{the life} When Friendships Break

by Rachel on March 2, 2012

I’m feeling quite sad today because last night, I broke up with a friend.

It was really hard, one of the hardest moments I’ve ever had in a personal relationship. It was hard because I’ve never really broken up with anyone before, at least not in a mature way. It was hard because I loved my friend so much and I didn’t want to say good-bye to her. It was hard because it was actually a totally mutual decision that she knew needed to happen too. And ultimately, it was hard because it was so not messy. Fuck people and what they say about girls and drama; this was the cleanest breakup I’ve ever had. And that it was so clean was, to me, such a testament to how this friendship had helped us over the years. It was thinking, Wow, without this friend, I wouldn’t be able to break up with this friend. That thought just made me so sad.

Afterward, I tried to just have a normal evening, because really, I felt a little embarrassed about how sad I was feeling. I’ve never heard anyone say that crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is standard behavior after you break up with a friend (because I’ve never heard anyone really talk about what it feels like to break up with a girl friend) so I didn’t know if it was OK to want to do that. I tried to be normal, but I felt awful. All I could really do was sit on the couch in my comfy clothes, holding my dogs and just feeling a very dull ache in my chest.

I actually know this feeling well. One of things I’ve always found difficult about modern relationships is the fact that we only seem to give credit to Official Relationships per the Ministry of Facebook.

Before I met Eric, I did a lot of dating and a lot of “is this dating?” I hung out. I was kinda into a guy who was kinda into me. These often felt like relationships because they taught me important lessons about, well, relating and brought real disappointment when they ended. But they were still hard to talk about. I could never say, “I’m sad that I broke up with my boyfriend” because, well, he wasn’t my boyfriend in the strictest sense, and so what right did I have to be sad?

But I still find this so unfair. Whenever a relationship like this ended, I’d think, This went on for a while! This was something! I want credit for what we had and sympathy for this pain I’m feeling, damnit. I felt really sad, but I also felt so embarrassed for being so upset over a guy who wasn’t officially anything to me. I never really knew how sad I was “supposed” to be or “allowed” to be, so I felt ashamed talking about how I felt or for putting time and effort into getting over it. Grieving a relationship was for people in real relationships, I always thought. If it wasn’t on Facebook, I shouldn’t feel this sad.

This morning, I woke up and still felt that dull ache in my chest. As I was doing my makeup, I thought about my friend and our friendship and I started to cry. That was the moment I knew that I had had the dull ache in my chest last night because I’m actually really heartbroken.

And then I realized to not be heartbroken right now, or to tell myself I shouldn’t be heartbroken, is as unfair to me now as it was when I was “sort of dating.” And further, it’s just an insult to friend relationships. But I had actually been insulting this friendship for a long time.

I had thoughts about breaking up, but I always shook them off and dismissed the pain we were causing each other because, well, I felt like it wasn’t that big of a deal if I stayed in a friendship that was essentially over. I would never let myself stay in a romantic relationship that was causing me so much stress, but for some reason, I’d stay in a friendship that was. Perhaps it’s because we can have so many friends that makes it a lot harder to walk away from a friend. Being friends with someone doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with other people, so the sense of urgency is gone. With romantic relationships, I always had a sense of, “I don’t want to waste my time on someone when I could be out there looking for something better.” But I’ve never heard that I’m “wasting my time” on a friendship.

The thing is, I feel like I’m wasting my time whenever I choose to stay in a situation that hurts me, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a job I hate. By acting like it was OK to settle on a friendship, I actually wasn’t giving enough credit to friendships. A friendship can be an extremely powerful relationship and to act like friends don’t have the power to hurt us so deeply that we have to walk away somehow cheapens the relationship. I didn’t realize until this morning that it’s because this friendship was so important to me is exactly why it was OK — and necessary — to end it.

So today I’m letting myself feel really sad. I don’t know what getting over a friendship looks like, but I know it doesn’t look like telling everyone I’m fine.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 deva at deva by definition March 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

Oh wow. I’m sorry – breaking up with a friend sucks and it’s something I’ve really only done once – many, many years ago. She and I really drifted apart, so it happened more organically, but I knew we were done talking when she and I started ending voicemails to each other with “if you want to call me back – you don’t have to,” and that’s when I knew that maybe it was time to move on. It can sting a bit looking back, because she was a really good friend to me throughout my teenage years, but we really did drift into different directions.

