How to get over a friendship gone bad

Breaking up is hard to do.

We all have gone through our various romantic breakups somewhat unscathed. The guy wasn’t for us, we weren’t for someone else and that’s that. With a dissolution of a marriage; you have more invested. With divorce there is a separation of property, kids, dogs, clothing, artwork and egos.

But What about a break-up with a friend?

We are often prepared for traditional break ups, divorces, separations for good or bad; But what happens when a friendship is dissolved? Do you forget the person? Do you claim to erase this person like you would a romantic break up? The finality of a friendship breaking up and closing up is very confusing, and in some cases far more painful experience. The harsh reality is that:
You can’t remain friends with a friend, who is an X.

How does one compute, and start the process of realizing the new reality (more so in my mind) of a friendship gone bad ?

In recent years, I’ve broken up with most of my family with far less scars or regrets than I did with friends. I’ve always regarded friendship as far more important than family, only because most of my family is toxic, vindictive and plain shit. What hurts most, is that you can be friends for years with someone, grow up together, see countless life changes, get over horrible moments together; and inexplicably something happens; the line breaks off, your paths split (sometimes violently) and whatever held you so close till then, disappears so quickly that you’re left wondering; how the hell do I get over this one, and was this really the friendship I thought it was?

Do you throw away their gifts and letters to you? Do you erase their messages? Do you burn their pictures in some sort of break up ritual and say “fuck em” like you would a jilted love affair?

What’s the protocol on ending a friendship?

I’ve had my fair share of friendships fading or souring over a long period of time, which in many cases had to do with outgrowing someone, but most recently I did experience a breakup with a friend I admired and valued immensely. I look back on the signs, the cracks in the foundation and wonder what started the wave that turned into a tsunami. I have often pondered what may have caused the abrupt ending; and trying see if there is any chance of it being repaired, but sometimes just like with lovers you have to say…

I guess you’re not that in to me and I’m not that bothered to change it.

As harsh and nonchalant as that sounds; I find that if a person actively and forcefully removes you from their life, or you them, it is clear that isn’t a friendship worth saving or fighting for. I’ve fought for friendships in the past; through thick and thin, from great distances, and with countless discussions and conversations, because ultimately what they signified in my life, was far more important than a bruised ego and multiple misunderstandings.

As we grow older however, we tend to weigh our options, and really see our friendships for what they really are. We are ultimately forced to place ourselves in the position of valuing ourselves as much (or more) as we value our friendships. To many of us (including myself); friendships are the backbone of our existence. We grow with our friends, these are the people who have seen the worst and the best of us, these are the people who know more about us than our parents, siblings, or our whole entire family. Yet all too often friends don’t want or care to follow us in our ever changing paths and don’t forgive us for our missteps and transgressions along the way, or simply aren’t equipped to go beyond their own limitations and egos.

When we move beyond the confines of our original path, and outgrow our fears we want our friends to be happy for us, not jealous, or worse wanting to derail, devour or belittle our efforts. If a friendship can’t support both the highs and the lows, the successes and failures, the fruitful explorations and regrettable decisions; that is not a friendship worth investing in, wasting your time on or having in your life.

Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

4 comments

  • Eleana, As I believe I mentioned to you, I am currently down in Florida visiting my oldest friend who has serious medical issues including Dementia. I’m helping his Wife, also a very old friend, move into a small house.
    This trip has brought friendship into focus for me and this post is quite timely.
    Over the years of our friendship there have been “breakups”. My friend didn’t get along with a woman I was living with years ago and for 2 years we didn’t speak. Eventually I decided we needed to deal with this and we met and yelled & screamed but worked it out.
    As you mention, We had grown apart but the foundation was still strong and we were able to work through it. But…we had to both be willing to do the work.
    Friendship like any relationship, takes work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • exactly 😉 it does and sometimes much more work than a romantic relationship. glad you are there for your friend and that fences were mended. indeed it does take two to repair and grow

      Liked by 1 person

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