until one day you wake up and realise it’s over. And the same thing is almost true of getting over it. One day you wake up and it doesn’t hurt as much, you don’t think of them as often and you realise it was for the best. Because we all have our limits and damaging friendships can be just as bad, if not worse, than damaging relationships.

So, get your Elle on, have a cry, eat some chocolates and then get up and get on because life sucks but you don’t.

P.S. some friends will be there for you, so trust them and talk unbiasedly about what happened. Support is super crucial during a friendship break-up.
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