Let's face it: friendships are a lot like romantic relationships. They can be fun, exciting and sometimes they can be hurtful or even annoying. And just like our love relationships, they don't always work out. We know we should end romantic partnerships when they've run their course, but it can be harder when it comes to a dead-end friendship. When it becomes increasingly obvious that a friendship is no longer working for you, how do you break up with your best friend?
The Awkward Pain Of A Breakup
We never enter into friendships with the idea that they come with a shelf life. The very meaning of "BFF" is "best friends forever." You share things with your BFF that you don't typically share with others; that's just the nature of friendships. Best friends are kindred souls.
Breaking up with someone is awkward and painful — and even if you're angry with the other person, it doesn't make the process any easier.
I once made the fateful decision to end a long-time friendship. It was something I considered over a long period of time because ending the friendship would involve more than just the two of us. We shared a group of friends; a sisterhood of sorts, and I knew that my decision would affect everyone in the group. Eventually self-preservation won out. I was no longer willing to continue the friendship or compromise my sensibilities, and I was ready to take the next step regardless of the consequences.
It took me over a year to come to that decision and the tipping point was one small, but familiar event to once and for all flip the friend switch to "off." One day I went home, turned on my laptop and de-friended her on Facebook: the social media equivalent of a slap on the face.
Yes, I can admit it. I took the coward's way out, but knowing that both she and I detested confrontation, I saw it as the quickest and quietest way to cut the cord. I knew it would work for both of us and everyone involved. I had sent a powerful message while avoiding the drama. In fact, drama was one of the reasons this friendship was no longer working for me. The good news here is that in the end we were all able to live with it, cordially and amicably.
Now, when she and I run into each other, there's no animosity and no tension. We can be civil to one another and everyone around us feels more comfortable — at least more comfortable than they felt during some formerly tense and awkward moments.
Tact And Grace
I don't recommend breaking up with your BFF by de-friending her on Facebook. That was just how I handled it and I'll be the first to admit that I could have handled it much better. While it sends a very distinct message that says, "I don't want to be friends anymore," it doesn't have the resolve and closure that a true friendship deserves, even after it's deteriorated.
How you handle your own breakup is your personal business. You have to take into consideration the circumstances surrounding your particular situation. No matter how you choose to handle the goodbyes, the important thing is that it's done with tact and grace to honor the shared connection you once had. I didn't do that with my own situation, but we're all a work in progress.
I Love You, I Just Don't Like You
Given different circumstances, I would have preferred sitting down with her and just laying the cards out on the table. Even though I didn't feel like I deserved the way she treated me at times, that last little bit of friendship left in me wanted to respect the union that had been forged so many years ago. We were once inseparable and we shared a very long history.
What I would say to her today, and what I really wanted her to know back then, was that I could still love her even if I no longer liked her. I came to the conclusion that I only wanted genuine, mutually respectful relationships in my life, and I was sure that this was no longer one them. If you feel that way about someone in your life, you might want to consider having a similar talk.
Toxic Friendships And Bad Habits
Toxic relationships and good health do not walk hand-in-hand. There could be many reasons why a friendship is no longer working for you, but if you're sure that you're ready to break up with your BFF, then you should feel confident that you're not only making a personal choice but a healthy decision as well.
As we get older, we realize the effects that our personal choices make on our health. A toxic friendship can become a bad habit that's difficult to break, but at some point you realize the negative effects it's having on you. Only you can ensure your overall health and wellbeing, so make sure you take a stand for creating a positive environment in your life and relationships.
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