• Handling Breakups

In the Media – The most difficult part of friendship

Published: March 5, 2015 | Last Updated: March 5, 2015 By | 11 Replies Continue Reading


An article in the online publication for millennials,  Mic, suggests that the most difficult part of friendship is the one no one talks about.

At first, we fought over the small things: the merits of certain HBO shows, the vegetable side for dinner, a tiny word choice. Then the bigger stuff: who’s attractive, whose parents like you, who divulged a personal secret. Any time I was around this person, I felt like they weren’t listening to me. Before I was about to see them, a wave of absolute dread washed over me. I felt like an imposter during every hug. The relationship just wasn’t right for me.

It was a disputed electric bill that finally broke the camel’s aching, gossip-fatigued back. I had to end it.

The problem was: She was my good friend.

In this article, journalist Kate Hakala tells the story about her own breakup with a friend and then recounts the stories of others who have encountered what she calls the “difficult part” of friendship.

She interviewed Dr. Levine and also mentioned The Friendship Blog:

But the need to formally end a friendship comes when we realize someone we confide in, trust and view as our support system simply isn’t living up to those (admittedly) demanding expectations. “No relationship is perfect, but if a friend always leaves you feeling drained, it might be time to re-evaluate the friendship,” psychologist Irene Levine, creator of The Friendship Blog, told Mic.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Sarah Anne says:

    I’ve been dumped by Facebook from a long term friend. I told him I was really sick when I was pregnant. He didn’t seem to care and never tried visiting me. But blamed it all on me and mistook it as I didn’t want to be friends at all.

  2. Julia says:

    Some friendships have to be broken. You have to move forward sometimes

  3. Carol says:

    I was thinking about the fact that I really have seen the light when it came to friendships in my life. What the light brought me was a picture of me in past friendships when I waited for another human being to approve of me in some way. In the past year, I wrote my “life story” beginning with birth. It took me quite some time to accomplish this as I only stopped the story when I arrived at age 75. What I realized that was so helpful to me is how many years I spent trying to find acceptance by others of who I am. When I realized that self was only ok if others fed back what I wanted hear. I knew all the parts of me by age 75 and believe me the best parts of me, the parts I kept hidden and felt ashamed of, didn’t have a chance to exist around others. It was only then I realized I had carried that pot of shame, which of course begins for all of us in childhood. It was hard work to sort it all out and begin to let it go with time. For those still creating their life story, unlike we older people, you can be aware of who you are creating and be more aware of who you are and how you feel about that person. As Mark said, friendship is an art. In the end, we are the only one who can create the person on the canvas that we know so well.

    Get out your canvas and go for it! Carol

  4. LaTrice says:

    It’s a challenge to end a friendship-especially a friendship that lasted throughout the years. Ending my recent friendship with my ex-best friend two months ago was one of them. Due to insecurities, boundaries, and disrespect were the top three reasons why I had to walk away permanently.

    Ever since my ex-best friend asked me to sleep with him behind his girlfriend’s back, I couldn’t help but cringe at the text messages. If he were to call me, I wouldn’t bother answering the phone. I explained to him about the “domino” effect if we were to sleep with each other, and he told me that we needed to keep our mouths shut!! I turned him down and he was upset with me. I stopped talking to him for a few weeks, hoping that he would come to his senses. Boy, was I wrong!! He still wanted to sleep with me. That’s when I realized that my ex-best friend doesn’t respect me as a friend. All I was to him was a “side” piece, and that didn’t sit well with me.

    Due to his girlfriend’s actions, I didn’t enjoy being the target of her insecurities! Yes, I’ll admit that I would give him a call, or text him every once in a while, but I did respect his boundaries. He would give me a call, or text me every once in a while, but did NOT respect my boundaries (he asked if he could send me a picture of his private parts, but I politely declined. I did tell him that it wasn’t a good idea, and he needed to take care of his family).

