Breaking Up With Your Friends

by Cathy Nguyen, Sponsorship Assistant for Central Orientation Week

Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Being a young adult is stressful. Right from high school, there is pressure to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Organizing post-secondary life is another huge hurdle. Of course, once you’re in university, the stakes feel even higher as you gear up to start your “adult life” with a “real career” (Quotation marks because who actually knows what these terms mean!?). Managing finances, living on your own (or alternatively difficult, living with your family), balancing being a responsible adult while also taking the time “embrace your youth” and “live your life to the fullest” and “following your dreams”: These are things that occupy your mind. Somehow, through all of this you have to balance and maintain all those important friendships you have collected through the various stages of your life.

One of the best things about university is meeting and befriending new people. These new friends can bring out the best in you and make you feel more yourself. Maybe they show you some new interests, or are deeply interested in the same things you already love. Or, maybe, they’re just different than the people you’ve been around before in your life.

It’s totally normal to start to feel as though your older friends are not in sync with you anymore. Or maybe your lives are going down different paths. That doesn’t mean you’re not still friends. Friendships change, just like people.

But what if the friendship vibe feels completely depleted? You just feel done. And you “can’t even” anymore? Then it may be time to break up with your friend.

There is no correct way to do this. For me, the first time I broke up with a friend was in high school. Since Grade 5, we were “srsly bffz 4eva~*” which is some real pre-Millenium MSN slang. But, by the time I was in my last year of high school, we were totally different people. I was a mature-ish visual art student with my determination, big plans, and dreams. She was wildly reckless, had low motivation, and was obsessed with bad boys. Despite all this, the #1 reason I couldn’t deal with it anymore is because she never took my advice seriously while I only ever had her best interests at heart.

The way I “broke up” with her was the “fade out”, which is defined by Urban Dictionary as:

“When you slowly stop hanging out, calling, emailing, and text messaging, a friend or more specifically a lover, with the intent of never speaking to them again.”

My fade out with her probably took six months. The last three were completely silent. One day though, after graduating and preparing for my first year in university, I decided I owed her an explanation. Cue: The Long Facebook Message.

Yes, I was a wimp and messaged her on Facebook instead of calling or hanging out. It was about 4 paragraphs about how I felt we were just different people, and I couldn’t relate to her anymore, and it would be best if we just let the sun set on our friendship until we maybe felt differently about life. What did she send back? (Note: This was 6 years ago and I still remember her exact words.)

“We will never be friends again, thanks for the offer though, i’m not that pathetic.”

Well then. That’s nice.

To be honest, even though I still wish I had done it all differently (even though I don’t know what I would do differently, even now) — it was really the best decision for me. I was SUPER happy that she was out of my life. A poisonous friendship is not worth my time, energy, or effort.

Naturally, the intensity of friendships will fade with distance and with time unless you put the effort in. That doesn’t mean you have to break up. Sometimes, I can see friends I haven’t seen in YEARS and we still jive really well. Other times, it’s not the case. You don’t have to be confrontational like I was, but you should always be honest (and gentle) if the discussion of the state of your friendship comes up.

Regardless if you are breaking up with your friend or if you are on the receiving end of the breakup, just know that as you grow into your own person, it is natural for relationships to change or even end. Overall, it may be better for your general well-being to let the fade out happen. One thing to always remember is to try your best to never miss an opportunity to be kind and empathetic. Great memories will always be great memories. Of course, throughout life you will have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friendships that will change your world. Then again, maybe the friends you have now are the ones worth having 4eva~*.