There’s that old saying that you can never have too many friends. That is true, as long as friends stay as friends and not just being friends to keep what had been, has been, and always will be. Some people have kept a lot of friends who have been with them since they were in diapers. But as we grow older, change is natural. Our likes and dislikes, routines, attitudes, and our interests change. We will take different paths where life leads us. And those paths are not guaranteed to be the same as that of our friends. The trouble is, sometimes our friends don’t accept the fact that people have parted ways and people have changed. Ignoring the ‘change’ part does not contribute to a healthy friendship.
Breaking off friendships is very difficult to handle; it could even be more painful than a divorce. So how can you get rid of friends without hurting them to the extent that makes them regret that they were friends with you in the first place?
First, you have to consider the reasons why your friendship has come to an end. Has the friendship been one-sided where you do all the giving and the other side does all the taking? Did you become friends accidentally or because you had to team up for a project? How did you choose your friends—were you selective enough when you shook hands with them?
Could the reason for breaking off your friendship be that your friend made you upset or is treating you in such a manner that makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed? According to psychologist Phil McGraw, you have to take responsibility for how your friends treat you, whether good or bad. “You either teach people to treat you with dignity and respect, or you don’t.” So if your friends are not treating you right, you are probably giving them reasons to treat you that way. Better check your behavior.
If you have made your mind to really end your friendship, the choice is yours. It’s either you directly tell them the matter or slowly drift away from them. If you drift away, there are greater chances of misunderstanding. Your friend can conclude that you are just busy or he could conclude that something is wrong between the both of you. Either way, you will have to face him which leads you back to direct confrontation. When this happens, explain to him clearly what you feel—avoid flowery words; just get to the point. But remember that he is or was your friend, his feelings matter too—avoid quarrels, insults, or showing him that you are apologetic. Apologizing too much gives him the thought that you are either pitiful or you are not so sure about what you’re doing. However, drifting away keeps everything open—and there are no hard feelings involved. Direct confrontation means “it is done” or “it is decided”.
Know that the ending of a friendship points out that everything is temporary, including life itself, according to Rev. Sylvain Chamberland. You were friends for a while but now that time has run its course, and you clearly have nothing to do with each other anymore, release the friendship and move on to the greater path.