Breaking Up is Hard To Do

They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it’s true

We’ve all been there…when the object of your affection somehow becomes the object of your infuriation, the object of your annoyance, the object of your irritation. It doesn’t happen with a bang, more like a sigh. The formerly-adorable gesture of scratching his rotund belly after a full meal becomes the most vile behavior you’ve ever seen. His cute little habit of leaving the top off of the toothpaste is grounds for murder. No longer does the sight of him make you melt; instead, it makes you claw your own skin off, you feel so uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, whatever the impetus, it’s inevitable – you have to break up.

Breaking up with a significant other is never fun, but barring the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ conversations, there’s usually a reason and years later, when exercising your 20/20 vision of hindsight, you realize it was worth it. Yes, you go through the depression, the anger, the eating of entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s (or Jake’s Ice Cream for those Atlantans) in one sitting, but slowly, surely, the ache drains away from your heart and one day, amazingly, it’s gone. You’ve survived, and can go off to begin the cycle yet again.

Yes, breakups I know. Breakups I’ve survived. Yet it’s not the typical breakup that I want to discuss today, it’s the quandary involved when you want to break up with a friend.

Friendships come about in many ways. There’s the girl you met on the first day of Elementary school who you thought looked like a brown-haired Little Orphan Annie that became your life-long best friend. There’s your college roommates who talked you through many nights of homesickness, doused you with perfume and made you put in your contacts the first time a boy called late night to come over for a ‘chat’, the people that you share post-work beers with, griping about your coworkers, the drudgery of your job, and how it would be so much easier to just hit your annoying officemate in the head with a stapler than hear him talk about ‘staying on the same page’ one more time. These people in your life, they’re special, but at times, you realized that some friendships have served their purpose and it’s time to come to an end. But how?

I’ve got the boy-breakup down-pat. The strategies, the statements, the clichéd reasons why it’s just not going to work out. But when it comes to friends, I’m smack out of ideas. I’m not good with confrontation; moreover, I avoid it like I avoid doing more work than necessary. Yet there comes a time when you realize that your ‘friend’ is actually more work than it’s worth, more frustration than friendship. When you spend more time wondering how to get out of an obligation with the person, spend more time complaining about the fact that his or her attitude is nothing if not energy-sucking and depressing, spend more time contemplating telling him/her off, you know you need to make a clean break. And it’s never easy.

As in romantic relationships, there’s basically two options. You can choose the honesty route, telling the person that it’s over, stating your reasons (true or otherwise), and going your separate ways. Or you could do what I advised my friend about when he wanted to ditch his gal…slowly fade away. Though all girls hate when there’s no closure, no measurable ending, no exact reasons why it didn’t work out, this tried and true method is well-known enough that after a few weeks of no emails or calls, they get the picture. Same with friend breakups.

The whole situation, however you want to spin it, sucks. Makes me wish for Brutally Honest Aubrey days with no repercussions, where, with Brandy & Monica’s song playing in the background, you can say “Step off, Bitch” with a clear conscience.

Or something like that.

9 thoughts on “Breaking Up is Hard To Do

  1. I had the same problem with a friend. On one hand when she was in a good mood, she was a blast to hang out with, but when she was in a bad mood, which once lasted 3 weeks, she totally sucked the life out of me and just made me depressed. I wish I had some great advice about how I got out of the friendship to tell you, but I don’t, and she is still my friend. I have tried to just put this past us, but I am not sure for how much longer I can do this. So if you figure out how to do it, please share!

  2. Sometimes a “friend’s” true colors take a while to come out and because you are a good friend and want to see the good in everyone it is hard for you to make a clean break. But you have to look out for numero uno so I think the best bet when you find yourself in this situation is to gradually back off and just say no to being around that person.

  3. Ahhh, you sing it so well. My oldest best friend forwarded this to me this morning…we’re both having some issues like this with other separate friends. Yet for me lately it seems I’m pulling out my checklist on fair weather friends alot more often. Yes, they’ve provided me with good times and some comfort, but I see myself growing away from maybe who they really are or who I don’t want to be and alot I’m finding; are really selfish. And you try and tell them this, sometimes they hear it, sometimes they don’t know…and you put in so much effort and struggle with it. And being yourself for that matter is a struggle enough, will it make you a better person not to have them in your life you wonder? Then who do you turn to when the chips are down after they have faded? It is tough. People come and go. I always think of this poem a friend gave me years ago, ironically our paths were entertwined for quite sometime, but they continued on in different directions eventually…it’s title is “A reason, a season, a lifetime…” It basically states that people are in your life for “a reason, a season, a lifetime…” and for whatever reason it is they are there, or need it is they will fullfill, eventually it may come to an end when their job is done or will grow and flourish with you as you both grow and give to one another.
    Regardless, be thankful I guess for the times you shared and the ways they inspired your life. If blatant, but soft honesty doesn’t work (because chances are, they may not even know they are being the way they are and it’s affecting you this way and hopefully the friendship can be saved) then move on and remember the good times.
    I will try and post this poem next week though, it’s very inspiring and has helped me alot.

  4. I’m not sure you can really break up with a friend any more than you could put the reasons you dislike a person completely out of your mind. Inside your head you’ll always have the lingering memory of the good times. The best you can do it put some space between you and them and hope it doesn’t affect your relationships and opportunities to continue to be yourself with your other friends.

  5. here is the poem or “thoughts” I mentioned last week. Enjoy.
    People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime…When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a
    need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly.
    They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They
    may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.
    Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at
    an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand…What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.
    When people come into your life for a SEASON,
    it is because your turn has come to share, grow,
    or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something
    you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy..Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season..
    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have
    a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (any way); and
    put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is
    Thank you for being a part of my life……

  6. i just wanted to say thank you for posting that poem. It is so truthful for the situation i am in right now with my friend. Except she didn’t really get it, partly because we are two different people, who havce 2 different views on things.. Anyways i loved it, thank you!

  7. Breaking up gives you this feeling of nagging pain. When you remember the good times, you feel as if your chest’s being teared apart – from the inside. And there’s really nothing you can do about it in that exact moment you’d want to make the pain go away. You’ll need time.

  8. I just broke up with a friend of 13 years last night. That poem helps. She was self absorbed and sucking the life out of me. The conversation started out ok but she just kept bringing it around to her and i lost it and hung up. She leaves for Austrailia for 4 months today.
    Just wanted to share. I am coming to terms with it as best i can and do feel it’s for the best.
    But thank you for the poem…Stumbled across this quite by accident…

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