Growing Apart and the Reasons Why Friendships End

Updated 03/12/19

Our friends are integral to our lives. You may still keep in contact with classmates from elementary school or pals from college. They may have introduced you to your current significant other or helped you get your dream job. But all the good in the world can't turn back time, and many people find that they grew apart from the people they used to hold dear. Sometimes, offenses are worse than that and create permanent fissures in the relationship.

No one wants to end a friendship if they don't have to, but some situations make it unavoidable. Here are three times when you should definitely walk away from a friend.

01 of 03

When to Break Up With a Friend

Chinese woman sitting on sofa with friend using cell phone
10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Before you walk away from your friend, examine the cause behind your desire to get some distance.  While each situation is different, some common reasons people break up with a friend are:

  • Betrayal (sharing secrets, gossip).
  • Lack of support during a rough time.
  • Failure to be happy for you during the high points of your life.
  • Repeated arguments that escalate.
  • Questions on the sincerity of your friendship (frenemy behavior or feeling that your pal doesn't have your best interests at heart).

These issues are severe and demonstrate a lack of trust and respect. In these cases, a firm break up may be the right answer. In other situations, however, you may need to take a different approach.

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When to Get Some Distance

Perhaps the issue with your friendship isn't as severe as those listed above. You might even be annoyed with your friend but don't understand why. Then what? Before you make any rash decisions, get some distance so you can evaluate your friendship. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the current issue in our friendship?
  • Is there a past problem that has never really gone away or has recently resurfaced?
  • Do I still view our friendship with affection?
  • Have we always had problems or are they new?

When you determine exactly what's wrong, you can address it before you break up. You can also decide if this is an issue you definitely do not want to work through. In that case, the friendship will come to an end.

03 of 03

Allow the Friendship to End Naturally

While you can certainly break up with your friend directly, there is another option. All relationships need energy to keep going, so if your friendship has been on a downward slope for some time, it will probably just end quietly and slowly on its own. Not every set of friends needs to rehash their issues before walking away from each other. Some friendships evolve and change, while others are more temporary in nature.

If your friend has not done anything specific to warrant a breakup, then a natural end is the least hurtful way to move on.

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