There's nothing like an old best friend: they're your longtime partner in shoe shopping, your shoulder to PMS on, and the first person you call when your significant other is being a jerk. You have years of happy memories, from trick-or-treating as Disney princesses to shopping for prom dresses to drinking your first Jello shot together. Their closet is your closet (and vice versa) and you're known to finish each other's sentences and randomly burst into laughter over one of your countless inside jokes. They know you better than anyone, and that's why realizing that it might actually be time to end your friendship with them can be even more painful than a romantic breakup.
I know that before ending my friendship with my best friend of 20 years, I agonized over the decision for months. When I finally declared the friendship over for good, I shed far more tears than I had over any ex-boyfriend — but I'm glad I did. Sometimes, friends simply drift apart for no concrete reason, but other times, their behaviors necessitate making a clean break. Here are seven signs it's time to say goodbye to a friendship, no matter how old it is.
1. They Make The Same Mistakes Over And Over Again
In any friendship, hurt feelings and mistakes are inevitable. When your friend hurts you, it's best to calmly explain how you feel and why you're hurt (ideally, once your initial anger has subsided a bit). But if she repeats the same mistake the next day, week, or month, she's either insensitive to your feelings or doesn't care enough to be more mindful of her actions.
Of course, if you've never explained to a friend that you felt hurt, it's not entirely fair to simply cut off the friendship. Always give your friend the chance to apologize and be more sensitive in the future. But if you do try and it doesn't get through time and again, don't feel badly about walking away.
2. They Engage In Unhealthy Behaviors That Trigger You
Friendships are partially based on shared interests and enjoyment of the same activities. Sometimes, our interests diverge, which isn't always a big deal. But if you and a friend bonded over hard-partying ways and you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it can sometimes be too tempting to be around someone who's still engaging in the dangerous behaviors that you're striving to put behind you.
3. They Aren't Sensitive To Your Personal History
Our close friends know things about us that no one else does, and they know what topics are painful or triggering for us. I'm not saying we should ask our friends to walk on eggshells every time they open their mouths — we all have said stupid or thoughtless things and later realized we were being totally insensitive. But if there's a pattern of comments and actions that feel insensitive to you, you need to watch out.
Is your friend constantly talking about weight and calories when they intimately know about your struggles with an eating disorder? Do they ask you to watch movies with crass rape jokes when they know you've been a victim of sexual assault? These are friendship deal-breakers.
4. They Ditch You Every Time They Have A Boyfriend Or Girlfriend
When a friend goes from single to in a relationship, it's natural that they won't be able to spend all their free time with you. If you're still single, it may take an adjustment period to get used to no longer spending every Friday and Saturday night together. But if your friend has a pattern of disappearing every time they're in a relationship, it shows an inability to maturely balance the multiple important relationships in life. More painfully, it shows that they don't see the friendship as worthy enough to prioritize.
5. They Disrespect Your Political Or Religious Beliefs
We don't have to share our friend's political or religious beliefs. In fact, it would be kind of boring if we just agreed on everything all the time. A healthy debate about politics or religion is a great way to be exposed to different viewpoints and understand where they're coming from.
But if your friend prefers to dismiss your views as "stupid" rather than have an intelligent conversation about why you disagree, they're disrespecting you, which is unacceptable. I once had a friend tell me the way I voted in a presidential election was "moronic". Aint nobody got time to be disrespected like that.
6. They Make You Feel Insecure About Your Lifestyle
It goes without saying that true friends love us as we are. As we grow up, we may follow different paths in life and choose variant priorities. There's nothing worse than when a friend makes backhanded comments that show they think your choices and priorities are wrong. When your friend is talking trash about someone's choices that are strikingly similar to your own, it's safe to assume they're judging you as well.
7. You're More Attached To Your Memories Than The Person
Friendships hold years of happy memories, shared experiences, and inside jokes. Sometimes, it's hard to end a friendship because we feel sentimental about all the good times in the past. But if you're more attached to the memories than to the person in front of you, it's probably time to move forward.
Once the pain of the breakup has begun to subside, you will hopefully be able to look back on the fond memories and be grateful for the friendship you once had.
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