Give yourself time. Ben and Jerry’s is okay. Crying is okay. It gets better.

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2 RAIN March 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

I think being sad is honest, and true, and I have been there before.
I have been through this before, and I still think of my ex-friend, and I still feel sad about it at times. But I know I am better off without her, as sad as it makes me to say/feel that, it’s the truth.
Friendships are very powerful, very important…they take work and committment, and communication. They are much like a romantic relationship in that sense.
I always like that saying, I don’t know exactly how it goes, but something about surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good, who are positive, and who make you a better person….and separating yourself from people who are negative and hurt you.

You will feel better about this after a time, but you will always remember her.

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3 Renee March 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

WOW I have to say you’ve inspired me

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4 Jenn March 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

Gosh, that’s terrible.. I’m sorry to hear that. Once I had a friend break up with me (and she didn’t handle it delicately, either). It was then that I realized her and I weren’t compatible like we used to be..and that it was better she was breaking things off, because I didn’t want to be associated with someone so self-absorbed.

I’m happy you recognize how full circle friendships can be.. without her, you wouldn’t have been able to break up with her. Take what you learned from this friendship and apply it to the next. Just like romantic relationships, they help you learn more about yourself, what you want from life, and what makes you truly happy in the end.

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5 Marcee .... ILLINOIS March 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

Wow ….. all these posts are teaching me things. Everyone has interesting stories and definite ideas.

For sure, we all have sensitive feelings. With that being said …. I do like the idea of “fading out” a BBF relationship. It happens more than we all think. Growing + learning doesn’t always work for some folks.

Of course, I experienced like-wise frienship busts. Bound to happen. LIfe is so involved for all of us. We just never know from one day, week, month or year, what will happen.

Good to talk it over though.

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6 Diane March 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

At what point do you think an official “break up” conversation is necessary? I’ve usually allowed the slow fade to happen, figuring that if we don’t have enough in common or the desire to hang out on a regular basis, that’s all the confirmation I need.

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7 Rachel March 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

I’m not a big fan of the slow fade in relationships, with friends or with guys. It just feels so unfinished, you know? I suppose it’s different if you just clearly don’t have a lot in common and there’s sort of a mutual understanding that you probably won’t actually call each other again, but I think that’s tricky because you might think it’s a mutual thing and she is actually really confused because she thought things were fine.

I think that the more you talk to your friend/the closer you are, the more there is a need for an official breakup conversation. I don’t think you can or should just fade out on someone you talk to every day. I think it’s wrong to have someone go from being your #1 to suddenly being the last to hear major life updates, getting them via Facebook like everyone else without any explanation; it’s confusing and it’s also really hurtful.

Also, people deserve to know why things went wrong. If someone is choosing not to be friends with me anymore, I’d like to know why. I think that we all want and really deserve explanations and would prefer a conversation about what happened to the slow fade.

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8 lynne @lgsmash March 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

i really appreciate this post – i’ve had a friend who i’ve considered many times that it’s time to ‘break up’ but like you said, it’s been ‘easier’ to suffer through it or think it’s just a rough time rather than to address the issue and the things that stress me out. i’m not ready to break up with this friend right now but this post gave me a lot to think about.

i also think it’s completely acceptable to be sad about the friend (and non-official boyfriends) situation. they may not be your Significant Other (per facebook or otherwise) but they were still someone you’d invested time and emotion into. and when you realize that the time and emotion weren’t worth it or if that time and emotion poured in didn’t pan out how you’d thought, official or not, it’s sad!

sending you a virtual hug – eat the B&Js and cry your tears – this too will get better!

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9 Lindsay March 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

Oye, this really stinks, and there is no other way to say it.

