Knowing When It's Time to Say Goodbye to a Friend
By Thao Nguyen
Friends are an integral part of life. When we’re kids, they’re our first experience of love outside of the family, and in most cases, they eventually become like family. Friends support us, they laugh with us, cry with us, and grow up with us.
Sadly, even the best of friendships can fall apart as we get older.
Relationships are rarely fifty-fifty. Oftentimes, one person will have to be selfless and make a lot more sacrifices than the other. And that’s fine. One of the beautiful things about love is that making sacrifices becomes fulfilling. When your friend calls you crying in the middle of the night, being there for her is more important than getting sleep. When your friend has a broken leg, you go out of your way to help him get around without developing any resentment. We endure a lot of things for our friends, and rarely expect anything in return. And whether it’s roasting each other in a group chat, or drunk professions of love, we show our gratitude for sacrifices in different ways.
The older we get though, the harder it is to keep in touch and express our love for our friends.
When we were kids, being friends with someone was a lot easier. Similar schedules and fewer responsibilities made hanging out more convenient. As a result, showing our love and appreciation and communicating was a lot more natural and effortless. Now that we’re older, our friends have different schedules than us, may be at different stages of their lives than us, and we all have a lot of responsibilities that come before hanging out. So staying in touch with friends and keeping friendships alive can sometimes feel like another thing on a checklist to tick off. And while friends are absolutely worth the extra effort and energy, sometimes our friendships fall by the wayside because we keep pushing them further down in lieu of other obligations. Usually, the line of thinking is that our friends will always be there for us, and there’s no need to constantly nurture the relationship. But just like any other relationship, that isn’t the case.
For the most part, friends will understand that sometimes we can be distant and unavailable because of work or other responsibilities, after all, they’re going through a lot in their own lives too. But when that behavior is consistent and you begin to take each other’s patience for granted, the friendship can begin to feel strained and burdensome.
In an ideal world, we would be able to hold on to all of our friends. The ones we’ve had since childhood, the ones we forged in college, even the ones we made through chance meetings. But the world is far from ideal, and for the sake of sanity, there comes a time when we need to decide which friendships to put work into and which friendships to end. Doing so can be a relief to both parties involved. If the drive to keep the friendship going wasn’t there anymore, chances are, the friendship will fizzle out anyways. Ending the friendship frees both people from feeling obligated to send the occasional text and faking interest in the ensuing conversation. You and your friend both deserve more than a relationship that feels forced.