The Friendship Break Up

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Over the years, I've had some pretty spectacular ends to friendships. We talk a lot about how to get over the end of a relationship, how to deal with heart break and betrayal, but I often think that the end of a friendship can be far worse, yet we never really talk about it. A best friend is someone you've trusted your darkest thoughts to, who you turn to in times of needs, and who is there in the best times of your life, and when that suddenly ends, what do you do?

I can be brutal at the end of a friendship. I give second chances, sometimes even third, but sometimes the thing the other person does is so unforgivable that you just can't. I've ended 4 'best friend' type friendships over the years. One at 18 with the best friend I had all through school and college, and three in my early twenties. One of those I wrote about extensively, because it happened in the run up to said friend's wedding and ended when she threw me out of her bridal party (read about that here). The others ended with more of a fizzle, and they probably hurt the most, despite the lack of dramatic occurrence.

The end of a friendship is a different kind of heartbreak. It is unique to every friendship, it might hurt more of less depending on the length of time you've been friends, or why the friendship is ending. Know that it is OK to grieve the end of your friendship, you love your best friends, and it's a kind of heartbreak all of it's own. Processing the end of a friendship is much the same as processing the end of a relationship. It makes you question yourself, and your trust for those around you, and it's hard to let someone in so close again. Just because it isn't the loss of romantic love, it doesn't mean it isn't the end of a different kind of love.

I feel like I've ended far too many friendships over the years. To protect myself. Because I felt my trust was irreparably damaged. Because they revealed themselves to be someone I didn't know or understand. Or because they became someone that didn't understand me, or want to. Protecting yourself is OK! I wanted to share a few of the things I've learnt on how to help process the end of a friendship.

1) Removing a toxic person from your life is OK. Sometimes a person starts out as an amazing friend, and over time they begin to reveal their other self. The one who picks at you, who encourages your self doubt, who puts you down, who ignores you, uses you only when they need you, or questions your achievements. A friendship doesn't need to end with a bang, sometimes it ends with a painful murmur instead. If someone makes you feel bad who professes to love you and be your dearest friend, it's OK to move on.

2) Remove them from all social media. It isn't healthy to keep them on your social feed, constantly seeing their face pop up, or their seemingly happy like that hasn't been affected the loss of you at all, it can be brutal. Remove them, and it'll make life easier I promise. I tend to block people too, so they don't pop up on mutual friends social feeds either, or even go so far as to mute their usernames on social media that lets me do that. Don't ever feel bad for blocking someone if it is better for your mental health, you have to take care of you first.

3) It's OK to grieve, for as long as you need. There are times I still wonder about the friendship I ended at 18 and hurt, because betrayal can sting 12 years later. It hurts when I have to interact with the friendship that fizzled because we have so many mutuals. I have to pretend it's OK and it's fine and that it doesn't hurt after several years to see them pretend like I was nothing to them. It's OK to mourn, to cry, to need to talk to someone, a professional if necessary, it's OK.

4) Ghosting is OK. Controversial I know! Don't feel like you have to tell your friend why you are cutting them out of your life. Sometimes they don't deserve your explanation or your time. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, people don't like to be ghosted and they don't think it's appropriate behaviour, that you should be more 'grown up' than to ghost. But you know what, it's OK! Sometimes the best thing for yourself, the safest thing or the healthiest thing to do, is just ghost. I'm not ashamed to say I've done it. If you feel the only option to avoid a confrontation, or to avoid a scene, is to ghost, then ghost. You don't owe a toxic person your explanation or your time.

6) Remember that time and healing are not linear. You may be OK at first, for a few weeks or more even, and then it might hit you like a sudden wave. Healing and hurting are not things with a set path or route. There are ups and downs and backwards steps, and that's OK. The end of a friendship is a big deal, when you've known someone and trusted and loved them for a long time, it can be like losing a part of yourself. It's OK to be OK, and then not be again. Healing isn't a finish line you cross and stay across, it's more of a spiral full of loops.

Ending a friendship can be a really hard decision, or a really easy one. Know that you aren't the first to be in pain because of it, and that if you reach out there are others around you who know that pain too and can be there.

I've been there, several times. And it's OK. I have newer incredible friends, and friends who have been by my side for almost 20 years, who are a piece of my heart and soul at this point. (Yes Fal, I mean you if you're reading this). It gets easier I promise.

Much love,


  1. This post really speaks to me. I had a best friend all through school from nursery to year 6 then we kept best friends all through senior school. There was so much over the years but essentially she kept lying to me and putting me in bad situations so it all ended in our early 20s although we would stop and chat if we saw each other round town and were FB friends. A decade on I always felt guilty that I had cut her out and out of the blue she messaged me in trouble and needing help. That help was in the form of money. She never paid me back and when we finally spoke again she admitted that she had messed her life up again (a recurring theme) and that something she had done had landed her husband in prison and her on bail awaiting trial. Her kids living with her parents. I ghosted her I wrote off the money and blocked her number and social media. I made the painful decision that as an adult with legal consequences I couldn't be involved in her life any more. And I still feel so very guilt about it, I think about it often as there is a little part of me that thinks I should yet again be doing everything I can to help her because this time it might work and that is hard.

    1. sending you so much love <3 please don't feel guilty, you did what you had to

  2. I had to end a friendship with my best friend. You dont expect your best friend to keep constantly taking advantage of your kindness and more so your wallet. Even that wasnt the deciding factor. I broke it off because i was
    the strong emotional support system always, the one time in 15yrs i needed support, i never got it. It was always her all the time. I finally said to myself, there you go you see where you stand. I walked away, i didnt tell her why as i didnt feel she deserved to know.
    I miss her occasionally but i realize my life is less stressful without her and thats how it will stay.

    1. I'm so sorry you had to experience that, sending you so much love!