I went through a similar situation right after college. I realized that a girl who I had been really really close with just wasn’t up to maintaining our friendship once we no longer lived in the same zip code. And it really did/still does feel like a boyfriend I had to break up with. Even now when I look through pictures etc. it gives me a little twang knowing how close we used to be, and I miss her, but I know for now our time as friends is over. Every once in a while we’ll send a “Remember when…?” text but that’s about it. I’m not saying we can’t be friends ever again, but I know that the effort will have to come from her next time.

Even then, sometimes you just have to stop and look around and appreciate the people you can count on…my good friends think I’m such a nerd but at least once I month I text them all just to literally say “Hey dear, I really appreciate you” haha so lame, but I can’t help it. But for now your sadness is more than justified. So embrace that ice cream, don’t hold back any tears, and like Deva said…it will definitely get better <3

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10 Marcee .... ILLINOIS March 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

Yeah …. wow, I totally agree Lindsay.

After college gradulation was really tough. After several years two of my best friends were like gone forever. To this day it really is hurtful. I thought we’d be tight throughout our lives. Not so. Things happen. Gotta move on.

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11 Dori March 2, 2012 at 11:56 am

My biggest heartbreak was from a girlfriend who abruptly ended our friendship back in 2004. It still feels raw, even today. I’m definitely over it and I know it was for the best, but ending friendships is a very hard, difficult thing that doesn’t get talked about so much. I’ve also done the breaking, but not in the mature way you handled it. I’ve just straight up cut people out . . . the way that one girl did to me. I don’t think it is necessarily the right way, but ending friendships is such an awkward thing.

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12 Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy March 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Ugh. I just went through this. It’s awful. I even found myself listening to a song that made me think of our friendship and it made me cry. I think friendships are just as hard to let go of as relationships, if not harder. I think friendship is the foundation of any relationship, and once that is broke, it’s often irreparable. Things are definitely still weird between us, especially since we still see each other often. Sorry to hear you’re going through this, sending hugs.

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13 Marla March 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I loved this because I HATE the friend break-up. Even when it’s clearly for the best, I’ve found that it always hurts. I wish we saw this addressed a little more in movies/TV shows/etc… ‘friends forever!’ just isn’t always practical.

I wonder if the formal friend breakup is going to become more common now? Technology makes it so easy to stay in touch that the old slow fade just doesn’t seem as likely.

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14 Bess @ I Dream of Greenie March 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I have more often that not been the one who initiated a friend breakup, though just because I was the one who did it, didn’t mean it was easy or something that I didn’t experience heartbreak over.

All I can say is good on you for allowing yourself to experience these emotions and acknowledge that while you know the friendship is no longer healthy for either of you, you will always wish the best for her.

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15 Jasmine March 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm

When I was 23 or 24, a really good friend backstabbed me in an awful way (I lost my job over it) and then she just disappeared. She never said she was sorry, she never called, and I never even saw her ever again (not even on FB). It has bothered me for years, and honestly, really affected my trust of people for years.

She definitely broke my heart.

We don’t expect to have our hearts broken by friends. We do (generally) expect heartbreak in significant other relationships. In that way, friend heartbreak can be even more jarring.

If I’ve learned nothing in my life, it’s that everything gets better with time.

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16 Rachel March 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

“We don’t expect to have our hearts broken by friends. We do (generally) expect heartbreak in significant other relationships. In that way, friend heartbreak can be even more jarring.”

Thank you for saying this so articulately. Yes. Totally. I think that’s why I feel so weird and sad today.

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17 Miss Beasley March 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Yes, this was said much more eloquently than I have said, but you’re so right on. There’s always an expectation that our hearts can be broken when we’re dating, but we’re programmed to have friendships last forever. And it’s hard when they are broken. And being reduced to feeling like “silly girls” when we are truly hurting. I’ve been on both sides of the fence – and it’s never easy. But people come in and out of life for a reason, and it’s best to recognize them for the good they brought into your life and keep moving.

So thanks for this comment. ITA.

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18 janetha March 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This post was necessary for me to read. Thanks, love.

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19 Sara March 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I usually don’t post comments but I had to say something about this.

