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How many rom-com movies and web series depict breakups between romantic couples as hard and painful? Well, countless. But why is that even in this day and age, friendship breakups aren’t much spoken about. The theme song of Friends ‘I’ll be there for you’, doesn’t have to be the background song of your life. Oh, and you don’t have to call that old friend BFF, if you don’t share the same connection anymore as you did back in school!
Now that you understand what we are trying to say, let’s get to the point. Popular culture has drilled it into our heads that friendships are eternal. Sometimes they may be, but in case you aren’t in the same boat as someone else, it is OKAY. Dr Nicole LePera, popularly known as The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram, touches upon this very critical subject in her recent post.
Here’s what she says, “The ending of a friendship means that we have failed, or something bad happened between two people.”
As humans, we are attuned to evolving and adapting to various situations, and that’s a positive quality. We may be friends with someone at a certain point, because we share similar values. But what if you feel differently, while your friend continues to hold on to the past? This is just one example.
“You might notice you share different values or you find yourself feeling exhausted and depleted after spending time with them. Or you might feel disconnected and drifting apart,” explains Dr LePera.
That’s exactly why it is absolutely fine if your friendships do not serve you now, even if they did in the past. Just like in romantic partnerships, what we are looking for from friendships can evolve.
How you put an end to a certain friendship really matters. If a friend stops communicating with you and completely disappears, or ghosts you, as they say, you may experience immense hurt. This situation brings with it a lot of shame, and makes a person feel that they MUST have done something wrong.
“The truth is that it’s natural for friendships to end throughout our lives. There may not be a concrete reason (like a fight) or something we’ve done wrong,” says Dr LePera.
It’s important to grieve the end of a friendship and experience sadness at the loss of a friend. Dr LePera says that it’s normal to want closure or feel bad for a friendship ending, even if you didn’t know someone for too long.
What we need to understand is that friendship breakups are just as painful as the end of romantic partnerships. That’s because we envisioned a ‘forever’ with the person in question, and it’s bound to hurt.
With time and healing, we can gain more clarity on why a certain friendship didn’t work out. As Dr LePera explains in her post, it is important to ask yourself certain questions after a relationship ends:
1. Did I feel authentically connected to this person? Was I able to fully be myself, and feel seen and heard?
2. Did I feel judged or accepted within this relationship? Did this relationship feel nourishing, emotionally?
3. Was our time spent doing things that served who I wanted to be or did I find that our time together was not serving me (drinking, overspending, listening to rants/venting only)?
4. Was our main source of connection gossip? How did we speak about other people?
5. Do we share similar overall values? For example, kindness, respect, etc. Note: it’s normal + positive to have friends with different mindsets or belief systems. No one agrees on everything.
6. Do I check in to make sure that my friends are in a space emotionally to hear me talk about my issues? Do they?
7. Are there boundaries in my friendships? Do I hold my boundaries + respect the boundaries of others?
8. How do I feel after spending time with them?
9. Do we learn new things together, explore new ideas, does this relationship facilitate evolution/growth?
“We can also create space for relationships that leave us feeling energised, inspired, connected, and authentic to ourselves,” concludes Dr LePera.