Recently it was a birthday of someone I have not spoken to for about a year. I wished her and went on with my day and my life.
It reminded me of this friendship though, and our dynamic – exactly a year ago – everything was a-ok. We were getting on way better than usual, spending more time together.
Then in a text, we were joking about something, both sides took something seriously and it came to a stage where we talked about it and I told her the friendship meant alot to me. I was met with a casual brushoff and what kind of amounted to silence.
Which was weird and knowing her (we’ve known each other close to 15 years at this point), she was trying to avoid expressing her feelings and reciprocating. That actually upset me and it reached a point where I had to admit to myself what was wrong about the entire dynamic of ours, which was something I had kept to myself for a long time.
How did this happen? How did things lead up to this?
Why would someone abruptly end a friendship? Why would a friendship just end?
#1 Your dynamic has always been off but you ignored it
You may have already felt like for a long time, something was making you unhappy about your dynamic, but you couldn’t quite bring yourself to say it or admit it to yourself. Personally, my friendship dynamic had been off for a long time and I was growing resentful about it for awhile already.
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One of the biggest ones was the complete disinterest in wanting to spend time hanging out, although we rarely saw each other as it were. She make me schedule things with her ahead of time, but could never commit to the plan, or just suggest things randomly on her schedule.
She’d spend hours watching her fav celebs’ videos, reading about their news on twitter etc but never could want to come out and spend time with me. Of course we are all entitled to how we spend our time, but I do expect to see my friends from time to time if we are to maintain some sort of space in each other’s life experience. Clearly, she didn’t think the same way.
The whole dynamic made me feel like I was chasing after her and our friendship – which was maybe something she enjoyed, but I didn’t.
#2 A lack of honesty in one party or both
The lack of honesty is the basis of SO MANY issues in romantic relationships and friendships. The amount of things we hide and lie about just to maintain a certain impression to our friend and partner… we humans can be dodgy.
Dishonesty is always fine at first but once the lies start to unravel, it is very hard to forget or unsee and the trust is completely broken. Broken trust is not easy to fix. Sometimes, dishonesty unravels in a way that one or both parties are tired of living a lie, and want to break free from their image or impression they’ve painted.
So the mask lifts and their real selves come out, which always damages friendships and relationships, because this version of them wasn’t what was involved in building the foundations of the dynamic in the first place.
#3 People pleasing behaviour/a lack of boundaries
This is related to point #1 but when you are constantly playing a role in your friendships or romantic relationships, you may be putting yourself in a position that can end up with you feeling incredibly resentful, which could make you want to end things.
I am incredibly guilty of this, as a former people pleaser and as someone who never really had a sense of what my boundaries were. I am still struggling with this as I have a tendency to be an overgiver and to not speak up for my needs.
This tends to show up in my friendships where I used to turn into a people pleaser in order to spend time with the person. But this was usually not reciprocated or appreciated, which made me feel made use of and angry which turned into resentment over time, that I didn’t bother if things ended.
#4 An incident that triggered a reflection about the friendship
Just like in my case. It may be the smallest, most inconsequential thing that makes you snap and realise what your friendship is actually all about, and that you do not want to keep continuing denying your needs and not loving yourself anymore.
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If you are into astrology, the time when this occured co-incided with Saturn moving into my 11th house of friendships. This was one of 3 friendships – all long term ones, 15-20+ years that I allowed to fade out of my life, because of long-held resentment over not being treated how I wanted to be.
#5 An obvious – a fight happened which the friendship cannot recover from
I always believe that real, genuine friendships will have their fights, just like in a couple. But if you truly treasured the friendship, both sides will make amends and talk about what to do moving forward.
However, there are some conflicts that you can never quite recover from. I’ve seen friendships end over very small issues and conflicts that won’t end friendships between other people, but something between the two people is no longer the same as before.
How do you deal with a suddenly ended friendship and move on?
#1 Seek support from others for objective views
When I felt like something was off in our friendship, I consulted the views of two other close friends. Other people may not be aware of your dynamic and may struggle to give very objective advice, but a good friend will listen, and that’s what they did.
The most important thing was, I wanted support and comfort as well as a sounding board for my emotions and they were there for me.
When you are going through a confusing and sad time such as this, do look for support in someone you can trust. Someone who will be a good listener and be gentle with your feelings.
#2 Self-reflect on your friendships
I always say – the end of something opens another door for another chapter to begin. And also gives us a chance to reflect on what went wrong in the friendship and what not to repeat again in future.
For me the biggest lesson was to vet friends well from the get-go and to remember to speak up for my needs. If a person is unwilling to compromise, then it’s goodbye.
Also, friendships take time to unfold organically. Any relationship, really. So managing my expectations about a person’s behaviour in a friendship is also key.
#3 Grief and re-adjust
Your abruptly-ended friendship probably filled a certain space in your life. You probably shared memories together, jokes that only you both understood, conversations and certian routines. It’s time to say goodbye to all of these and allow your life to adjust to its absence.
Your life WILL adjust, trust me it will. I used to have really fun conversations with this former friend and jokes that only she understood. But the negatives far outweighed the positives.
I was tired of being treated like I didn’t matter, of being nice to someone who didn’t appreciate it and being met with emotional roadblocks and emotional unavailability/communication stonewalling so that she could feel in control of the situation – childish, immature and insensitive behaviour.
Goodbye, to all of that!