A few years ago, my best friend from high school completely broke my heart. We had a really strong bond, a lot of quirky inside jokes and knew each other’s deepest secrets. But the relationship was toxic for both of us, and eventually the stuff she constantly pulled (and got away with) just stressed me out/wore me out. I ended up snapping at her, she got super defensive and we ended up just really upset with each other. As a testament to our closeness, we talked it out to see if we could repair what we broke and just couldn’t get it back. We had a really nice last dinner together where we both apologized for our mutual problems and acknowledged that the friendship was basically over. I felt exactly the same way you do now. Just really sad, and missing the old her.

I haven’t spoken to her in a while, and I hear about what she’s up to through mutual friends – sometime see her at parties but we rarely speak. I still miss our friendship a lot, but I think the people I’ve chosen to have in my life are healthy for me. I would rather have close healthy relationships than the stressful drama I had to deal with when I was friends with her.

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20 Manon March 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

This is very interesting to me….I guess I’ve never had the “official” we aren’t friends anymore break up with a friend….it has just always happened organically where we drifted apart, and just didn’t talk anymore, and luckily it has never been a close friend. This post brings a whole different perspective, and a good one, that just because we aren’t boning our friends, it doesn’t mean that friendships aren’t relationships, and we should treat them that way–nurture them that way, and end them the same way as well.

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21 Rachel March 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

“…that just because we aren’t boning our friends, it doesn’t mean that friendships aren’t relationships, and we should treat them that way–nurture them that way, and end them the same way as well.” THIS. Yes. You said it so well while still managing to get the word “boning” in there. Love you.

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22 Manon March 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The love is mutual :)

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23 Laura Georgina March 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Ouch. I’m so sorry–and I’m so glad that you’re being so honest about it. We NEVER hear about how hard it is when a friendship ends (and when people put an end to it). It’s a testament to both you and your friend that you can’t say you’re OK… but it will feel better with time.

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24 Elle March 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I think you make an excellent point. I’ve been thinking lately about friendships and how similar they are to romantic relationships. I mean, the way love is expressed is obviously different, but they both require cultivating, attention, and work to be successful. Isn’t it weird that we place so much more emphasis on cultivating our romantic relationships and yet expect our friendships to be effortless? And don’t address issues in them the way we would if we were dating a person? I have a friend who I was Best Friends (capital letters status) with in high school, but as time as gone by I find that we have nothing in common anymore, barely talk, and yet when we’re both in town we have a weird, forced get-together that frankly isn’t fun for either of us. Why? If I was dating someone and this happened, I would probably break up with them. It sucks that you and your friend had to break up, but I also think it speaks volumes about your maturity as a person that you were able to address this head-on, as it should have been. I hope you feel better soon!

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25 Rachel March 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

“Isn’t it weird that we place so much more emphasis on cultivating our romantic relationships and yet expect our friendships to be effortless? And don’t address issues in them the way we would if we were dating a person?” YES. It’s SO weird! I feel like our culture in general treats certain relationships as the end-all, be-all (basically male-female relationships that have the word “married” on them) and others just get neglected. I think it would help a ton if we heard more about these other relationships or saw them given equal screen time more often.

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26 Stina March 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I think friend break-ups, especially with close or long time friends, are more painful than break-ups with a significant other. I also think that dull ache tends to stick around longer in friend break-ups.

I broke-up with my best friend since high school. Our friendship had been broken for quite a while, and we just kept trying to force it. Sometimes we would find sucess and things would be “like they used to be,” but ultimately things would fall apart just as quickly. Finally I just gave up. There wasn’t any sort of official break-up conversation because at that point I no longer had it in me to devote another ounce of energy to things. (It was also partially because I’d been in the relationship long enough to her, myself, and how things would turn out. I’d eventually end up talking myslf out of the break-up and apologizing for things I didn’t do wrong.)

This was over a year ago, and there still isn’t a week that goes by where I do think about her and miss her. It could be a song on the radio, a Facebook joke, hell even certain commercial bring back the nostalgia…but in the end, I know that abandoning the friendship was the right thing to do. I’ve built stronger relationships with other friends, and I’ve made new friends. Even my relationship with my boyfriend is better because I am in a much better place as a result of our friend break-up.

There will always be a place in my heart for my former best friend, as I’m sure there will always be a special place in your heart for the friend you’ve broken up with, and I will always love her, but in the end, I know I made the right decision.

