Brighton, UK

friendship break ups: a unique pain

Everyone has been through a break up. But the kind of break up that is never really spoken about is that of friendship. Unlike romantic relationships, where you can vent, wail on the kitchen floor with a pint of ice cream or get stupidly drunk and wake up with regrets in the morning, a friendship break up can be isolating and leave you feeling almost ashamed that it’s happened.

In honesty, I believe it is often worse than the end of a romantic relationship; although there are still the signs of the friendship breaking down and you gain an understanding that maybe it’s just not what it used to be, we still often believe friendships are there for the long run. Friendships come in all different forms and we bond with different people, without consciously realising, for different purposes / gains. You have those friends that are more like siblings and fit right in with your own family. The ones who will be down for doing absolutely nothing but being in last night’s pjs, hair greasy AF, eating dominos and watching crap. The weekend friends (or weeknight) always up for shots, shot, shots! The work friends that you love but just never see outside of work environments and the ones that you can sit with for hours talking about anything and everything or barely speaking at all.

When a friendship ends it can really suck and hurt more than you ever realised, you wonder what it is you are doing / did wrong, you were once so close, always inviting each other out, having the best days or nights full of memories that even now you can look back on and chuckle and now you are left feeling anxious and uncertain. You’ll worry that you’ll never find anyone who will understand you and your humor so well again and seeing them move on with their other chums, doing what you used to always do can leave you feeling jealous, full of FOMO or as said before ashamed.

I’ve been through friendship break ups and really still in the midst of one. It’s a strange place to be, I do still really care for said friendship, still think about them and I’ve had conversations with others who simply suggest the best thing for me to do is to walk away but I cannot bring myself to 100%. Even after all the emotions it’s put me through, the end will just seem too final, too much would be ending as it’s not just one friendship but a group and that would be closing a big HUGE chapter in my life for good. I can sit and understand that it also has caused me to become someone I’m not happy with, it made me feel small, weak and not good enough and even question other friendships I have but I also have this burning desire to prove it all wrong, prove that actually I am still that person I once was. Is that then really a friendship? When you have friends who don’t make you feel that way, who make you laugh until your sides hurt, who don’t make you feel you have to think before you speak or will wholeheartedly listen no matter what and be honest always.

I am a believer that things happen for a reason, not everything but most, with most relationships there is always a variety of reasons for them ending but retrospectively it’s usually along the lines of happiness, growth and health for all sides of the party. Even though at the time those thoughts are the furthest and seem unfathomable.

The worst part about a friendship break up is that there never seems to be any closure behind it. The break down just happens. One day you are friends and the next you’ve drifted. Maybe it’s down to the fact nobody wants to have those hard conversations, nobody ever wants to hear how someone else feels you are treating them but it’s far braver to do so. Romantic relationships always seem to have at least a bit of closure, be it ending in a furious row or even just a note left behind – you usually understand why the relationship has ended. I think after reading more about friendship breakdowns and experiencing my own, we really need to start treating them differently, having those hard conversations and not just leaving things unsaid because how are we expected to grow as people if we don’t?

I think what we need to understand is that friendships ending is part and parcel of growing up and nothing can be done when it’s time for them to end. We will never be the same person we are now, that we will be in a years time, and while some relationships will grow and adapt with these changes, others will become more like a burden and it can be a kind of relief when these are let go of, that feeling of the friendship being more damaging than good, being held back and not yourself anymore finally lifting. Either way it would just be more humble to have these conversations, accept them and kindly move on from each other.

I will never have friendships, relationships or even just passing encounters I regret in my lifetime, these have shaped and moulded me as a person. Even teaching me more about myself and what I would do better next time. Friendships, like relationships, end for a reason and even though at the time you feel alone and like you won’t get over it; it’s happened it will make sense in the long run.



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