Ending a friendship can be really traumatizing. You go through the same grief cycle you might go through in a romantic relationship. It's no easier to delete an ex-friend from your phone than it is an ex-lover. And most of the time, if feels a bit dramatic to do so, despite your strong convictions and confidence in the break. After all, aren't most friendships elastic? Don't they bend and snap? Don't they ebb and flow and fall apart only to be put back together?
Sometimes a friendship is meant to be put to rest. Sometimes it's no longer healthy for either party to be involved in it. But sometimes you stopped being friends over something that meant a lot to you at one point in your life, but now means nothing. And sometimes the apology you were looking for is just waiting for you over a reconciliation coffee date.
As you march through your 20s, taking things and leaving them behind, think about the people you've left behind. Think about whether or not they all deserve to be in the past. If you're not sure about someone, it might be worth it to consider the following things and take a step towards rekindling.
Do You Have History?
Have you been through thick and thin with this friend? Do decades span through your friendship? Are you neglecting to honor all the good times because of one negative experience? Sometimes history alone is a reason to fight for something. It's rare to know someone all your life.
Are Your Families Friends?
You should never be friends with someone to please someone else, but if you've been less than tolerable to someone whose parents are friends with your parents, for everyone's sake, you might want to consider smoothing things over. Sometimes parents have trouble finding good friends — if your rift with their kid is putting a strain on your parents, it might be worth it to rekindle.
Was It Over A Partner?
Did you get into a fight over someone you were both romantically interested in? Is this person now out of both of your lives? If so, it's probably time to move on. It might have seemed like a huge deal while it was happening, and maybe there was betrayal, lying and sneaking around, but you might not be the same people anymore. It's worth looking reconsidering.
Are Either Of You Jealous?
Dig down deep and look at the root of the problem. Jealousy can hide in the most inconspicuous places. Really think about whether or not your negative feelings toward each other are rooted in jealousy. If so, it's definitely something you can move on from, and should.
Were You Roommates?
Sometimes friends make the best roommates. Sometimes it's a nightmare. If living together caused all sorts of issues that ultimately lead you to ending your friendship, it's totally worth it to try to work on it, once you're no longer living together. Roommate status can introduce a tension into a friendship that doesn't need to be the end of it. You might be better off being BFFs that don't live under the same roof.
Is The Distance Overwhelming?
If you've ended your friendship because it was getting too complicated with long distance, really ask yourself if you've done so only to protect yourself. It's hard to nurture a friendship over distance, but it's not impossible. And while you'll both be building new lives without each other, there are ways to keep each other close. It's never too late to get back in touch with someone who's moved away. They'll always be happy to hear from you. Life's too short.
Was There Malice?
Sometimes people do crappy things to each other that are not intentional. That's not to say they don't know what they're doing while they're doing it, rather they don't know why. Think about what your ex-friend did to you that offended you enough to end the friendship. Think about why they did it. Is it possible it didn't come from a bad place?
Did They Go MIA While In A Relationship?
Some people can balance friendships and relationships like no biggie. Other people have a lot of trouble keeping their friends close while they explore a new relationship. If a friend has left you in the dust while they've gotten into a relationship, it can really hurt. But sometimes it takes a few relationships to figure out how to balance both. Consider the thought that your friend might have better balancing skills now, and a new stage of friendship might be possible.
Are You Just Being An Endurance Fighter?
Do you remember exactly why you stopped being friends? Why you continue to hold a grudge? Sometimes people fight for so long they forget what they're even fighting for, they just feel a need to keep it going. If you can't remember your convictions, maybe you want to rethink the fight.
Is This Your Ego?
Did you ex-friend actually do something worth being excommunicated from friendship land, or did they do something that bruised your ego? If it's possible that it's ego, find some maturity and consider getting back in touch. It's a total shame to lose a good friend over a grumpy ego.
Is It Petty?
How severe were the crimes against friendship? If you can't explain it to someone without much convincing or exaggerating, maybe it's not that big of a deal. Maybe in the moment, it seemed criminal, but now, with time and space, it's just petty. Maybe you can both laugh about it and move on.
Are You Being Lazy?
Does it just seem overwhelming to try to rekindle the friendship? Does the actual idea of it sound great but the concept of going through the motions make you unmotivated? Buck up! It's not worth losing a friend forever because you're feeling overwhelmed in the moment.
Do You Need To Apologize?
Sometimes we don't want to admit to ourselves that we're the ones who should be doling out the apologies. No one likes to admit that they're wrong, but you'll feel so much better once you do. It will be a weight you didn't know needed lifting.