We think our friends will always be there for us, immediately answering texts about good and bad news, always ready for patio drinks and girl talk. Until one day they’re not. It’s a reality that romantic relationships aren’t the only ones that fail. Sometimes you have to break up with a friend, too, or be the one getting dumped. And much like the stages of grieving after you get your heart broken, there are certain steps that occur. Here are the 10 stages of a friendship breakup.
You wonder why your texts are going unanswered.
Much like the confusing moments when the guy you’re dating doesn’t seem to understand how to reply to a text, you’re scratching your head as to why your so-called good friend is suddenly ignoring you.
You reach out one last time for a hang-out.
If you find yourself writing some variation of the following words – “Hey, it’s been a while! Let’s catch up over drinks next week?” – it’s possible you’re heading toward a painful friendship breakup. And it’s also possible that they won’t write back, especially if they haven’t gotten in touch recently or been replying to your other texts.
You start reminiscing about the past.
Once you start becoming resigned to the idea that this friendship is coming to an end, the memories start flowing. You remember all the good times – the movies you laughed through, the happy hours, the inside jokes. Thinking about the past makes you miss them, so you know you have to push it out of your mind eventually, just like when you have to stop thinking about kissing the guy that just told you he’s not into it anymore.
You begin to spend time with someone else.
Whether it’s an old friend that you pushed to the backburner in favor of spending time with this friend, or a new acquaintance that you’re hoping to get to know more, you slowly start replacing your friend’s role in your life.
Yet you know she can’t be replaced.
Just like we learn something new from every relationship, we get a bunch of lessons from every friendship, too. And every friend is unique.
You’re still social media friends/followers.
You still read your friend’s tweets about her TV obsession and see her latest Facebook photos. You’re not quite ready to hit unfriend or unfollow. But like social media stalking of an ex, you know it’s only a matter of time before you have to let go. All those posts are just a reminder of how far apart your lives are now.
You allow yourself some wallowing time.
Not to get super dramatic, but a breakup is essentially a death. It’s the end of something meaningful and special, and you deserve to get a bit sad. Sure, at first you might pull a Rory Gilmore and refuse to wallow, instead choosing to tackle a list of chores. But then you will find yourself with some ice cream and bad TV, just like Lorelai suggested. And you know Lorelai is always right.
You wake up one day and accept it.
Just as the stages of grief move from denial to acceptance, you do, too. No amount of reaching out can save a friendship that’s over.
You know it’s not personal.
When guys say “it’s not you, it’s me” – and really, why are people still saying that? – you know it’s usually you. But not in this case. Friendships grow and evolve, just like people. You’re not the same person you were just a few months ago. Maybe your friendship worked in college when it was all about a shared Media Studies class or having the same favorite TV show, but now you’re at different life stages. Whatever the reason, don’t take it personally.
And finally, you vow to not let it happen again.
You value your other friends even more now, because they’re still there for you and still a part of your life. You start keeping in touch more often and making girls’ nights a real priority. Now you have room in your life to deepen your other friendships.
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