I was talking to a friend the other day about the way friendships end. She has had a turbulent year with several friendships ending bitterly. As we discussed the various issues, we came to outline three ways friendships usually die…
In Bruises. Sometimes there’s a big knock-down-drag-out-fight that ends things once and for all. You scream and threaten and carry through on your vow never to speak to one another again. This is probably the rarest, but is definitely the most gossip-inducing way, to kill a friendship.
In Transition. Perhaps more often, friendships die because the circumstances that brought you together change. The friend you ate with every day on lunch break transfers offices and you never see each other again. When the family down the block moves away. Graduation. Marriage. Kids. Promotion. Somehow, a lot of friendships just can’t hang on after transition.
In Silence. Perhaps after you switched offices, you and your everyday lunch buddy promised to get together once a week for lunch. But then there’s that early deadline, and then a week’s vacation, and then the dentist’s appointment and suddenly it’s been two months since you even thought about getting together. You’ve meant to make a phone call, send a text, look them up on Facebook. But there just hasn’t been time. In my observation this is how most friendships die. Wilting, neglected, in silence.
It was clear from our conversation that the death of a friendship can be quite traumatic – no matter how it happens. Some of these situations we have no control of. If the other person really has no desire to carry on, there’s little we can do except remain open and welcoming to the idea.
But then there are the majority of friendships that are quite simply on life support for lack of attention. These could be revived with one friendly message, with the offer to get together.
Can you think of any other ways that friendships tend to die? Is there someone you haven’t talked to in a while with whom you’d like to get in touch?