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Friendships make up a huge chunk of our support system. They are the glue that holds it all together. If one friendship disappears, a gaping hole is left in the support web. But sometimes in life, it is necessary to let go of people that no longer serve as a support, but instead lead to stress and to problematic situations commonly referred to as “drama”. It is a hard truth to accept that not all the people that come into our lives are meant to stay. Like any successful marriage or romantic relationship, effort, time and investment is needed. If you don’t grow together, you will certainly grow apart. So how do you decide when it is time to divorce a friend?

Just because you have a big blow-out does not mean the friendship is over. If a situation has come about that has caused a rift, careful consideration and time spent re-evaluating your relationship should be taken. The hardest lesson to learn is when to walk away, and you do not want to lose a good friend out of foolish anger. So let’s say you’ve taken the above steps and have come to decide the cons far outweigh the pros. Here is some information to consider before giving your friend their walking papers. This information will help you make the cleanest cut possible and move on to more productive and enjoyable friendships.

  • No one is the perfect friend. We all have different friends for different reasons. The drinking buddy, the work friend, the best friend, the hobby friend, etc. No one person can offer you absolute perfection in friendship. And that is okay. If you have to have perfection, you might not have friends. This is the time to take a look at yourself and how you have acted. If you are found at fault, accept the responsibility and apologize.
  • People change, even your closest friends. Sometimes the change is for the worse and good friends call each other out on these unhealthy changes. Communication is needed and should always be the first course of action. It may be that the change is so drastic that it is grounds for going your separate ways. If your friend has no clue and has been walking around with blinders on, it’s fair to tell them and give them a chance to change. If no change is made, it’s then fair to say the friendship has run its course.
  • Casual friends don’t warrant a break-up. Often times casual friends are classified as new friends. We try people on like hats. If it’s a fit, great, if not, the easiest thing is to keep your distance and “fade away quietly”. Usually, they get the hint. Don’t stress yourself out thinking you warrant them a huge farewell.
  • Be honest with your close friends. Confrontation is not something we all wake up in the morning dying to do. It is unpleasant with someone who is important to you and it hurts to tell the person that this may be the end of the road. But honesty really is the best policy. Not only will you feel better, your soon-to-be ex-friend will appreciate the talk and maybe it was all a misunderstanding. Good communication may lead to reconciliation or it may lead to a confirmation of why you no longer desire to be their friend in the first place. But no matter how angry you are or how justified you may be in calling off the friendship, respect their feelings and be honest or they will never be able to atone for what went wrong.
  • Some friendships are or become TOXIC. A friendship should, for the most part, bring out the best in you. Friendship is a two-way street. One person cannot uphold a relationship all on their own. That is not a friendship. The dictionary defines a friend as “One attached to another by respect or affection.” Note the most important word, as Aretha sang, RESPECT. If a friend cannot grant you the courtesy of respect, they are not deserving of your friendship.

I do not advocate the breaking up of friendships. It’s a sad day when you have to let a friend go, and even sadder when you realize that the phrase “true friends are your friend no matter what” just doesn’t hold for every situation. A real friend is someone who gives you respect, honesty and continuous support. If you are someone who has realized that maybe you haven’t been the best friend you should be, it’s never too late to make amends. Here are three things to ask yourself if you have been given your walking papers and are baffled why:

  • Communication.When was the last time you actually called up your friend just to ask them how they’ve been or what’s new with them? You may find that you have unintentionally have been calling them up only to ask for something or to just talk about yourself.
  • Activity.When was the last time you made the effort to set up a time and place to do something with your friend? Have you been consistently extending invitations to hang out? Carving out time for your friendships are extremely important. Quality time together deepens your bond.
  • Support.When was the last time you offered to be there for your friend without them asking you? Or when was the last time you returned a favor they did for you without them asking? Sometimes, people feel taken advantage of when one is giving and the other is always taking. People don’t always realize what is going on so don’t beat yourself up. Make amends and work toward seeing situations objectively rather than subjectively.

These three things are the bare bones of any friendship. When one is off balance, the rest of the friendship is thrown into upheaval. Whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, always try to salvage a good friend and know that an unhealthy friend is better left behind you.

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