• Resolving Problems

A bad ending to a good friendship: Are there second chances?

Published: January 16, 2010 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading
A reader asks if there can be second chances after an unsettling blowup with a friend.


Hi Irene,

I’m so happy to have found your blog and discovered your book. I will definitely be running out and buying a copy!

A very close, cherished friendship that I’ve had for 14 years has just come to a painful end, and I’m heartbroken. I wish there was a way to repair it, but I know it takes two to work on a relationship and my friend really did and said some things that damaged our relationship and my trust in her beyond repair. Still, having said that, I wish things had not unfolded as they did, and I certainly wish I could undo whatever my role in the demise was (although I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and really believe I only played a small role in it coming to an end).

It’s been about two months now. What continues to pain me is the horrible last words exchanged between us. I certainly expressed my anger and hurt to her but I was careful to avoid attacking her character outright or name-calling her, or permanently burning bridges between us. On the other hand, she attacked me personally and said some downright nasty things that were so over-the-top they were obviously designed to wound.

We had been like sisters who loved each other for years-so to end on such hostile, borderline-hateful terms seems wrong and sad. I know we can’t be close friends anymore, but I hate being haunted by the memory of our last conversation, and having that go down as the last one in the history book of our friendship (which had many loving, fun times through the years). I’m wondering if there is a way to temporarily be in touch just to end on better terms. I don’t know if that even makes sense!

Thanks! Penny


Dear Penny,

I’m sorry that you felt so betrayed that you had to end your friendship. Whether the decision was hers, yours, or mutual, this has to be a painful loss and it sound like you are reluctant to let go.

In terms of the blowup and harsh words exchanged between you: When people are hurt and upset, they often lash out and say things out of anger that don’t represent their true feelings. I’m not sure you can go back and change what happened, either the events that ended the friendship or the words that were uttered during the blowup. However, it sounds like you want to try and are willing to forgive your friend to some extent.

Since it has been two months since your last encounter, your friend’s anger probably has dissipated and a calmer, less hostile conversation may, indeed, be possible. Let her know that you aren’t happy with the way things ended and that you’d like another chance to discuss the problems you’ve had in a more positive manner. You’ll probably be able to tell by her response whether or not this is possible.

To do this, it may be best to write your friend a note expressing your feelings and desire to get together. This will give her time to reflect on your request and on what happened between you so she isn’t caught off guard. If you want to rekindle your relationship, you can also mention that you are open to that.

Since you were such close friends, I doubt that she is happy with the way your friendship ended either and there may be second chances. I hope you can have a meaningful discussion that either allows you to become friends again or to walk away leaving each of you feeling more whole. It won’t be easy but you seem to be motivated.

Hope this is helpful.

Sincerely, Irene

Also on The Friendship Blog: How to handle a blowup with a friend


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