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27 Rachel March 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thank you for for this comment! It’s so sad to think that I’ll always miss her,, but it’s good to know that you are so confident that that pain is worth it in the long run.

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28 Melissa March 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I have been there, on both sides, and it sucks. Friend heartbreak is a real thing, with a real mourning period, and it’s hard because I don’t think it gets acknowledged as such. Also, things like Facebook can make it so much worse when you can see what your former friend has been getting up to without you, especially if you still have friends in common.

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29 Jessica March 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Going through this now, and it gets even more confusing when your friend breakup is with a guy. Not a “sorta dating” situation, just a guy BFF and no one understands your feelings/mourning without there being a romantic link. Jasmine, above, said it best. Thanks for the post!

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30 Aly March 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm

It’s kind of funny because when I “broke up” with my long time friend, like childhood friend, I felt like I needed to talk about it so badly but no one really understand. I feel like breaking up with a friend isn’t taken seriously when just because you didn’t date someone, doesn’t mean they weren’t a part of your life for a really long time and it hurts because how do you even grieve properly for the end of the relationship when it’s trivialized. It does get better but as someone pointed out, it definitely gave me a lot of trust issues.

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31 Jenny March 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you’ve been! I found your blog fairly recently and I’m constantly amazed at how each post is held to such a intelligent, thought-provoking, and valuable standard. This post, in addition to your engagement post really helped me reevaluate and take action within my own life, and made me feel like it was OK to do so! I hope it helps to know that even though you’re hurting, by sharing the experience you’re helping other folks that are going through the same ordeal by giving a bit of guidance, perspective and making them feel less alone. Thank you for that!

p.s. Project Runway helps too!

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32 Lara March 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I have gone through a breakup with a girlfriend before that sadly, WASN’T so clean, and we have sense mended things up a little bit…but I’m pretty sure they will never be quite the same again. I am potentially going through something similar with another friend that I am really dreading having to face.

I admire the way you’ve handled this and hope to have a similar grace if my situations continue going down the road they are on…

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33 Shannon March 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I had to break up with my BEST friend several years ago (she had expressly told me that she was having a hard time with my life going so well and hers going poorly, and that she didn’t like me anymore because of it).
A week later, her sibling committed suicide, and I completely went back to her to support her during the funeral and mourning process, but then ultimately had to re-sever the friendship again much later when she still clearly disliked me, making it DOUBLY painful, and I looked like a huge bitch to everyone who heard (her side of) the story. It was a mess.
I’m sorry for your loss. :(

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34 Meg March 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I am so sorry you had to go through this. I want to know who wrote the rule that said only a breakup with a partner is worthy of community solace. Really? Isn’t it our girlfriends who support us when we breakup with the romance du jour? Isn’t it our relationships with our girlfriends that is typically longer lived? Those long, seasoned, extended-family relationships are the cornerstone of who we are. They are worth honoring. And when they end, they are also worth solace while we mourn the loss.

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35 Liza March 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I guess I am kind of confused by why you decided to end the friendship? Did she ditch you a lot? Did you make plans and she would break them? I mean I know it’s hard ending a friendship, but the only ones I’ve ever ended have been because my friend was a complete bitch. So needless to say I wasn’t heartbroken over it.
I have two best friends. One is in their first year of residency in Ohio. The other has a six month old baby and is a full time mom, also in Ohio. I live in NYC. My life is in no way shape or form like theirs right now, but I would never think of ending our friendship.

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36 Rachel March 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

I didn’t want to go into the details in my post, but basically, the friendship was just taking more out of me than it was giving me and I was unhappy. While it was my friend’s “fault” by that description, she still has a lot of great qualities and we had been friends for a very long time, so it’s hard to only see the bad now that it’s over, you know? (Like any relationship.)

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37 Liza March 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Thanks for the clarification!

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38 Lori March 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Oh Rachel. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I can tell you, many years out after major falling out with a group of friends and a mutual email breakup with my best friend…it gets better. The heartbreak does lessen although after 5 years it’s not gone. As my mother counselled me through that tough time: some friends are in your life for a reason, some for a season, some for a lifetime. Best wishes!

