Some friendships end abruptly. Some fizzle out over time. And some continue when they need to end.
I want to talk to you about the latter because it’s the hardest, yet most important, friendship you need to focus on. Why? Because it’s the one you need to stop feeling guilty for and end; sooner rather than later.
Let’s face it. We all have ‘that’ friend. The one that we dread seeing more than we look forward to. The one that always feels like it’s a chore to spend time with them. The one that always causes drama and brings negativity into your life. The one we always make excuses not to see as often as we ‘should’.
If we called that friend a boyfriend, it would be socially acceptable to leave them but a friend? Well they’re for life aren’t they? Wrong.
Friends are people and as people we change.
Not necessarily every day but we change in subtle ways over time. We discover new hobbies. We change our looks. We find new people.
Our friends are usually one of the first people to see and experience the changes. And that’s when it starts to become clear that your friend may not necessarily be right for you anymore. Have they become embittered with life after their divorce five years ago? Are they always looking for drama and stirring for arguments amongst your social circle? Are they always putting you down so that they can feel good about themselves? Then perhaps it’s time to think about putting an end to the relationship because we need to stop allowing negative peoples’ behaviour in our lives.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t fight for the friendship or try and sort things out before you make the final decision to leave. No one deserves to be given up on without a fight. Though it’s incredibly hard to recognise your own feelings about the friendship, it’s even harder to approach the person causing you pain and I understand that but if you do try and have a discussion, if you do end up needing to leave, you can do so without guilt knowing that you gave it ‘one last chance’.
Friendship is, of course, about balance and the saying ‘those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ rings true here. Whatever your issue(s) may be with your friend, prepare that they might have some back for you. I was on the receiving end of this recently. I walked away from a friend and though I wanted nothing more than an apology acknowleding what she said had upset me, I instead received blame (though this was sadly a trait of hers to not accept responsibility) and her last words to me were not angry or sad but spiteful; a side of her I hadn’t seen before and her words stung for some time after. Morale of the story? Be prepared.
Give them a chance
A person can’t change if they don’t know they’ve done anything wrong. If your friend has upset you or consistently affects you in a negative way, try and discuss it with them. It’s incredibly hard to do because you know it might not have a positive outcome you want but getting things out in the open is the best way and by doing this, they may see the ‘error of their ways’ and actively seek to change meaning a better friendship between you both.
Look at yourself
Before you go blaming the other person for the bad relationship, ask if you have part to play in it. One of my biggest failings is that I can sometimes expect too much from a friendship and when that other person doesn’t meet my ‘standards’, I get annoyed when really I need to learn to compromise at times. Do you need to learn to change your mindset a little first?
Ask what you get
We often forget to look after ourselves in life and allow so much negative behaviour from other people to affect us so if you have a friendship that’s struggling, ask yourself what you are getting out of the relationship. Likewise, consider what you bring to the friendship table. If it offers nothing but negative emotions, difficult discussions and tense times spent together, consider the fact that sometimes we just have to move on from each other.
Are you the same person?
Romantic relationships sometimes fail because one person has outgrown the other; they’ve changed and now think and act differently wanting different things out of life; friendships are the same. Though we may continue to have many things in common, sometimes we change so much we’re unrecognisable to each other and though we tell ourselves we ‘should’ stay together, the truth is that it’s ok to admit that you’re not the same people anymore and move on from each other.
Consider life without them
Stop and really ask yourself if you could imagine the rest of your life without them in it. Would you feel sad or think you were better off? Worse still, would you feel relieved? Don’t think ‘but I don’t have that many friends in the first place’ – it doesn’t work like that. Just because you don’t have many friends, it doesn’t mean that you should accept the bad ones just to make up the numbers. I had a difficult friendship that was nearly always negative and took so much out of me emotionally that when it cane to a head and I finally had the opportunity to walk away, I felt nothing but relief and happiness that I no longer had to deal with that person and the drama attached.
It’s ok to walk away from a friendship. It doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person. It means you’ve changed and it’s time to find someone new.