When Friendships Aren't Forever
How to Handle a BFF Break-Up
#3: There was a falling-out.
Sometimes a disagreement or betrayal can send BFFs down the break-up road. Hauper advises to really examine what life would be like without the other person, and to ask yourself if whatever happened is a big enough deal to risk losing that friendship. Yager says it's a question of degree, and situation. “If this is someone you met 20 years ago, you may have more of a reason to keep them in your life than someone you met six months ago” she says. Yager also notes that if you have mutual friends, or a unit of best friends, you might want to try your best to forgive and forget for the good of the group.
“Sometimes, the best thing to do is take a friendship sabbatical — you just need some time away from each other,” Levine advises. “It's very easy to get quite angry with a friend and once that happens [the friendship] can be irreparable."
#4: You've experienced a “friend-shift.”
Yager coined this phrase to describe life events that can dramatically change friendships — such as marrying a man who can't stand your friends — noting this type of break-up is different than growing apart physically, because it's hinged on an outside factor. She said she once interviewed a woman whose best friend was a man — and his new wife forbade the two of them to see each other. Yager says that, in this situation, the woman needed to care enough about her friend to put his marriage as the primary concern. When it comes to a friend-shift, she says, “sometimes you have to just wait it out.”
#5: You didn't realize you were breaking up.
This type of break-up occurs when you don't even know your friendship is falling apart — until you do. For example, Yager says, maybe you always remember your friend's birthday, and you go on Facebook one day to see, much to your horror, that it occurred a couple days ago and you forgot. But, sometimes a wake-up call is all it takes. “If you can get a friendship that's starting to wane back on your radar screen, you can save it,” she says.
The bottom line: Don't be afraid, or too proud, to actively save the relationship. “Friendships need to be forgiving and flexible,” Levine says. “If the friendship is important to you, or if you are the one who did something, or didn't do something, there's no problem with being the first person to apologize or offer the olive branch. It's important to do it sooner than later.”
Hauper says many women assume that female friendships should be easy, but as with any relationship, “Sometimes we do have to work at them … and that's okay.”