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39 Jess-ThatJessGal March 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

As a high school teacher I seem to spend a lot of my planning periods will upset teenagers in my classroom in need of consolation. (PS. I’m in no way calling this situation/post a teenage melodrama, because it’s beautiful, honest and adult. Bear with me.) The one piece of advice I find fitting for the situation, regardless of if they are experiencing distress with a significant other, best friend, parent or even the loss of a beloved pet is: To be in a relationship of any kind means you have to put yourself out there. When you do there is a good chance you might get hurt. You also might create some of the best moments of your life. You just have to make sure there is more of the later than the former.

Obviously you did what you had to, to ensure you had more of the later than the former. That is a very hard decision to make when it comes to a friend. I’m having a very similar situation with a best friend of 8 years and while I’m not ready to break it off with her yet, I understand your sadness completely.

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40 K @ The Chic Teach March 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Wow, this really struck me deep at my heart! I’ve broken up with friends, but never maturely or cleanly. And it suuuuuuuuucks. I have so much respect and love for you, for vocalizing your feelings and being real with the whole internet.

Getting over a friendship, for me, has taken longer than any other heartbreak I’ve imagined. But you just keep on trucking…

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41 K @ The Chic Teach March 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

*experienced, not imagined!

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42 Nicole @ Giraffelegs March 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I had to breakup with a friend earlier this year, and it wasn’t amicable so that most definitely sucked. However I just went through a romantic breakup and that was more awful because it was so mutual. IDK sometimes I think it would be easier if the guy/girl was a prick/douche so that you didn’t feel half as shitty.

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43 Rachel March 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

Totally agree…it’s SO much easier to break up with someone who is straight-up horrible to you! Unfortunately, most of us deal with people in that grey area more often than not I think.

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44 Kaylyn March 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I’m going to have to disagree with you guys here. I understand how it would be easy to think that, but it’s not the case. Well…not my case. And mine is complicated haha I was friends with this girl for 14 years. All through middle and high school and well into our adult lives. She needed a place to crash when she was leaving her boyfriend whom she lived with in another (close) state. Her crashing on my couch ended up being her living there for 6 months rent free before she got a job. She started paying a little rent after we talked about it and came to an agreement. Then one day, only 2 months later. she quit her job and didn’t tell me. Because she owed me some back rent. Then she started not coming home until well after I was asleep and started ignoring my texts. She wouldn’t even let me talk about things with her. She moved out within a couple weeks of quitting her job. Without giving me the money she owed me. She blatantly lied to our mutual friends about what had happened, avoided me ad made me feel like a crazy bitch.
I just thought that after 14 years of being best friends, that she would at least talk to me. When she did finally talk to me, it was to call me while I was on vacation in Florida (my first ever real adult vacation) to scream at me for trying to steal her current boyfriend. Who I absolutely wanted nothing to do with. He lied to her though and she chose to believe him. We haven’t talked since. It’s been over a year. I miss her all the time and I’m angry about the way things went still. I know that because of the way things went I’m now unable to trust people the way I used to. I’m paranoid about everything and everyone. The problem is I have reason to be paranoid it seems. We knew each other for over half our lives and we know a lot of the same people. And she tells everyone willing to listen how much of a bitch I am…It’s not fair. And I know, life isn’t fair. But these are the feelings I’m still having, a year later. It was a messy, horrible friend break up. It does get easier to deal with after time. But it was a real relationship and just like sometimes a song will remind me of a certain ex, there are things that make me think of this friend and I don’t think that will ever change.

I guess I don’t have a real point. Maybe I just needed to share my story. Because you’re right. It’s hard to talk about this kind of thing because people brush it off so easily. But the pain is so real.

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45 Sage March 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Oh, I feel for you! I’ve broken up with friends before and it’s always more painful than breaking up with a boyfriend. It took a real long time, but I’m able to look back on those friendships and feel happy about the good times. Having those experiences made it worth it even if we couldn’t stay friends forever.

