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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BFF Break-Up

We all have friends, people we confide in, talk to about our problems, successes, secrets... but what happens when a friendship isn't the right fit for your life anymore? How can you break-up with a friend, and better yet, should you?

When we get into romantic relationships everything is questioned; Are we a couple? Do we like each other? Can I take a number 2 at his place yet? When, or if, you both realize it isn't going to work anymore, you break-up. No one is held accountable for the break-up. Sure, one of you may have been surprised, but did you really want to be with someone that didn't want to be with you? You took your time, you revealed yourself bit by bit, you communicated where you were in your relationship, and when it didn't work out, it ended. 

But when it comes to friendships we tend to jump right in. We meet someone and don't question the circumstances. We make plans, and unlike making dates, it isn't stressful. We have fun without questioning why, or how long it will last. We share common interests, experience new things, and can be comfortable in silence or talk for hours. But what if it doesn't work anymore? You tend to fight more than laugh, get offended more than feel proud, and screen calls more than you would answer them. It's the end of the relationship but is our only option to keep them in our lives - or - can we break-up with our best friends?

We've seen it on TV - Hannah and Marnie have an epic battle of the 'wounds' in HBO Girls, and their friendship ended shortly after. Although they remained acquaintances/casual friends, they had a BFF Break-Up. 

In some periods of our life, it can feel like we have a revolving door of friends. None of them seem to stick.

We are in our twenties now and a lot of things change. We can go from job to job, priority to priority, and sometimes our friends won't transition with our twentysomething lifestyle. Does it make you a bad person? No. 

There are 3 ways to 'break-up' with a friend: 

1. Phase Out - You make fewer plans, respond at a slower pace, and busy yourself with other people and projects. I've been phased out before. It was exceptionally well done, I didn't even notice we weren't friends anymore. 
2. Be Direct - You ask for space and tell them why you need it. 
3. Silence - You simply never speak again.

A 'phase-out' is the lesser of 3 evils. No one likes to hear why they no longer 'fit' in your life, when only moments ago they would have trusted you with theirs. And being silent leaves tension. It feels like you're standing on the edge of a cliff and a breeze could knock you over, or bring you back to solid ground - It's awkward and confusing. Phasing out gives you both the space, and the time, it takes to learn to live without one another. 

When it comes to potential boyfriends,  I never felt the guilt of breaking up with them, or caring about the 'after second date' silence. Just because we weren't meant to be together, doesn't mean we deserve to be alone, or that we are unlovable or intolerable, it just means we weren't right for each other.

But when it comes to friends, break-ups aren't expected. It feels weird to say to a friend "I don't want to see you anymore", when usually that conversation is reserved for someone we don't want to start a family with, and yet friendships are just as important. Sometimes you can 'date' your friends for so long you're in a comfort zone. The fear of getting out of the relationship is your only motivation to stay in it. It doesn't make you a bad person to leave relationships behind, you're simply making the decision to surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you, so you can be the best for them.

For those of you that really dislike being disliked, there is the avenue of 'toleration'. You pick up the phone, even when you don't want to. You hang out once a month, and dread it. You go to each others birthday parties, and try to pretend you know one another. But in the end - do you want to build a friendship that was never meant to be?


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