When to call it quits on a friendship

by Carolina Smart
Sixteen years ago, I started a friendship. This person was so much like me it was sometimes hard to see where she ended and I began. She became my best friend, confidante and sister. We saw each other through good times and bad times, knowing we could count on each other to always be there.

Exactly one year ago, after fifteen years, I made the decision to end the friendship.

“A friendship that can end never really began” ~ Publilius Syrus (Roman author, 1st century B.C.)

Harsh circumstances led to the estrangement, no reason to dredge up the details. Ending a long term friendship isn’t any different than ending a marriage or a long term romantic relationship. I went through all the same emotions; heartbreak, sadness, depression and loneliness. I had to fight hard not to call her up and forgive her for what she did. She on the other hand wouldn’t let go and even after explaining that I no longer trusted her, she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just give in.

How do you know when enough is enough? How do you know when it’s time to end it? If you were in a relationship and your mate did something terrible you wouldn’t think twice about splitting up, but ending a friendship especially a long term friendship, seemed so much harder.

“Remember that it is possible to love so intensely, desire so greatly, hope so desperately that a particular relationship can work out, that you will ignore those disqualifiers that are harming the friendship,” says Elizabeth E. George, a relationships compatibility expert and author of The Compatibility code.

“Have courage to apply a factual decision when a relationship should end – and lessen the risk, fear, and frustration from continuing a fatally flawed friendship.”

Ending my friendship was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Even now when things happen, good or bad, my first instinct is to call her. Not having her in my life still leaves a void, but I know I can never have a friendship with her again. It hurts like hell, but hating yourself for not standing up, is a million times worse.

As with everything in life we need to step back and reassess. How much are we willing to do to make things work, to keep people in our lives? Where does our own integrity come in to play and when is it time to walk away? Have you ever ended a long term friendship?

Comments +

  1. What a provocative question: Are long-term friendships with women more difficult to end than relatively new marriages? What do you think?

  2. d3mha says:

    I’ve been through this once, true friends are hard to find, harder to leave..there is nothing more painful that leaving a good friend behind…
    i think friends have more value than marriage
    or the same

  3. I had a roommate for three years, and we did everything together. It was practically a common law relationship.
    Eventually, our interests changed, but we were still stuck living with one another until our lease ran out. Three years of a wonderful friendship were overshadowed by two months of misery.

  4. Roz Harris says:

    I guess it’s harder to end a friendship because it’s more akin to family than it is to a romantic relationship. With the latter, you are expected to end it until you find “the one”. With friends, you are expected to work it out.

  5. Natalie says:

    It’s hard to assess whether you should sustain a relationship while you’re in the thick of the mire. Sometimes, similar to a marriage, it’s worth exploring a separation, to see if things are indeed better apart.

  6. My best friend in college ended up dating the guy I was interested in. The problem was, the three of us still had classes together for another semester. The friendship had to end, but the wounds couldn’t heal until after that semester.

  7. Sandra says:

    The worst part of ending my relationship with my friend of 15 years was that, when I was really sad about it, I didn’t have her to call to talk about it! Still, that disappointment pales next to the freedom I felt from making the decision to cut ties.

  8. Kimmie says:

    I agree that Special Girlfriends relationships are hard to find :O) But Ithink the Big Question is ?? Are they adding
    to My Life or taking from My Life?? I had to look at some of My Girlfriend relationships
    like I did My male relationships and see if
    they perhaps were anything like My Parents ??
    Who kept Drama going 24/7 ??

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