Throughout life we meet people who choose to live without marriage; we meet people who made it to the adult life without experiencing parents during childhood. Rarely we meet people who go through life without the experience of friendship.
The longest study on happiness concludes that human happiness is directly correlated with the quality of the relationships we have. Friendships are necessary for living tolerable, pleasant, meaningful lives. Not only it offers constant reward by only existing, friendships serve as an affective and cognitive anchor in our perception of the world.
But friendships have breakups, too.
When relationships end, the emotions are striking, it’s the only thing we can think of. Romantic breakup is a well-known theme for mankind: in theater plays, soap operas, on Netflix. When we form a relationship, we enter it with hope that it will last and fear of its ending. If it ends, we have an idea of what will happen: we are upset, we cry, we tell others about it, we listen to encouragements such as “It wasn’t meant to be/You will find someone else” and after a while we move on. We manage to get over it.
When friendships end, it is different. Friendship breakups are not everywhere in theater plays, soap operas, on Netflix. We don’t see very often how others cope in this situation. When we form a friendship, we don’t enter it with hope that it will last and fear of its ending. Friendship just happens. So how do we cope when it stops happening?
Most friendships go cold because of time. “Sorry, I don’t really have time this period”, “Sorry, I have a busy period”, “Sorry, you know how it is, I hope you understand”. And we do understand. We all have busy periods of time and we know how it is. But slowly we stop doing the first step. We stop texting, we stop calling, we stop inviting because we want to avoid the rejection. In the beginning we think that maybe it really is a period. But six months go by, and then a whole year and we think: “I kept in touch with my closest friends when I was busy”.
And that’s when it hits you… you are no longer one of the closest friends.
- Talk to someone about this. We feel better if we don’t keep the sadness in. Maybe others went through similar experiences and you can learn how they coped with it
- Confront it. Talk about this with that person. Even if things won’t get back to the way they were, you still have a chance for closure and you’ll no longer be in ambiguity.
- Albert, R. S., & Brigante, T. R. (1962). The Psychology of Friendship Relations: Social Factors. The Journal of Social Psychology, 56(1), 33–47. doi:10.1080/00224545.1962.9919371