Finding true friendship – one that makes you feel happy, safe, and secure – is so rare and special that when we do, we can’t help but wish it would last forever. Having friends like this can be one of the greatest pleasures in life, so it can be devastating for us to lose them. Saying goodbye to a long-time friend is heartbreaking, but trying to salvage a friendship that’s not meant to last does more harm than good.
Losing someone you love is never an easy thing to go through, but loving someone means doing what’s best for them, even when it hurts you. With that said, here are 6 signs that can help you realize when it’s time to let go of your best friend:
1. You’re Second Guessing Your Friendship
Though you don’t want to admit it, you’re starting to second guess your friendship with your best friend and what the point of it all is anymore. You’ve both changed so much that it’s almost as if you’re completely different people now. You no longer have anything in common, and you don’t know what to talk about. Conversations that were once easygoing and fun now feel awkward and forced. Everything you used to love doing with them you’ve seemed to stop enjoying all together. No matter how much you want to hold on to the past and the way things used to be between you, you know in your heart that everything is just too different now.
2. You Don’t See Each Other Anymore
Another common reason why friendships end is because people tend to grow apart over time (Johnson, et al., 2004). You and your best friend have both gone your separate ways, but you’re still holding on and pretending like you haven’t. You still think of them as your best friend even if you haven’t kept in touch or talked to them in ages. You barely see each other anymore, and neither of you makes any effort to get together. You might want to pretend as if this is normal, especially when you’re both busy or live far apart from one another, but at some point, it will all start sounding like empty excuses to you.
3 You Want Different Things
We all have plans and goals that we want to achieve in life, and sometimes, pursuing them can mean having to let certain people go. It’s hard when you and your best friend both want different things for yourselves, but neither of you can ask the other to stay if it means having to sacrifice that. Asking someone to give up their hopes and dreams for you will only make them resent you for it in the end (Oswald & Clark, 2003).
4. You’ve Found Other Friends
You may not realize that you and your best friend are already drifting apart until you make new friends. When other people make you feel more comfortable and compatible to be with, that’s already a clear sign that it’s time to let go. Now, this doesn’t mean that they treat you better or that you like them more than your best friend. It simply means that you feel like you belong more with them than you do with your old friend, and you owe it to yourself and to them to be honest about it.
5. They’ve Broken Your Trust
This is a particularly sad reason for ending a friendship, but it’s a justified one nonetheless. Trust is, after all, the foundation of any healthy relationship. Without it, things can never move forward or get better between you and your best friend. Maybe you’ve just had one fight too many, or you’ve said some things you can never take back. Either way, you’ve hurt each other too much to save your friendship. You can forgive them and move on from it, but that best thing you can do is to start over with someone else and find peace someplace else (Collins & van Dulmen, 2006).
6. You’re The Only One Holding On
Finally, if you feel that you’re the only one in the friendship making any effort to keep it alive, then it might be time to end things with this person. It hurts a lot to be rejected, especially by someone you considered to be your closest and dearest friend, but you shouldn’t try to change their mind. If they don’t want you in their life anymore, spare yourself the indignity and leave. You can try to get closure and ask for answers, if you really want, but you shouldn’t do more than that. It’s not good for your mental health and self-esteem to stay with someone who clearly doesn’t want you (Finchum & Weber, 2000).
In the end, letting go of someone we love is one of the most difficult and painful decisions we’re ever going to make in life. You may go through stages of anger, denial, and sadness, before you can finally accept it, but through it all, you’ll know deep down inside that it’s the right thing to do. You have to understand that some things are just meant to fall apart, and that’s okay. People are meant to change and grow, and you can never truly move forward in your life if you still have something in your past holding you back.
- Johnson, A. J., Wittenberg, E., Haigh, M., Wigley, S., Becker, J., Brown, K., & Craig, E. (2004). The Process of Relationship Development and Deterioration: Turning Points in Friendships That Have Terminated. Communication Quarterly, 52 (1), 54-67.
- Oswald, D. L., & Clark, E. M. (2003). Best Friends Forever?: High School Best Friendships and the Transition to College. Personal Relationships, 10 (20), 187-196.
- Collins, A., & van Dulmen, M. (2006). Friendships and Romance in Emerging Adulthood: Assessing the Distinctiveness in Close Relationships. Journal of Social Psychology, 24 (12), 205-216.
- Finchum, T., & Weber, J. A. (2000). Applying Continuity Theory to Older Adult Friendships. The Psychology of Aging and Identity, 5 (3), 159-168.