Have you noticed that, as we grow older, our true friends also get fewer? Maybe we know more people, but solid friendships become rare, unlike when we were still in grade school or high school. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s inevitable to lose friendships as we grow old, especially as they grow harder to maintain. It wasn’t too hard to see your barkada every day when you were in school because you were going to be there regardless; fast forward 10 or 20 years, though, and you have to juggle dinners or lunches with friends with your obligations to your work and family. So sometimes you’ll need to face situations where it’s necessary to terminate a friendship for the better. And sometimes you’ll just have to let go because some friendships are not strong enough to withstand the test of time and distance.
Keep reading to learn about some of the most common reasons friendships fail—and why sometimes they’re acceptable ones.
1. You stop communicating with each other.
Maintaining an open line of communication with a friend is a challenge when you both become busy and you don’t get to see each other as often as you did before. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to text or call each other on a daily basis, but it does mean that you need to be in the know when something big happens to either of you. Lack of communication sometimes engenders cold friendships. For some, it’s a downward spiral once a cold shoulder has been given because the “feeling” is not the same anymore. In the end, it may be best for all parties to simply drift apart without any resentment on either side, which was likely what was happening to get you to this point in the first place.
2. You’ve outgrown your friendship.
Time and time again, our interests change because of various influential factors that affect us. Our way of thinking and our values change as we grow older. Your definition of “cool” or “fun” isn’t what it was a few years ago. You might have become friends with someone because she was a party animal and you were looking for wild adventures before, but if you’re not fond of partying anymore and she’s still like that, things might change and you might find yourselves losing touch.
3. It’s a love problem.
A friend told me once that she let go of her guy best friend because she wanted to avoid conflicts with her new boyfriend even though he never asked for it. My friend and her guy best friend were really, really close, but she felt it was better to prevent a potential misunderstanding than wait for things to go wrong as a result of your friendship or relationship. If conflict is brewing, you might be asked to make a decision as to which is more important to you. Make the decision that will be less likely to leave you with regrets. As for another scenario, you might have experiences relegating someone to the friend zone and having him be unhappy with this; some friendships can start out this way and endure, while others may become too awkward to maintain.
4. She or he is a backstabber.
It’s painful to know that the person you’ve trusted to keep your secrets and shared stories with has been saying mean things or spreading rumors about you behind your back. Please, they are bad for you and they are not worth keeping in your life. A good friend will tell you the ugly truths you need to hear to your face; someone who tells other people bad things about you has no right to the title of “friend.” Drop them ASAP.
5. Only one of you makes the effort.
Be wary of friends who always make excuses when you want to meet up and who ditches you over and over again. A sincere friend who wants to see you will make time for you. If there’s no free time on weekdays because they are always staying late in the office or they are busy doing their academic requirements, there’s always the weekend when you can spend even just an hour together for a quick hang-out. In fact, continuous work burns out people, so remind them to chill and interact with other people—i.e., you. It’s just a matter of priorities, but if you’re not one of hers, then you should really consider moving her down the list of your own priorities.
6. You’re friends only in fair weather.
These so-called friends are just present during happy times, but once it’s rough seas ahead, they are nowhere to be found. They appear extra-friendly when they need something, but they can’t be counted on when it’s your turn to ask for help or even just a shoulder to cry on. Take a good hard look at your relationship and decide if it ever was a friendship to begin with.
Personally, I get sad when I know my friendship with someone is not the same anymore. Losing a friend hurts. But I realized that no matter how much we wish to keep as many friends as possible, there will come a point when we need to learn to let go because of factors that are beyond our control. Or maybe it’s about taking control and making the decision to get rid of friends who aren’t good for you and focus more on maintaining your relationships with true friends. It’s okay to cut ties with people who do more harm to you than good. It’s okay to avoid them if it means loving yourself more, and there’s nothing wrong with that.