When is a friendship over?

If you’re asking this question, it probably ended a long time ago and you were just holding on because it hurts to say goodbye and let things go. Harsh? Yup. Valid? Probably.

I was looking through photo albums of the past 15 years and I’ve known some awesome people. I’ve had some deep meaningful friendships that I thought would sustain me for decades and I’ve had convenient friendships that I never expected to survive more than a few months. Most of the time, I was dead wrong in my predictions.

Unfortunately, relationships don’t come with expiration dates. We never know who will stay and who will leave. Who will evolve into someone we no longer care about. Who will surprise us with loyalty and depth we never expected.

I see pictures of people whose names I no longer know. Their faces are familiar and I can feel remnants of the emotions I felt for them, but I cannot tell you who they were or why they mattered. Because time marches on. So if people do not move forward with us, they tend to fade away over time.

A few days ago, I got an email from someone I still loved. We had been close friends in college and he always held a special place in my life. But he told me he determined that allocating time to me was a waste and he needed to build friendships where he lived, not with someone he didn’t see since he moved half way around the world. It stung.

Look, we all may think these things about efficiency and time allocation, but to say it to someone is rather cruel and shows a complete lack of feeling for that person. So I left. I ended what remained of a once beautiful friendship. My only regret is I should have walked away sooner. I held on and now I have these terrible memories of a person I have come to dislike. If I had let go and never tried to reach out, the past could have remained untainted. We could have had our unspoiled beautiful memories.

The simple fact is people change. We grow together or we grow apart. We love and we laugh and sometimes it stops. We can’t go back. We can’t make it work. Then comes the hardest part. Letting go. Like any death, it’s a blow. But it’s kinder to walk away with good memories than to linger and become bitter.

Sometimes, things need to be allowed to end. Standing in the middle of the road refusing to get out of the way is a bad idea. Like that old Bonny Raitt song says, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.”

How do you let go of old friends and people you loved?

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9 Responses to When is a friendship over?

  1. berry says:

    But I will never understand why. I think that is a question that has no definitive answer. Some of my best times were with friends I no longer see. I tried to rekindle the friendship but they did not. So you move on with a heavy heart and have those memories. I guess that is just the way life is. As the saying goes, some are silver and the other gold when it comes to friendships.

    • Things change. If you want something to work, it will. If you don’t care about it much, it will wither and die. My guess is the other person didn’t appreciate you any longer or was so caught up in other things in their life, you no longer were a priority. It’s sad, but there’s nothing you can do except try to rebuild and then move on. I think you did the best you could and if the other person didn’t appreciate it, that is their loss.

  2. Pingback: Reblog: When is a Friendship Over? « Kourtney Heintz's Journal

  3. Wow. Thanks for sharing this, Kourtney. Learning to end and let go of friendships isn’t easy. And in a strange way, we end up getting (or maybe allowing ourselves) less support than we do after romantic breakups.

    • August, I honestly expect more of friends than lovers. I choose friends for the mental and emotional support and strength they bring to my life. I let them in and I show them my truest of. They tend to last much longer than boyfriends ever did for me. So when a friendship ends it hurts so much more. It’s a rejection of my soul, not just my body or my personality.

  4. donnagalanti says:

    Yes, toxic friends need to go. And it is like a break up. In my older years I have had to let go of some. Life is too short to waste it on negative people. Friends support one another in good and bad and arent jealous and shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself.

    • Agreed. Friends should be the elite circle of people in your life. There by choice and because they genuinely love you for you. It’s hard to let one of them go,but life is never easy. Maybe that’s what keeps us coming back day after day. 🙂

  5. Ottabelle says:

    I don’t let go easily.. I don’t know how. I get hurt.

    • It’s never easy to let go. But experience teaches you coping techniques and that you can heal in time. It still hurts, but you eventually find a way to move forward. 🙂

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