• Handling Breakups

The difficulty of giving up on a friendship

Published: November 17, 2013 | Last Updated: November 17, 2013 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
It’s always painful giving up on a friendship and deciding it’s time to cut your losses.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

My friendship has completely broken down and I’m at a loss to understand where it all went wrong. We had been friends for two and a half years and this past year we got closer and spent every other weekend together—and some weeknights, too.

He lost his job a year into our friendship and I supported him through this with lending him money, etc. etc. and then all of a sudden he started to pull away and doesn’t seem to want to spend as much time together. He’s been cancelling weekends and has generally been messing me.

Enough is enough with his pathetic excuses and all I get from him is “We will always be friends” but how can you be friends with someone like that? It’s not what I call friendship. Do I cut my losses and move on because in my eyes, friends don’t mess each other around like this.

Signed, Allie

ANSWER

Hi Allie,

A job loss can be tough on a marriage or a friendship. Moreover, unemployment can undermine take a toll on an individual’s mood and self-esteem. You stood by your friend, emotionally and financially, so his unilateral decision to spend less time with you after that has to be a hurtful blow.

Now that he’s presumably back on his feet, it sounds like you having been giving more than you are receiving in this relationship, and your friend hasn’t been able to reciprocate in terms of offering you what you should expect and deserve from him: openness, honesty and communication.

It’s always hard to move on, especially after you have invested so much. But yes, your instincts are right. I would cut my losses because at this point, the friendship sounds more draining than satisfying.

Given how close you once were, you might try speaking to your friend one more time to find out what changed from his perspective and to let him know definitively you aren’t comfortable continuing the friendship any longer. You will feel more in control after doing this.

This isn’t an easy situation so I hope you have friends who can offer you support getting over this loss.

My best, Irene

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS

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  1. allie says:

    thank you for responding to my question,it was good to get other peoples views on the situation. So just a quick update since i last wrote in, he’s still unemployed and i’m no longer in contact with him. long story short we arranged to see one another to sort our problems out but he let me down!! So having thought about what step i should take i turned around and told him to delete my number and forget i was ever in his life, i just couldn’t do it no more it was getting to the stage where i sat at home and cried, because i didn’t know what was going on, to be honest i still don’t know why our friendship took a turn for the worst. All i know is that i helped a friend out when he needed me and he turned his back on me once he got money, gifts etc out of me. A life lesson has been learned and although it hurts and i still can’t believe our friendship end like it did it’s time to move on and value the friends i do have in my life.

  2. Marisa says:

    Agree with Amy. Sometimes too much togetherness is not a good thing. Step back, don’t get too serious, and see how things go. I had to completely cut off a clingy friend who automatically thought we would be spending most weekends together. It was draining.

  3. Amy says:

    Sorry to hear your friendship isn’t working out the way you want it to. It’s hard when the dynamics of relationships change, especially when you’re not the one who initiates the change.
    When people pull away without explanation, sometimes it’s due in part to their inability to communicate that they need more time/space in an effective manner. I wonder if that’s happening here.
    I’d give him some space before approaching him, if you still want to continue the friendship.
    Long term friendships sometimes wax and wane in intensity and go through periods of difficulty, so it’s possible this is just a bump on a long road.
    Good luck.

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