    My life has definitely improved-ever since I ended the friendship. I had to be selfish, and start looking out for myself. I had to forgive myself for what happened between the two of us. I realized that his actions wasn’t my fault, and I can’t be held responsible for them. Being friends with my ex-best friend was exhausting, and I can’t help but feel energized-now that he’s out of my life. The friends that are currently in my life, I will NEVER take those friendships for granted. I really do appreciate them standing by me in that difficult time in my life. Although I was called every name in the book by my ex-best friend, my current friends know that I’m NOT that kind of person.

    It took me a while to forgive my ex-best friend. But, I’ll NEVER forget what happened. I don’t have to maintain a friendship with him EVER again. I already burnt that bridge with him, and I will NOT rebuild that bridge.

  5. carol says:

    Hello Mark,

    If you did live close enough for us to meet and share our experiences with friendships, I know you would have your own story of your search for solid friendship(s). I retired from education two years ago. I worked with special education young people, the last being a boy with aspergers. He was in the 6th grade when I met him and stayed with him on into high school. If you know anything about this so-called disability, you know they have quite a challenge when trying to have a friend. When all was said and done he graduated from high school last June and is on a path to a local university. His mother tells me that he left high school with many friends with whom he became close to in his own way. If I gave him any gift, it was the assurance he would be a worthy friend, if he just would be himself, aspergers and all. All the friendships I had in my working years taught me something about life. My life has been full of transitions and I expect as long as I still have my life, they will continue. I know for sure the one person I can count on to continue to be my friend to the end is me. If I am not a friend to myself, be willing to endure the losses and keep “expectations” like a door I can open when I am ready. Further, to use my experiences of living like one would use a few helpful reference books close. I will simply continue my journey with all its ups and downs. I felt your hope through your writing and believe your journey will be just as full if you learn to know yourself Mark. I just had my 76th birthday last month. Four friends contacted me to take me to dinner…all separately. One is someone I see fairly often. The other three are friends I made during the time I worked in the schools. We don’t see each other often. However, it is clear to me that each of them want to be encouraging to me as I age. I am 10 years older than each of them. Like me each of them have lost their parents. It is these transitions we could openly share with each other and truly understand that draws us to each other. They help me to know that life can offer us security or growth, but not both. I choose growth which of course means sometimes getting what I want and other times losing what I wanted, but always learning more about myself. I think this has been my friendship pattern since I was a teenager. So Mark, just keep exploring who you are and you’ll find the most faithful friend you’ll ever have. you! Thank you for sharing yourself on the blog. 14, 40 or 76, we all matter. In addition, we need the voices of men as well. Best to you. Carol

    • Friend says:

      Thank you for sharing your journey. You are so encouraging to others. I’m sure your friends enjoyed celebrating your 76th birthday with you.

  6. Mark says:

    I wish I could visit you Carol and humbly learn from you. I’m almost 40 and feel like I’ve just began to learn the intricate workings of selecting and maintaining a worthy friendship. It seems once we are taken out of an environmental that imposes closeness, for example school or corporate world, it takes more work on each person to nurture meaningful friendships beyond the surface chit-chat. Friendship is an art.

  7. carol says:

    I am a 76 year old woman. Why do I need to say this? Well because it has been many, many years of learning how to have a mutually respectful friendship that works because if someone can’t respect who I am, then it simply won’t work for me. If I have worked hard on any issue in my life it is learning how I want to be treated by others. I pretty much by now know my own boundaries and how I use my personal “radar” to decide how close I want to be to another human being. I think finding a rewarding friendship whether it be with a woman or a man, is one of the greatest treasures in life. My life has been filled with breakups in love relationships and friend relationships. With each breakup I had to work hard to understand my part in the ending, as well as refuse to accept anothers who may not be ready to own their part in the breakup. In the final analysis if we admit to ourselves that creating a friendship with another, like learning anything that is important to us, requires digging in to understand how I define what a friendship is to me. It’s why this blog is so important as we can learn from others heartaches and their triumphs as well. I now have a best friend with whom I have slowly (over 5 years)grown to trust like I never thought I could. I don’t trust easily, but I’ve worked hard on this important issue and the hard work has paid off.

    Thanks, Carol

    • Joy says:

      I have become the same way over the years. Life is too short to put up with people who have no respect. I’m happy for you that you found someone you can call ‘friend’.

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