The (Friendship) Break-Up

The (Friendship) Break-Up

Oftentimes, you hear the expression that relationships come and go but your friends… Your friends are always there for you, no matter what.

Nice idea, really. After all, think of tons of the friend relationships that we know to be there for each other in spite it all: Lucy & Ethel, Calvin & Hobbs, Charlie & Snoopy, Jennifer Aniston¬† & Courteney Cox-Arquette… All examples of thick-and-thin pals. But, what happens when friendships end?

Oy. That’s exactly the conversation I had with one of my girlfriends, Tasha, recently. And while I often tackle dating and love on this space, I haven’t dove into the friendship space quite as often. And it’s worth it, I would say.

Anyway, Tasha picked my brain about this on a recent trip to the movies. And, it was while waiting for it to start that she gave me the scoop of a seemingly awesome relationship that went sour recently. As she told it, she got close to someone¬† (whom I’ll call “Jane”) through mutual friends and for a while they seemed pretty cool — not close but definitely cool.

However, according to Tasha, the turn was rather abrupt, to the point that Jane just started cutting her out of things. It started with a group trip that she invited then uninvited Tasha to join. But that led into other activities that continued to cut Tasha out. As Tasha put it, Jane wasn’t too clear on why she started acting the way she did and in fact told her that she would fix the behavior. But she did no such thing.

When Tasha explained it to me, she seemed genuinely taken aback by the shady behavior and confused how someone she valued could change face.

Thinking about it later, I’ve thought about the people I’ve been friends with and with whom my relationships have changed or fizzled over the last few years. And while those changes sometimes bum me out, it’s true that friendships, like romantic relationships, fade. Shared interests or schedules may change, feelings of resentment or jealousy could form and suddenly you’re persona non grata — not exactly the “thick as thieves mentality” you’d imagined.

That said, there were a couple of real, hard fast lessons that came out of this talk, and ones that while clear, speak to why friendships like this turn:

  1. The friendship was never authentic. Yes, that is lousy as a reality. But, your true friends don’t do an about face. And if they’re quick to do so, there was probably a less-than-true reason they were even friends in the first place.
  2. There’s a jealousy thing there. Truth is, people will always find something to pick on. And if they aren’t all that loyal, then they will definitely use one random thing or incident to justify what they’ve been feeling.
  3. They may have been friends with you on account of someone else. It’s true — some people are “mob mentality” types — forming friends just because their other friend is cool with you. And sometimes those “friends of friends” become friends too, which is great. However, that said, they’re quick to change with the tide once it doesn’t work anymore. Well, good riddance! Can you really consider someone so quick to give up on you a real friend?

True — we all have layers of friends. Acquaintances, besties, close friends and then there are the pals to eat with, drink with, gossip with sometimes. All of that differs greatly from someone that just changes with the tide. Those are the people worth avoiding! Like Jane to Tasha.

That said, I told Tasha that while I felt her frustration, she was better off. Now there’s no need to pretend and it’s good she got to see someone’s true colors. Besides, anyone that quick to flip the switch should not be worth the stress.

Sure, pals fight, they stress, they complain.¬† But at the end of the day, they’re not skipping out. And any friend that is there through it is worth expending the energy on.

And, to wrap this one up, I would say the chorus of TLC’s old school jam, “What About Your Friends” sums this up nicely. So enjoy the flashback video here…

What about you: Do you have friends that just “turned”? What did you do?

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