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Dumping a Friend
We have all had friends that no longer bring anything meaningful to our lives. It is a process to even acknowledge and accept that a friendship has fallen flat. It can feel like a drag or a chore to connect or attempt to make plans. You may find yourself not responding to their texts or tags on social media the way you once did. Spending time with new or different friends more and less time with that person who no longer seems to be high up on our priorities. Or perhaps there has been a betrayal or major boundary crossed and it’s not something you want to forgive and forget.
One of the hardest parts of this, is that we are not taught how to end friendships and the idea of dumping a friend can create anxiety and stress. These are four common ways friendships end:
- The Classic Fade Away: This is for those friendships where a natural distance may have already started. In a bizarre way, it may already feel mutual. It may seem like the easy and passive way out; however, letting the natural distance continue between you and your “friend” is one of the simplest ways to transition out of the relationship. Friendships are a two way street and if both of you are not putting in effort or communicating, take that as your out and go with it!
- The Mutual Decision: This is like the unicorn of breakups-and to be honest, it requires both people to be mature and kind. When you have a special and close bond with a friend and you know something isn’t right, perhaps it’s time to check in and put the drowning friendship out of its misery. The goodbye can be acknowledged and both can move forward separately. Every person brings their own history to the relationships they have. Some people aren’t able to give another what they require to have their cup filled. Sometimes we have to say goodbye and both parties need to move forward on their own. This can be painful, even when it’s a mutual decision.
- Snip. Delete. Block: This is a quick although not necessarily painless decision to cut someone out of your life. There isn't fade away, it’s not a mutual decision, and there likely has been zero communication about the problem. Truth be told, you aren’t interested in hearing what they have to say and you’re over it. Snip. Delete. Block.
- Biting The Bullet: Biting the bullet means to endure the unavoidable pain of an unpleasant situation. This is one of the toughest to move through and the root cause tends to be a heartbreaking realization; betrayal or crossing a boundary can get gut wrenching. And unless you move into an automatic cut-off of that person, it’s likely that you will have some kind of conversations about what exactly went down and why. This is not usually a mutual decision and is something major that cannot be repaired.
However the end comes about, remember that with loss comes grief. You can learn more about the grief process. Even when you know it’s for the best, it doesn’t mean you aren’t sad about the loss. These can be hard conversations to have; prepare with someone you trust. That way, when you do speak to your friend, you can focus on your perception and experience. Keep an open mind and heart, but honour what feels the most aligned for your life. There is an old expression about people being in our lives for a reason, or a season, or a lifetime. It’s okay to outgrow people. It’s okay to add new people into your circle of friends. Think of it as cultivating your garden! If you want your garden to look beautiful and well tended then you need to pull weeds, trim anything overgrown, and put in new additions.
Carolyn is a passionate advocate for self awareness and personal growth and is loving her role as curriculum developer at mindyourmind! She is originally a child and youth care practitioner who has worked front line with children, youth, and their families. Carolyn is enjoying where life is taking her and cannot wait to see what happens next!
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