Divorcing your friends

Divorcing Friends: How to end friendships without the drama
When we hear the word 'divorce' we almost always think of the ending of our romantic relationships, but the ending of a friendship can be just as devastating and often just as dramatic. Without tools to cope with severing ties with a friend gracefully, most of us revert to the tried and true tactics such as 'the blow off,' 'the blow up' and the not very nice, but ever so effective, 'back stab.' The results? We end on bad terms, our feelings get hurt, or we are left wondering thoughts like, "What happened? Why aren't we friends anymore? What did I do?"

The good news is that ending a friendship doesn't have to be this way, not if you can let go of some of the friendship lies and pick up some good breakup habits.

LIE: Friends are forever.

TRUTH: Like any relationship, it's natural for friendships to end. As you grow and change, so will your friendships.

Of course when a friendship ends you will be sad. Endings are sad and can be painful but the suffering is totally optional. When you cling to this B.F.F. rule that says you have to stay friends forever with a person, you're setting yourself up to suffer. We are meant to have multiple relationships in our lifetime, it's just part of life for people to come in and out of our lives. Be willing to let friendships run their course without having to keep them going past their expiration date. "Because we've know each other since high school" cannot be the primary reason to stay friends.

Good Break Up Rule #1: Be Honest. If your friendship is no longer giving you what you need, be honest about the 'why'. First get clear within yourself on why this relationship isn't making your life better. Then talk to your friend and give her or him a chance to respond. Don't wimp out and just let the friendship wither away, or create some massive drama that leaves you not speaking to each other. That only leaves questions and hurt feelings on both sides. Tell your friend what you need, and then ask them if they can give it. Listen. If they can't have the conversation with you, then you know the friendship is over. If they do lean in and talk with you, you might have a relationship that can grow. Be honest with each other and yourself.

Good Break Up Rule #2: Don't Blame. Ending a relationship doesn't have to be anyone's 'fault' so avoid pointing fingers and making the other person wrong or flawed. Instead meet your friend with your heart, the one that connected the two of you in the first place. Be vulnerable and share how you feel. Yes, it may feel a little scary and it will seem easier to bring out your old defense mechanisms and shut yourself off, but that will only lead to drama and hurt. If you can't be open with your feelings in this relationship, either this relationship isn't right for you, or you have a problem opening up. Either way, it's something you need to know.

LIE: It's not nice to not want to be friends with someone.

TRUTH: Friendship are supposed to make your life and you better, and if they don't they aren't the right friendships for you.

When it comes to relationships, you have to choose ME before WE… and that means that every relationship should help you create the life you really want for yourself. You should expect and demand that from your friendships and you should give that in return. If you have friendships that take more than they give, make you feel bad about yourself or create drama in your life, they have to go, and it's your responsibility to move them out. Nice has nothing to do with it. Love yourself enough to only have friendships with people who offer the same respect and love in return. If you need to end a friendship, yes, do it with compassion, but don't keep it going just because you don't want to hurt someone's feelings.

Good Breakup Rule #3: Know who you want to call friend. It's a lot easier to end a friendship when you know the kind of people that you want to surround you. Your life is a direct reflection of the people in it, so be conscious and choosy about who you let in. You wouldn't date a guy or girl without knowing what you want in a partner, so treat your friendships the same way. Write a Friendship Mantra: one to two paragraphs that describe the people you want to call friend. Who are they? What's important to them? What kind of life are they living? What are their expectations of friends?

Good Breakup Rule #4: Know your friendship expectations. Many of our friendship divorces could be avoided if we just knew what our real expectations were of our friends. Not all friendships are created equal. You have your inner circle, your good time gals and guys, and others who you share interests with. Know your expectations for each kind of friend and measure your friendships accordingly. Don't expect your good time guy to be there at 2am to hear your sob story. Be clear on your expectations. Share them and listen. Adjusting your expectations might shift your entire friendship, or make it clear that it's time to move on.

Join Christine for Girltalk beginning Sunday, September 20th in Celebration of National Women's Friendship Day!

At Girltalk… taking it deeper™, we say let's skip all the pretenses… let's break down some of our nice girl or gossip girl walls… and let's get together and talk about what really matters, and have one heck of a fun time doing it! You don't need a book, a business or a hobby to give you a reason to connect. Save yourself the price of the yarn, business cards or paperback and have a Girltalk.
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