When Certain Friendships are Best Left in the Past
Female friendship is a beautiful thing. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing women build each other up, have each other’s backs, and celebrate each other’s triumphs. Such friendships are often just as important than romantic relationships, if not more so. Where would we be without our squad right behind us? Who'd be there to help us through heartbreaks and hardships if not them?
However, just like any relationships, there are times when friendships can go catastrophically wrong. We’re taught pretty much from birth that those closest to us should be our BFFs: best friends forever, linked for time immemorial, never letting anything break our bond. It’s all a fallacy. Friendships can – and often should – reach an end. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m not saying you should cut ties with every single friend who’s ever wronged you. People make mistakes, and sometimes forgiving and forgetting is the best way forward. However, we need to abandon the notion that cutting ties with someone inherently makes you the guilty party, a bad friend, or a bitch. You wouldn’t encourage someone to stay in a bad relationship, so why should platonic bonds be any different? There are plenty of circumstances in which it’s totally acceptable to call time on a friendship. It might have become toxic, a serious betrayal might have taken place, or you might simply have drifted apart. Whatever the situation, it's okay to question whether repairing the relationship is really worth it.
If you've drifted apart, just let it go
There doesn't have to be a ‘bad guy' for a friendship to end. Sometimes they just run their course, and that's fine. We're often shamed into thinking we should fight to save our relationships with estranged friends: if we don't, we're heartless, ungrateful, and unkind. Truth is, though, we simply don't have the time and energy to maintain every friendship we've ever made. If the friendship is meant to last, you'll find yourselves consistently making time for each other. If this isn't the case, it might be time to accept that your schedules or lifestyles just aren't compatible. Sure, you can still be acquaintances that occasionally send each other memes, but you're probably not gonna get much closer than that. And guess what? That's fine! Having that realization isn't going to ruin your lives! It just means you'll have to save your awesomeness for someone else.
The same often goes for your high school and college friends. Sure, you might have promised to stay best friends forever when you last parted ways, but it doesn't always turn out like that. Admittedly, sometimes it does: the majority of my close friends are from my school days. However, they're not all the people I expected to still be in contact with nearly a decade on. I barely speak to the people teenage-me considered to be my life-long friends. It's sad, but it's life. Losing touch with people we used to be close to doesn't mean we're bad people: it's part of being a busy adult. Yeah, I know. Adult life sucks.
If it's turned toxic, get out of there
It's not just romantic relationships that can turn toxic. If you start spotting signs of manipulative behavior or emotional abuse, get the hell out of that situation. Does your friend constantly negatively compare you to her other gals, and leave you fighting to keep your spot as her ‘official bestie'? Does she only ever want to talk about her issues and completely ignore you when you're in need? Are you so terrified of offending her that you're constantly walking on eggshells? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to have a serious talk about where the friendship is going. Know your self-worth. You don't deserve to get treated like crap by anyone, let alone by someone who claims to be your ‘friend.'
Saying that, don't be too hasty in cutting ties with your slightly problematic pal. It's always good to give someone a chance to change: strange as it sounds, some people genuinely don't realize just how awful they're being until you point it out. However, if you've voiced your concerns time and time again only to find yourself ignored, things need to end. The only time being toxic is positive is if you're in a Britney Spears song, and since very few of us are that ~lucky~, we need to be on our guard. You don't want to invest time and effort into friendships only to find out your supposed-BFFs are using you.
Serious betrayals don't have to be forgiven
When it comes to betrayal, everyone should have their limits. Again, I'm not saying you should never forgive and forget. Sometimes forgiveness can be just as freeing for the wronged party as for the perpetrator of the wrongdoing. However, there's a difference between being open-minded and being a pushover. There are some sins in friendships that you just shouldn't let slide.
Having an affair with your partner, for example. How people can get past that is beyond me. Sure, the partner in question has acted like a douchebag, but so has the friend! Spreading around secrets that you told them in confidence is also a big no-no when it comes to giving your friend a break. If they're willing to risk hurting you like that, they don't respect you enough for the friendship to remain viable. Cut them loose. It might hurt at the time, but it'll be the best thing for you in the long run. Don't cling on to trust that's clearly been shattered because you're too scared to be the one to break things off.
I can tell you from experience that having a few super-close besties is far better than being surrounded by users, abusers, and fake friends. Life's too short to waste your time on these fairweather folk just because you have a misplaced sense of loyalty. Set yourself free from those friendships that are doomed to failure. You'll feel better for it – promise.