Breaking Up With a Friend - The Painful Truth

When I first realized that trying to let a friend off easy by slowly disappearing from her life was not the best game plan to end the friendship, I had put my big girl panties on and just break up with her. Unfortunately, the slow-fade approach isn’t successful if both of you don’t feel the same way and as shitty as it sounds, it's usually not something a soon-to-be broken-up-with friend might expect. Although many people don’t think a friendship breakup is an actual thing, the truth is, it is. And... it hurts.

It starts out like any other good relationship. You meet and instantly know that this one is gonna stay, or at least that is what I thought. You have so many things in common its eerie, and you truly understand and communicate with that person like you can’t with any other. I’m not talking about the friend you hook up with once a month for a coffee date and discuss the latest happenings in your life. I’m talking about the friend you go on road trips with, get high with, cry and laugh with, because no one else gets you like they do. They are the ultimate friend. You’re addicted to each other at first, spending as much time together as possible, because why not...this person is awesome!

But there comes a time when the relationship is more draining than rewarding and it’s not a good sign. You notice the balance is just off one-day and you find yourself dreading to spend time with them. Where did the magic go? You keep asking yourself.

Your first fight comes along, which in my case was a huge misunderstanding fueled with nasty assumptions and hurtful words. Things can get personal and before you know it, you're crying your eyes out, because how can someone you trusted make you hate yourself so much. The truth is, if anyone makes you feel less than you are, it’s a sign of a toxic relationship. Friends are not supposed to make you feel that way.  Many people are just looking for something new, someone to go out with, or someone to add to their repertoire of people they know. Most times, and especially in friendships involving women, things are not always as they seem. Unfortunatley another sign of a toxic relationship is when you genuinely cannot repsect that person anymore and you’ve lost every reason to make it work.

Friends don’t gossip about you, friends don’t try to control you and friends definitely do not make you feel inferior by not listening when you speak or by taking your opinions and feelings for granted. It took me years to realize that someone I thought would be in my life forever was merely a lesson.  A lesson to keep my heart open and to see people for who they truly are, not who they pretend to be. Sometimes the only thing left to do, is to break up. So I did.

In the first week of breaking up, my emotions were everywhere. Did I make a mistake? Was I too harsh? I don’t know. But I know it hurts and I have moments of weakness where I think to myself I really messed this one up. The only mistake I made, and I urge you to not do the same, is that I should have focused on my needs rather than focusing on her shortcomings, I’m sorry for that – it was a bitch move. Does it change how I feel, no. But considering how I felt most times after spending time with her, dropping the friendship cold-turkey was my only option.  I am also reminded of the feelings that got hurt over the years that prove, without hesitation, that it was never a true friendship to begin with. Maybe I was just desperate for a friend and blinded by the idea of a true friendship. They are quite rare, afterall. My intentions were honest from the start, but I’m not sure our intentions were mutual. 

So the ups and downs will continue, as with any break up. Some days I feel okay, and other days I feel guilty and sad. A friendship breakup can take a part of your soul, because everything you once believed in is gone. When a friendship ends, either party can be left feeling angry, hurt, rejected and even ashamed.

Unfortunately, some things also need to be done after a break up. The dreadful Facebook unfriend and blocking them form social media platforms sucks, but is necessary. And not because you want to show them you don’t care, because honestly, you'll always care, but it's better to not see what your ex-friend does, where they go or with who, without doubting your decision to let the friendship go.  It complicates things and despite the emotions and the what ifs, you need to trust yourself enough that you have indeed made the right decision - for you.

Take this survey and express your feelings if you have recently gone through a friendship break up with another women. This survey forms part of the HerStories Project and is also a true reflection of what is feels like to be a woman in a world like today.

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