When you find the Veronica to your Betty, you feel like you can take on the world. But when you have a friendship creating more dramz than an episode of PLL, it might be time to move on. Navigating friendships can be srsly tricky. We chatted to Kim Smith, the founder of Girls Standing Strong, about what to do if it’s time to break up with your BFF – or how to handle a friend breaking up with you.
Time to break up?
If you feel drained after hanging out with your friend or it feels like a chore to see them, then it’s probably time to let it go. “If you feel sad, lonely or left out with your friend on a regular basis, these are not healthy signs,” says Kim. “Healthy friendships uplift us and make us feel good. If you feel like you can’t be yourself, it might be time to consider parting ways.”
About those boundaries
If you think your friendship can be saved but you want it to change, try setting some new boundaries. It might be awks to have the convo with them, so try to preface it by saying that you still want them in your life but you need to take a step back. “You need to decide how you want the friendship to be,” says Kim. “Perhaps you’re not each other’s ‘go to’ anymore but you still say hi and sit in the same group at school. Or maybe you don’t spend extra time together outside of school anymore. There are many ways to have a friendship, the important thing is to work out what works for you both.”
Let it fade
Friendships naturally fade as people change. Everyone has friends who they’re no longer close with and it’s not necessarily because anything happened to cause it. “It’s natural for friendships to fade when we are no longer interested in the same things, or we meet other people who we feel a closer connection with,” Kim says. “The important thing to remember is we always have people coming and going in our lives and it’s OK to let a friendship go if you feel it fading out.”
Making it offish
This is the equivalent of ending a relationship like you would with a romantic partner. Telling someone that you no longer want them in your life is so0o0o0o awful. If your friend is insistent and wants to hang all the time, but you don’t want to, it’s important to gently tell them the truth. If the friendship was super toxic, make sure to also cut all ties on social media. But it’s important to keep it as positive and respectful as you can. “Things do change over time and you never know when you might cross paths again,” Kim says. “The nicest way to do things is to be open and clear. It’s always best to talk face-to-face, if you can. Let them know what you are feeling and always keep in mind their feelings. If you find talking face- to-face too difficult, another good option is to write a letter. Where possible, try not to break up over text or online as these messages can easily be taken the wrong way.”
While it can just feel like the easiest option, resist the urge to cut your friend out without warning. It always feels crap when your crush goes quiet on you, so don’t do the same to a friend who has put time into you.
How to handle your friend breaking up with you…
First of all, *hugs*. Losing a friend is super sad and it feels especially crappy when someone has actively made the decision. Whatever the reasoning behind their decision, try to stay positive.
There’s nothing wrong with you
It could just be that you’ve grown apart and they are hella distant. Let them go and wish them well. “Chances are you didn’t do anything wrong,” says Kim. “You never know what’s going on in the other person’s mind. Perhaps they have changed or are going through something that has made them feel distant. We can’t change other people’s actions, all we can do is accept what has happened and focus on how to lift ourselves up.”
Get back on the BFF bandwagon
There are so many cool people in the world and ‘your people’ are out there. Maybe you’ve found those peeps already so hold onto them and give them your best self. Not only do they deserve it but you deserve to have friends who know the real you. “If you’re not sure how to make new friends, try joining an after-school activity,” says Kim. “This is the best way to open your friendship group and find people with similar interests.”
Reflect on the friendship
It’s important to think about your behaviour in a friendship break-up and evaluate if you could’ve done anything differently. “Writing in a journal is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings and to learn from your experiences,” says Kim. “Although it can sometimes be hard thinking back over what happened, it’s a great way to learn so you can use your experiences positively moving forward.”