When Friendships Aren't Forever
How to Handle a BFF Break-Up
Jan Yager, Ph.D., author of When Friendship Hurts, agrees, noting how the media romanticizes friendship. She says shows like Sex and the City are popular mainly because “it's a fantasy for women that they'll have this four-way best friendship in their older years.”
Yet, despite the ideals women may believe in and hope for concerning friendship, breaking up with your BFF, to whom you have no familial or legal ties (like you would with siblings or a husband), is rather easy. “Friendship has to be a shared commitment,” Yager says. “It takes two to develop and maintain a friendship, but only one to end it.”
In light of this, here are five common ways best friends break up, along with advice from the experts on how to weather them:
#1: You live far away from each other.
This break-up is very common: Your BFF moves away for college or a job and, before you know it, you're only talking to each other every few months and getting together in person once a year — if you're lucky. Add in a husband, kids and a different time zone, and it gets even harder to maintain your bond. Yager says that as long as you both have a commitment to keeping the friendship going, this is an easy situation to fix. “Just pick up the phone and set up a time to get together — don't rely on electronic communication,” she says. “If you live on opposite ends of the country, meet halfway to share the financial burden of getting together.”
#2: You've grown apart emotionally.
You and your BFF just aren't the same as when you sat side-by-side stringing lanyards at summer camp. And, sometimes, Levine says, the differences are just too great. “In college or high school, you are in the same place doing the same thing, you have the same social interests. As you mature, your career takes shape and you develop a relationship with the opposite sex, there might be no common ground anymore.”
Though, Yager says this situation doesn't necessarily require a break-up. In fact, she notes that “nostalgia friendships,” with women you knew as a kid, are important to keep because of how great it can be having people in your life who knew you when you were young.