When it’s Time to Let go of your Best Friend

Emmanuella Anyanwu October 03, 2011

It’s interesting how we usually remember how and when we met our current or past romantic interests, alias “catches”.  Some people actually remember what they were wearing on their first date- the color, whether a pair of trousers or skirt, etc. I recently attended a wedding where married guests were indulged in a game and each individual partner had to tell everyone what he/she was wearing the first time they met.

On the other hand, a lot of people don’t remember the first time they met their best friend (while your partner should be your best friend, ‘best friend’ in this article refers to your best friend with whom you have no romantic interest). 

In the same vein, when we think about letting go of a relationship, we automatically think about a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. There is immense attention and lots of articles, books and talk shows advising on when the right time is to leave a relationship, signs that its time to leave, how to leave, how to move on, etc – all very important topics.

However, our non-romantic relationships with our girlfriends or guy friends also experience some of the strain and tests that our romantic relationships go through. Our non-romantic relationships are also very important aspects of our lives- if for nothing else, we sisters need our buddies to keep us busy and less jealous during World Cup, Superbowl, and the likes, when lots of guys just want to see nothing else but their Plasma TV screens.

On a serious note however, the importance of our relationships with best friends or close friends cannot be over emphasized. Sadly they, just like romantic relationships, sometimes grow sour and need to be re-evaluated. Some of us actually don’t realize that there is such a thing as letting go of someone you considered to be a best friend. Just like we make the decision to let go of a bad romantic relationship, we also need to know when its time to let go of a non-romantic relationship.

There are various reasons why one might want to end a relationship with a best friend.  Physical or emotional abuse is one reason.  Another reason is when one friend out-grows the other or when both individuals find themselves engaged in activities that widen the gap between them. For instance, one friend might just decide he/she has found new and “better” friends and always choose to spend time with these new people over spending time with the “old” friend. 

Close friends might also get to a point where they realize that their career, family, personal choices or other engagements are keeping them so busy that they hardly find time to spend with their best friend. A situation like this is a test of true friendship. Truly close friends still value and feel close with each other even if separated by distance or if one or more of the individuals involved can hardly find time for social purposes. 

On the other hand, seasonal friends do not make it when separated by distance or other. Seasonal friends are people who become your friend for a very particular reason or people who become your friend solely because you are both pursuing the same goal. Remember those study buddies you made in college? People you found yourself around more often than not because you wound up taking a lot of classes together and as a result of spending all those hours cracking math, physics problems or preparing for projects, you thought you were becoming very close.  But after those semesters were over, you realized you had nothing much else to talk about. 

Another signal that its time to re-evaluate your friendship is when you start to feel like you are the only one investing in the relationship or when you feel like your friend is only taking away from you or just plain absent from the relationship. You never want to have a lop sided relationship where you feel like you do things in the interest of the relationship but your friend doesn’t show the same level of commitment, even after you have made several complaints to him/her.

As they say, “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”. The friends we keep can help make us or break us. Friends are people you seek advise from, get influenced by, learn from, etc. As a result, it is pertinent to always have an understanding of who the close people in your life are and the exact role they play- that way you know how to manage them and are fully aware of the level of commitment you owe each one.

Letting go of anything requires a great deal of analysis! Emotions, while hard to eradicate, should not be allowed to play a role in this decision making process.  Like any other important decision, you must carefully observe, seek wise counsel, and very importantly, do some self-reflection to dissect why you feel the way you feel and whether or not your feeling is unfounded. You also need to make sure you discuss your feelings with your friend and observe both their reaction and how things turn out. Also bear in mind that letting go doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye forever. Letting go, in your case, might just be a question of re-defining your friendship and commitment level. 

 

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