breaking up with a friend
You can read a million and one articles about breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend but what is talked about much less is "breaking up" with a friend. It can be just as emotionally draining and have just as big of an impact on your life.
So that's what I want to talk about today. Friend breakups.
I've had plenty of friend breakups throughout my life but most were nondramatic and over a long period of time, just slowly growing apart. Last year, though, I had a more dramatic friend breakup that I've been thinking about a lot. Let's call this friend "Melissa".
Melissa wasn't just my friend, she was one of my best friends. Spring semester of my freshmen year of college, we had a squad. A five person friend group that I thought would last forever. We even had a name for our friend group and a group finsta. And of the five of my closest friends in college, Melissa was one of the closest.
Deciding to break up with Melissa wasn't easy or quick. It was something my other friends and I had been thinking about for a long time. While it's easy for me to focus on her bad qualities now, she obviously has good ones too which is why I was friends with her. She was also so intimately wrapped into my college life. We had the same friends, we lived together, ate and studied at all of the same spots, and everyone knew us as friends.
Ultimately, I knew it was the best decision for both her and I to completely end our friendship.
So, if you're thinking about ending a friendship, I always like to follow this advice:
In a way you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with. Those people should uplift you, empower you, and make you a better person. A friendship is a mutually beneficial relationship. You have complete choice in who you let into your world so if someone doesn't do these things, let them go.
I had described our relationship as toxic in the past. Melissa was not a supportive or good friend in any way. She even had a strain on my relationships with other people. Sometimes, you just end up being friends with someone simply because you were in the past. People change, you and I change, and your priorities change. Melissa did not make me feel good or make me a better person. In fact, I usually felt angry, frustrated, and annoyed after spending time with her.
Like I said, our lives were so closely tied. I mean I lived in a small 3 person apartment with her and we spent almost every moment together. One day though, my other roommate and I just left the house without her in the morning and we basically didn't speak again for months. She got the message and knew that we no longer wanted to be friends with her. It may sound harsh but it was really the only way to do it considering how close we were. And I don't feel bad about doing it so abruptly because we gave her plenty of warnings and signals beforehand.
Always start with communication. Frequently, people don't even know that they are doing something negative until you let them know. And if you don't communicate that to them, then your animosity builds up and they are left in the dark. But with Melissa, we had been talking to her about her problems for months. A few weeks before we cut ties, we got in a fight with her and put all of our frustrations out in the open. Nothing changed, and a couple of weeks later we had a mini intervention. We told her that she needed to change.
Another week went by, and she did nothing. She didn't listen to any of our advice or suggestions. The night before we stopped talking, two small fights happened but they were an overall representation of how our relationship worked and the last straw.
Of course, things were awkward and tense at first. We made some uncomfortable situations for other people in our lives but in the end, we are all so much better off now.
Before we ended our friendship, I was afraid that I was going to regret it and miss her. I can say 100% that I do not regret the decision and am so happy that I did it. Now, I look back and wonder how I was ever friends with her for so long.
I guess my whole point here is that, for the most part, we have control of our lives and who we surround ourselves with. If someone is making you unhappy, and not making you your best self, let them go. It's as simple as that.