New Year, New Friendship Breakups?

posted: 01/04/16
by: Courtney Reimer
two women bored in a bar

It's the time of year when so many of us make promises to clean up our closets, our fitness regimens or our personal lives. Sometimes that means cleaning up relationships that aren't serving us anymore (or starting new ones -- this week includes the most-popular day to sign up for online dating).That includes platonic friendships, too. But the cliche of "breaking up is hard to do" probably applies even more so to friendship splits than romantic parting-of-ways.

If you're one of those who's hoping to clean out a friendship but doesn't know how, here are some tips we've found to be helpful:

1. Don't just "ghost" them. "Ghosting" is a term more frequently applied to romantic relationships wherein one side of that relationship disappears into thin air, but if you were hoping to do the same for a friend breakup, please think again.

2. Location is everything. Don't do it by text. Don't do it by phone if geographically possible. It's not easy, but the best way to do this is to do in person. (We love The Week's recommendation to do it while on a walk in nature since that environment can have stress-relieving effects.)

3. Focus on you, not them. Here's another cliche that's tried and true, but really since it's you making this move, it really is on you to take the blame (or at least the responsibility).

4. Acknowledge the "friend shift." If it applies. Perhaps you had a falling out over something very specific, but it's also very likely your friendship has "shifted" due to a major life event. For instance, if you had kids and your friends are still living the wild and free single life, you just might not have enough shared experiences or room for each other's differences anymore.

5. Prepare for emotional responses. Both on your end and on hers. Just because this wasn't a romantic relationship doesn't mean you won't feel the need to mourn it. Feel free to cry, listen to sad/mad songs and treat yourself to your favorite breakup-pain-alleviating treat (e.g., an extra sweaty workout, an extra scoop of ice cream, an extra hour of binge-watching).

Most of all, try to put yourself in the shoes of the person being broken up with -- and proceed gently.