5 Reasons Why Friendships Ends
Not every friendship lasts forever. Despite what we hope to achieve, best friends are not forever. Sadly the close bonds we once shared with people that we once considered a sister often end. Sometimes with drama and sometimes with no drama at all.
In the Age of Social Media, Instagram, and Facebook keeping in touch with your social circle is not easier. It's harder.
People are more lonely in the digital age because social media has diminished our ability to communicate effectively. Young people are spending more time online than interacting with their friends in real life. I prefer real-life interactions but have had many friends who don’t.
In the digital age, friends come and go. I have seen many. Sometimes it makes me sad. In my short 28 years, I have realized friendships fade for a number of reasons.
1. Making an effort becomes harder
In school seeing your friends is dead easy. You see your friends every day without making plans, without texting or making an arrangement to meet up. You pitch up at school, because you have no choice but to go to school, and there your friends are.
No effort required.
The same with university friends. Work friends included. Almost all my friendships have faded away because it became a lot harder to maintain the friendship. Suddenly when school stops or university ends you have to make an effort to see the people you once saw every day. And people don’t want to make an effort in today’s busy world or they don’t have the time anymore.
At first, you try really hard to stay in contact and make an effort because you were so close. But then it becomes harder. And one party finds it too hard and then stops making any effort altogether. Messages go unanswered, plans never materialize. Suddenly you realize the friend who you once considered a sister barely makes an appearance in your life anymore.
And it's ok: the thing that kept you together was no more.
2. One party stops replying to messages
It is impossible to maintain a one-sided friendship. A friendship should be a mutual interaction between two people. When you send a message to someone and they don’t respond or they take forever to respond, like more than a week, it signals the end of an already limping friendship.
In the age of interconnectedness, it is too easy to ignore a WhatsApp message or phone call from someone. It's also easy to respond to a message. It takes a fraction of your day to type out a couple of words on a screen. And because it's so easy to respond to one message, you are sending a message when you don’t respond. The message is this:
Even though it would only take a minute or two to respond to your message, I would rather not. Right now you are not important and maintaining our friendship is not priority.
The death of any friendship is unanswered messages and half attempts at making it up. Eventually, the person sending the texts will get the message and simply stop trying.
3. You no longer live in the same place
I lived in London for a year when I was 22. I made a lot of friends. People like me looking to travel and see the world. People far from home and actively seeking company. I met wonderful people and traveled with them, did crazy things with them.
But once I moved back home, the friendships ended.
Living far away from someone and maintaining a friendship is hard. They were great while they lasted but impossible to keep up once we no longer lived in the same city.
4. Broken Trust
This is not a common reason. While at least not in my life. But I have had one or two friends that have broken my trust and I have found it impossible to continue the friendship. A friendship is built on trust. All successful relationships are built on trust: work relationships, intimate relationships.
Sometimes someone betrays your trust and it is minor or easily forgivable. Sometimes it is harder to forgive. And sometimes you realize the person broke your trust and they don’t care about it all.
They can be forgiven but you have serious doubts about continuing a friendship with someone who you know would either do it again or could not see the seriousness of their actions because they are too selfish or self-involved to care about you. It is not a decision to make lightly but it can be a reason to actively end a friendship with someone. And a good reason.
5. The friendship no longer holds the comfort it once did
People change. Values change. Sometimes a friend changes or you change and you realize you don’t receive the same level of comfort you once did.
There is an awkwardness to the friendship.
Or you no longer feel entirely safe around the person you once thought had your best interests at heart.
You keep the friendship going because you can’t imagine a life without this friend. This was your best friend. You once shared everything together. But then she gets married or you decide to study further and suddenly what you once had in common is no longer there. You stop seeing eye to eye on anything and start to disagree about a lot of things.
It is usually a childhood friend or someone you have known for years. The friendship is beginning to drag you down and not lift you up. Sometimes you make it through the difficult patch and remain friends and sometimes the friendship ends. Even though you thought you would be friends forever you realize that maintaining a friendship simply due to its length is no longer a reason to maintain it.
It may end with drama or it may end with no drama at all. But you realize it might be time to close the chapter on this friendship. Perhaps it has been for some time.
In the end…
Sometimes I miss all the friends that have come and gone. Despite the reason our friendship ended, while they lasted they were good. They were great. I received immense comfort and satisfaction in each of the people that I once considered a friend. But then I remind myself, they were not meant to last. They were temporary. Sometimes I blame myself entirely for the end of a friendship, (I should have made more effort) but then I remember that friendships are two-sided.
No matter how much effort I think I should have made, even a little bit of effort unreciprocated will result in the collapse of friendship. You cannot be friends with a screen or an Instagram post. If you want a real friend and you want to keep them you have to answer the phone call. You have to make a plan to meet up and catch up.
Effort is required.
I am at fault for the ending of all my friendships and so are my lost friends. We both consciously or subconsciously let the friendship die. Nothing I did alone could save the friendship. And that is ok.