School of Thought

We used to be in­sep­a­ra­ble, but over the last few years we’ve gone in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. She’s not done any­thing wrong but I find her grat­ing on me when I do see her. She’s changed and maybe I have too. I think it’s time for us to go our sep­a­rate ways –

Grazia (UK) - - Contents - eleanor mor­gan is au­thor of Anx­i­ety For Be­gin­ners: A Per­sonal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and is train­ing to be a psy­chol­o­gist an­jula mu­tanda is a psy­chol­o­gist and au­thor of How To Do Re­la­tion­ships

Why does the idea of a de­fin­i­tive ‘ break-up’ seem so ap­peal­ing? Our friend­ships change and evolve over the course of our lives, de­pend­ing on a whole host of things. Ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships, hav­ing chil­dren, chang­ing lo­ca­tion, our jobs, etc, can all af­fect how much – and in what ca­pac­ity – we see our friends. In times of ex­tremis we might find that the most con­sis­tent sup­port comes from a new friend, rather than the close one we have known since school, be­cause they were deal­ing with drama of their own. What I am say­ing is: these things are fluid.

As you say your­self, you were once in­sep­a­ra­ble from this per­son but, al­though you see each other rarely, you still do see each other. You don’t say what has hap­pened in both of your lives over the last few years but I’m go­ing to glean from ‘dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions’ that life looks quite dif­fer­ent for one of you com­pared to the other – per­haps that in­volves a new part­ner, a baby, or group of friends. What­ever it is, maybe it doesn’t chime with who you both were at the time of be­ing in­sep­a­ra­ble.

The essence of who you were likely re­mains the same, but the foot­prints of our lives in­evitably change over time, don’t they? Our de­sires, needs and ref­er­ences shift. The ques­tion is whether you have enough com­mon ground, or af­fec­tion, to still get some­thing from see­ing each other. Why, if she has ‘done noth­ing wrong’, does she grate on you? Think about it. It is OK for friend­ships to change shape and serve dif­fer­ent pur­poses. When we’re at school, the friend­ships we have are of­ten deeply in­tense and tribal – re­flec­tive of the stage of de­vel­op­ment we’re at. Plenty of peo­ple do not keep these friend­ships go­ing into adult­hood but, for those that do, the bonds are in­evitably go­ing to change as we get older. As long as every­one is on the same page, this is a nav­i­ga­ble fact of life.

Maybe you and your friend are not on the same page be­cause that fierce friend­ship was what you both needed back then. Now, your needs are met by other things – and peo­ple. If sev­er­ing con­tact re­ally is what you want, I won­der how you imag­ine ex­plain­ing that to her. Or, whether you need to. It will likely cause you both anx­i­ety. Can’t you just leave things open to take their course? It sounds like you’ve gone from be­ing very close besties, to you ‘check­ing out’ of the friend­ship. This does hap­pen, as we change and evolve and move in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. You’ve also de­scribed a warn­ing sign – that of her grat­ing on you the few times you’ve met up re­cently. How­ever, as noth­ing spe­cific has hap­pened, just a grad­ual grow­ing and go­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, there are steps you can take. I think the key is to put dis­tance be­tween you, which judg­ing by the in­fre­quency you see her as it is, has al­ready started to hap­pen. Mir­ror this process on so­cial me­dia in or­der to keep the mes­sage con­stant. No look­ing her up to see what she’s up to, or lik­ing and com­ment­ing on her pho­tos. Just like a break-up with a lover, don’t call, text or email, or agree to meet up when she con­tacts you sim­ply out of po­lite­ness or habit. This just sends mixed mes­sages. Be pre­pared for her to ask for an ex­pla­na­tion. Be kind but hon­est. Don’t blame, but talk about how you feel now. Thank her for her friend­ship and wish her well.

eleanor says:

an­jula says:

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