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46 brianna March 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

as a college student about to enter the “real world”, i really enjoy your blog. i’m a frequent reader, but have never commented before. but you brought up a topic that really struck a chord with me today: the issue of not being able to feel sad over “unofficial” relationships. i feel that no one really discusses this for fear of looking foolish. consider writing a whole post on this topic! please!

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47 Megan C. March 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I’m so sorry you’re hurting. A break-up hurts whether it is romantic or platonic.

As a military brat I never had to deal with friendship break-ups because we would move and the friendship would naturally fade away on its own. But now I’ve lived in the same area for the past 10 years and there have been a few friends who I thought I would be friends with forever but due to different reasons we’ve separated. And it is hard to lose a friend even if it is for the best.

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48 Andi March 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

The last time I cried was over a fight with a friend. I have only a handful of close friends and they can hurt me faster than any fight with my man. But it’s a rare thing usually borne out of misunderstandings, thankfully.

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49 Kendra March 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I’m a little behind the times in reading this but I couldn’t NOT comment.

I’ve been struggling so much with grief over a relationship that wasn’t Facebook official and feeling like it wasn’t valid to do so. I really appreciated this post.

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50 Emily Susan March 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I have had only one really bad dramatic friend break up, and I really miss her, but what it has taken me years to realize is that I don’t miss the person she is now, I miss who she was.

When I say I miss her, it seems obvious to call her up or hang out, but those calls and drinks would be hollow and sad because the person I loved has changed, and gone in a direction that I cannot support.

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51 kimmy March 12, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I’ve recently just had a falling out with one of my best friends as well. I’m not sure if this is “the break up” or not, but this type of thing has happened to us before. I honestly don’t think we will ever get back to where we were. What kills me the most is that she won’t even talk to me about it. This is someone who knows EVERYTHING about me, but will not give me the time of day. I have had plenty of not-official-relationships with guys end this way (which suck too!), but this is an entirely new kind of hurt that I feel. I basically said what I needed to say via text and that did make me feel a little better, but now I just have to accept that she really isn’t meant to be in my life. Its hard to accept.

To echo what Emily said above me, I saw this friend over the weekend when out with mutual friends and I got the obligatory, awkard, empty hug. She might as well have punched me in the stomach. I refuse to be fake nice. That was a fake hug and a low blow that left me feeling angry all over again (so I came back to read your post and comment!)

Thank you, Rachel, for posting this.

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52 Rachel March 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I think you’re both very fortunate that the breakup was mutual. I think it’s hard no matter what, but it adds an extra layer of difficulty if a friendship is taking a lot out of you and you’re the only one in the relationship who feels that way. There a lot of good points on here about how we just expect friendships to be so effortless, but most of them are not! Those conversations are so hard to have when you’re the only one who feels that way though.

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53 Bronwyn March 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Obviously I’m a little late in reading this post, but I couldn’t not comment. I am in the middle of considering breaking up with one of my long term friends.
But I wonder, like with some romantic break-ups, can there be friendship after “ending” a friendship? I know this sounds weird, but the truth is if I break up with this friend, we will almost certainly see each other frequently, she is one of my best friends, and we have mutual best friends and one happens to be her twin… I guess my biggest problem with breaking up in this situation is the consequences it will have for my other relationships, and while I know this friendship is toxic (and we really haven’t seen each other much or talked since January) I’m not sure how to make it official without ruining some of my other relationships.

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54 Kaylyn March 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I just want to say thank you for this post. I replied to a comment further up, but I didn’t say thank you. It is such a hard thing to have to go through and you don’t really have any help navigating it because no one talks about the friend break up. Sometimes I just feel crazy, and this has helped me feel a little less crazy.

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55 S September 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I had to make the painful choice to end a ‘friendship’ with a man that I have grown to really care for over the last 5 months. Real, genuine friendship means providing support, trust, unconditional care and feelings that are not selfish or self-serving. My feelings for him were deeper than that, and I could no longer be authentic, when I was hoping for more. He did not feel the same. I will truly miss him and even though we only knew one another for a
brief time, my life was exponentially made happier and more enriched because of him. I hope that I gave him some of that as well.

Be true to yourselves and never settle for less than you want or deserve. You can’t imagine how liberating it is to
finally let go of that which you cannot change.

Peace

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