fbpx

July 2024

Should I break up with my friend?

Question

Hi Amber!

I hope this message finds you well. I’m facing the challenging decision of ending a long-term friendship because, quite frankly, my friend has become a terrible friend to me. I’m grappling with how to approach this situation and I am really in need of some advice.

I became best friends with this girl, let’s call her Chantelle when I was in high school. I was young and made silly decisions and she had to deal with them which I know impacted her. Once we finished high school, she started dating her boyfriend and put him first and I stopped becoming a priority. I would suggest doing certain activities and she would say no but then go do the exact same thing with her boyfriend. She then broke up with him and spiralled. She became incredibly immature and self-destructive. She then met another girl at work, and I slowly became replaced as her best friend.

Fast forward to today, Chantelle is barely in my life, but I feel this weird obligation to catch up with her every couple of months. I am still invited to her yearly birthday party, but our friendship is one-sided. She never messages me first to catch up on my life it’s me that “makes the first move”. I feel hurt because I feel like she never stopped seeing me as the problem child even though I believe I am a grounded and mature adult now and wonder if this is why I was replaced. We have never addressed the fact that we have drifted either.

To be honest, I’ve had enough time to process this to know I don’t really want her in my life. Every time we catch up, she always talks about her and her new best friend and the stuff they do together, and I can’t help but feel jealous. I want to move forward without her but I’m unsure of the best way to communicate this or if I just continue the obligatory three-month catch-up. Or maybe I will just never message her again? I mean it’s not like she messages me.

Answer

Hey there,

Thanks for reaching out. That sounds like a really tough spot to be in, and I can really empathise with the discomfort you must be feeling in this situation. I do have a lot of thoughts on your predicament.

The first thing I’d like to mention is that high school friendships can be hard when you leave high school. Moving into the real world is a time of rapid change where we are deciding who we want to be. We also meet a lot of new people and inevitably have to learn how to navigate relationships outside the pressure cooker of high school. It sounds like this has been a big feature of the tension in your relationship, understanding where you fit with each other as you grow into a different world. Over time, it’s normal for friendship dynamics to change. Is it possible that while you still label her your best friend and hold her to that standard, your friendship might just look different now?

The second, and probably biggest thing I want to point out is the massive thread of resentment I can hear in what you are saying. It sounds like there is so much history that you (and potentially your friend as well) are holding onto, and a lot of unspoken tension here. It’s okay to have ups and downs in a friendship, and periods of life where you aren’t your best self with a friend. However, for there to be longevity in a friendship like this, there needs to be forgiveness and open conversations.

I think the first and most important thing to think about doing would be, being really honest with yourself about what this situation is bringing up for you and why. Maybe try writing it down, or journalling about it. I next thing that might be needed is an open and honest conversation with your friend about how you feel about the friendship and your reflections. This also means hearing your friend out about what her experience has been, there are two people in every relationship and it seems like there’s a lot unsaid on both sides here. From here, you might be able to decide on what a new and healthy dynamic looks like. Maybe that means you remain friends in some way, or maybe it means you take space. Either way, you both have a better understanding of the other and of your new dynamic. I understand the desire to pull away and avoid any confrontation about this, though where we can have constructive conversations about difficult topics constructively, we should.

I hope you find some closure with your friend.

Disclaimer: Please note that all information given in this article is general in nature and does not constitute psychological treatment. For tailored support, please ensure you reach out to a registered psychologist. In the case of an emergency, please contact LIFELINE (13 11 14) or call 000.

Picture of Amber Sargeant

Amber Sargeant

Meet Amber Sargeant, The Modern Muse’s resident psychologist, however, you might know her better as The Anxious Psych on TikTok or from her clinic The Sunshine Club Psychology. With a Masters of Professional Psychology, and a Masters of Psychology Practice (Clinical) under her belt, Amber works with all different kinds of presentations from anxiety and depression to personality disorders, ADHD, and everything in between. Her TikTok forms a community hub for accessible information about mental health and psychology in a way that is more approachable and understandable to the average person.

Amber is also someone who also struggles with Anxiety and aims to highlight that while we each have our own experience with difficult emotions and situations, we can learn to manage effectively and to make sure we are still able to build the life we want. Amber is such a warm and passionate clinician and we are so lucky to have her on our team. We can’t wait for her to help our readers “find their sunshine”.