The Art of Losing Friends

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Why Do We Lose Friends?

The art of losing friends speaks to the incompatibility of two over time. It speaks to the half-ass job you do maintaining your friendship while other areas of your life flourish. Is it all your fault? Certainly not. Are you a part of the problem? Of course you are.

There are a number of different things that go into ruining a relationship and some are consciously done while others are very conscious. Do you feel the need to disagree with your friend? Do you get annoyed at meager things that never bothered you before? These are some of the first signs that your relationship is changing. You may also flat out find that your friend just isn’t very nice anymore and your values aren’t aligned. Do they critique your other relationships or make unnecessary commentary at aspects of your life? Notice these things and watch how your thought process shifts around this person.

Friendships are unique relationships. Whether we’re looking at your all-time best friend or that party friend you call for a fun night out filled with debauchery and fabulousness, we’re forming these distinct bonds with someone and allowing them into our very personal universe. As life goes on and we develop new relationships, move to new cities, and pursue our careers or passions, keeping these relationships can be hard.

WHY is that?

Feelings get hurt, people latch on, and ultimately you end up losing people throughout your life. The loss of a friend can sting and change your entire world. What was once fruitful and symbiotic may turn into a toxic and malicious relationship. No one tells you when you’re a kid that your best friend will eventually turn into a shell of someone you once knew.

Changes in life expedite the process of separation and expose the quality of your relationships.

In reality, that shell of your best friend is who they are now. We all have our ups and downs in life and whether or not you have someone beside you through this turmoil does not imply that they are affected or changed in the same way you are. Very rarely do two people come out of one situation with the same outlook. And to that point, very rarely will two people come out of a multitude of situations with the same outlook. It’s okay to be different and it’s okay to grow apart.

This incompatibility is not the first nor the last you’ll experience.

So, what can you do?

If you care about this friendship and want it to last, stop pointing your hypocritical fingers. You’re both in the wrong. No one is right and no one is going to win this battle of ego. Where there is the art of losing friends, there is the art of keeping friends and I can tell you that it is much more difficult.

Own It

When you feel the friendship start to shift, you need to identify why it is shifting and take some of the blame. If your best friend feels like you don’t care about them, it’s probably because you’ve displayed some sort of nonverbal (or verbal) behavior that has communicated that to them. Own up to it and change your ways. If you don’t, then the friendship isn’t going to continue. Effort is essential in maintaining relationships. Even a text message asking how their day is going goes a long way.

Say It Loud and Proud

Be vocal. The only regret I have in my life are the things I didn’t say to the people that aren’t in my life anymore. If you truly feel like someone in your life is important to you, then tell them that and tell them why they are being an asshole! They’ll never be able to say you didn’t try to fix things. Of course, be gentle enough while getting your point across so you don’t make the other person feel attacked. You can do this by using phrases such as “I feel” or by admitting to your faults while conveying what’s been hurting you. Neither of you are perfect, so make sure you don’t come off that way.

What’s Next?

The art of losing friends is an inevitable two-way street that no duo wants to go down. It happens and it sucks, but you are going to be okay. The end of a relationship allows room for an existing or new relationship to bloom, one that is stronger and can withstand small or large change. Find that relationship and learn from your mistakes of the last.