It was a cold September afternoon when I dropped a box of her things at her doorstep, and left. I remember rushing about my room, throwing everything into this tiny shoe box that could barely hold everything in it. The drive to her house broke my heart, and leaving it all there made me feel all types of pain at once. Because it isn’t just break-ups with partners that hurt. I have always said the worst pain I’ve ever felt was breaking a friendship.
There is something fundamentally different about a friendship in comparison to a romantic relationship. There are multiple ways a romantic relationship can go South, and ending it might be for the best. But a true friendship shouldn’t have to end or break so dramatically. And if it does, like mine had, there are ways to make amends, especially if the friendship is worth healing.
Being the first to reach out in a broken friendship shouldn’t feel like a blow to your pride, nor should it feel like it’s taking a lot out of you to do. Rather, reaching out shows you are ready to hold a mature conversation. Of course, much of this is dependent on how you reach out. Start with a simple text message saying “Hello” and asking if they had time to talk about things. This could entail planning to meet in person or making that phone call.
I always feel speaking in person will best help the flow of honest thoughts and feelings. If you decide to initiate amends over text, it might cause you to overthink things and not be truly honest with yourself and your friend.
During this conversation, be sure that each of you have time to talk. It’s important to not only listen, but be listened to as well. Share the things that may have been left unsaid (or what underlying tensions led to this “break-up”). One thing that I learned from making up with my best friend: people can’t read minds! Though the things that bother you may seem obvious to you, that doesn’t mean they’ll be obvious to other people, including your friend.
Find a Solution
This idea of a solution sounds a bit methodical, and maybe in your mind a bit dramatic, but sometimes it has to be. And by communicating your thoughts to one another, a compromise might seem clearer. For instance with myself, we realized the faults in our friendship and where we may have went wrong on both our ends. In doing so, we agreed on working on ourselves a bit. For me, I had to learn to speak my mind when things upset me, rather than let it all boil over later on.
I’ve heard it before that with compromise comes sacrifice but I can’t bring myself to agree with that. You don’t have to sacrifice your integrity, if you do (or feel like you do), then – quite simply, they are not your friend. It shouldn’t feel like you’re forcing a solution. While we should keep the things that we have to work on in the back of our minds, a strong enough bond and friendship should allow the solution to play out naturally.
These steps aren’t exclusive to friendships, they can be used in relationships as well. Because at the end of the day, not only do you accept and love that person, but they can keep you grounded in reminding yourself of who you are. A strong relationship reminds us to be the best version of ourselves.