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Friendship breakups are the worst. Here’s how to handle them

Text: Nicola Davidson; Photography: IMAXtree

Friendship breakups are the worst. Here’s how to handle themLet’s face it, breaking up is hard to do. So much so, there are even songs about it. But breaking up with a partner is one thing, severing ties with someone who used to be your best friend is another thing altogether. Should you wash your hands of the friendship once and for all, and if so, how? Let’s take a look. 

Something’s changed…

You and your friend used to be BFFs. You laughed together, cried together, drank many happy-hour cocktails together. But now her attitude towards you has changed. Rather than being a positive influence on your life, she’s become a toxic one. Maybe she makes you feel bad about yourself. Maybe meeting up with her is always a draining and exhausting exercise. Maybe you don’t like who you become around her or you don’t like her full stop. Whatever the reason, the thought of life without her is becoming more and more appealing. But what can you do?

Set boundaries 

If you truly want to keep your friendship, but just don’t have as much time or energy to commit to it anymore, then say so. Set specific boundaries if there are areas in which you want to take a step back, or simply let her know that you can’t spend as much time together as before. Either way, make it clear that there are limits you won’t compromise on. 

Phase it out 

Sometimes friendships end when two people grow apart, and often this type of breakup is a more organic one. If you feel that you and your bestie have become different people with different interests, you can let the friendship fade naturally by communicating and meeting up less. If both of you are in the same headspace with regards to your friendship, phasing it out is an easy, non-confrontational option. 

Have ‘the conversation’ 

No boundaries, no fading – you want to end the friendship and you want to end it now. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have a talk with your friend, the same way you would when breaking up with a romantic partner. SMSing is a no-no (don’t be ‘that girl’), but a clear, well-considered email or letter is a viable option. The best choice is a face-to-face meeting with direct and specific dialogue. Be compassionate, be respectful, but above all, be clear on your needs. Then go home and eat a tub of ice cream or open a bottle of wine. Because, yes, breaking up is hard to do.

Relationship problems. We all have them. We solve 4 common relationship problems, here! And be sure to check out these 5 reasons to consider dating your best friend.

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