• Handling Breakups

In the Media – Friendship Breakups: Common but still devastating (Toronto Star)

Published: December 7, 2016 | Last Updated: February 10, 2017 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
Toronto Star

Toronto Star



Screenshot (Toronto Star)

Screenshot (Toronto Star)

Writing for the Toronto Star, reporter Zoe McKnight notes that despite how common it is for friendships to break up, these breakups still tend very painful.

She mentions a longitudinal Dutch research study published in in the journal Social Networks in 2014 that found that people replace half their current close friends every seven years. This study confirms how common it is for friendships, even very good ones, to end. The reasons for them ending run the gamut from geographical moves to arguments.

One reason why breakups are tough is because there isn’t any set “rules of the road” on how to negotiate the end of a friendship. Feelings often get hurt or remain unresolved.

McKnight writes:

Experts say many friendships needn’t end entirely, especially among the kind of pals who have been around long enough to remember childhood homes or first marriages. But there are deal-breakers, said Irene S. Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend and professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of medicine.

Those include behavior that undermines you, your career, or other relationships, such as badmouthing and gossip. It could also include behavior that is untrustworthy, such as lying or spilling secrets, or encroaching on boundaries, such as stealing friends or copying.

You can read the December 6 article in its entirety in the Toronto Star. The article was also published in the Waterloo (Canada) Record.

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Comments (4)

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  1. mary says:

    I find it interesting in the day of social media and what would appear to extra connectedness, finding, keeping and maintaining friendships is still such a struggle and ending a friendship is as common as if social media didn’t exist. It would appear that with so many avenues to find people with common interests and passions, we’d have more friends than ever and communicate (text, phone, skype, email, social media) more than ever.

    • Sandra says:

      Good points, Mary. Interestingly, I heard a report on NPR yesterday, about the Surgeon General declaring that the worst/biggest health crisis in the U.S. right now is “isolation.” More Americans than ever are feeling lonely and alienated. And yes, you’re right, this is the age of social media. What’s wrong with this picture?

  2. Tanja says:

    This is a great article. However, I have friendships end, but never like a “break up” where you have the talk. I actually find it better this way. From my experience, it is likely, the other person has noticed as well and it is mutual where you just stop reaching out. Then years go by and once in a while you think about the person but it’s over. No words said but just mutually understood……

    That is usually how it has been for me, still sad though.

  3. Sandra says:

    Excellent article, and thank you for sharing it. Glad to see that the author of this piece included “neglect and non-reciprocation” in the list of reasons why friendships come to an end. Though I’ve rarely had a huge argument or falling-out with a friend, I’ve let a couple friendships ‘fade out’ after I found that making plans, initiating contact, or inviting people over was mostly my responsibility. Great friendship isn’t a one-way street.

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