• Handling Breakups

Is this friendship breakup worth talking about?

August 6, 2012 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
When two friends have an argument or breakup, it is usually worth talking about—but not always. 

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

About two weeks ago, one of my closest friends and I had a massive argument. I had been feeling annoyed at her for quite some time because she just seems to use me and other friends when it suits her, such as needing a car ride somewhere, and talking to us only when she has a problem.

When I tried to ask advice about one of my problems, she didn’t even appear to be listening, and would only talk about it for five minutes before we would have to talk about her and her problems for hours on end.

The final straw came when she cancelled on me (and my friends) at the last minute for the hundredth time, and then ignored me for two weeks. When I confronted her it turned into a massive argument.

I admit I said some harsh things and have apologized for it, but now she won’t talk about what happened at all. When I ask if we should talk about it she just says, “Is there any point?”

Just to clarify, I don’t want to be friends with her anymore, but I would like to end our friendship amicably, both knowing what we did wrong and where we stand with each other. But it’s like she doesn’t even realize that she has done anything wrong and clearly doesn’t want to talk about it. We have arranged to meet up, but I don’t even know if she will actually turn up.

I don’t know whether to even bother trying to sort out the problem or just move on already, and forget about it and forget about her.

Thanks. Emily

ANSWER

Hi Emily,

Your friend sounds inconsiderate and self-absorbed so I can understand how aggravating it must have been for you. It sounds like these irritations kept building up but you weren’t able to confront her until you reached the end of your rope.

After this “final straw,” you realized she isn’t the kind of a friend you can count on, which has to be terribly disappointing. I suspect  our friend wasn’t used to you questioning her behavior so your words may have come across particularly harsh and unexpected.

Given your feelings now, it would be insincere—and probably impossible—to end the friendship amicably. You have attempted to resolve the argument already, and know why you are upset, so I can’t see any reason to continue trying to “sort it out.” If you are seeking closure, it may be something you have to do independently of your friend.

My suggestion would be to not initiate any more contact with her individually. Since you have mutual friends and are likely to see her, act cordially if you happen to meet up as part of your group and be sure not to bad mouth her to others.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


A few prior posts on The Friendship Blog that touch on communication and closure:

 

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Category: How to get over a breakup

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve given up on the idea that I have to convince the other party they are at fault – even when they clearly are. People who don’t want to admit fault frequently put up the “what’s the point of talking about it?” argument – although, I have to admit, there are exceptions where there is no point in talking, like with narcissists.

    But simply put: friendship is give and take. If she keeps take-take-taking and not giving back, then it’s time to end it on your part by letting it die a natural death. Just as a person dies, friendships die too and we have to be realistic and mature enough to understand and accept it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here’s my story. A colleague became a good friend years ago. Last year, we had a blow-up, which had been building for a year or so. In my opinion, it had to do with different communication styles. We ignored each other for months. This year, we started communicating again albeit casually. We haven’t had a talk yet about what happened. I would like to but I know, from experience, she likely doesn’t. Perhaps, if our friendship grows again, I will bring it up in some fashion.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can relate. This is a common problem, unfortunately. I like your advice, Irene. It’s taking the high road that ultimately makes us feel best.

  4. lacole says:

    It makes it awkward. Whever the friend that wanted to talk and was turned down sees the other friend, she may always feel rejected and maybe desperate for trying to talk things out.. the friend that turned her down may avoid her for along time, afraid the friend will try and talk to her when they see eachother…ugg!

  5. Anonymous says:

    My personal way of dealing with a troubled friendship is, I only have a conversation if I am still willing to go further with the relationship…otherwise I feel no big talk is needed…because if the other person wants to maintain the friendship, you are in such an uncompromising position of just saying ” There is NO possible way we can be anything but very casual friends”… So big talks like that are very hard to get past, and just be pleasant to each other…

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a great site on friendship! Glad I found your friendship blog. I’ve subscribed and will be back for more. Thanks for the advice. This is timely for me, too!

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