By Evan Parente
People like me are often advised not to give advice on relationships. Our advice was rejected because we’ve never been in a real relationship or loved someone the way that say Stefan loves Elena or how Nick loves Charlie. They think that we’ve never experienced getting our hearts broken or discovering that you’ve been lied to for years. They’re wrong.
We have experienced heartbreak, betrayal, everything that you’ve seen characters in rom com’s experience. Not only that, but we have it way worse. I wasn’t dumped by the captain of the baseball team who we had a crush on since freshman year, but by best friends. And when your friend dumps you, you’ve got nobody.
It’s been more than a year since one of my friendships ended. Despite how heartbreaking it was, we parted ways peacefully, and we still talk from time to time.
Thinking carefully on prior friendships that have come and gone these past years, I have been constantly working to improve what I can improve to become better at both making and keeping friends throughout life. I learned that there are many reasons why people stop being friends. Sometimes it is your fault, sometimes its theirs, and sometimes it is nobody’s fault.
Read on to learn about the different reasons friendships end.
You didn’t put enough effort into the friendship
There's a crucial concept of building relationships called “reciprocal liking.” The concept states that by showing someone that you like them, you will in turn make them like you, a good input-output relationship.
If you don’t put in any effort into keeping your relationship going, why would the other person want to put in any? Especially if it is you who wants to go from acquaintances to BFF’s, you can’t expect to do that without putting in any effort.
Friendships are like a see-saw. They must maintain balance on both sides or else things begin feeling unnatural.
If you are never the one extending yourself, asking to hang out and are constantly declining offers to hang out, why should they keep reaching out? Even if you are the most popular kid in school, people will get exhausted and annoyed if you never accept offers to hang out or if you guys only hang out on your terms.
If you seriously think that you can maintain a friendship with someone and never even say hi to them or ask them how their day was, you have been poorly misinformed.
You put too much effort into the friendship
When you become new friends with someone, it is a natural instinct for many to want to spend as much time with their new friend(s) as time will allow them. You think that by spending all your waking hours with them and bombarding them with snaps and texts is going to help you get closer with them. I mean, best friends should be doing everything together right? Wrong.
It's natural to be excited about new people. Its, encouraged as well, to want to form a closer bond with a new acquaintance. In fact, if you want to become good friends with the girl you sit next to in chemistry, you should try to hang out with them more often. Don’t overdo it.
It’s one thing to start having lunch with them more often or going over practice SAT questions, but it's another to start crashing at their place every night and bombarding them with endless amounts of memes and snapchats when they haven’t even met your parents yet. They hate that, and you probably will start hating it too.
Nobody wants someone to be a part of their life who forces their way into it. In the process of becoming closer to someone, you should always remember to keep their comfort and your comfort in mind. Though they may enjoy having lunch with you, they also enjoy spending time with other people and spending time with themselves.
In addition to that, you are forgetting about yourself. You are forgetting that you also have your own goals and interests to fulfill and work on. Don't leave yourself behind by focusing all your energy on another person.
Feel free to chase a connection with someone, but don’t stop chasing your dreams and goals to do it.
You weren’t being open enough
While there aren’t many Pretty Little Liars quotes that I would live by, I can’t help but agree when Alison said to the girls, “Friends share secrets. That's what keeps us close.”
Pretty Little Liars was pretty messed up and the majority of the main characters (especially Alison) are not the best role models to live by. It would be incorrect to say that their secrets didn’t strengthen their bond with each other and help them come together after having grown apart.
Good friends know each other well. Not because they are mind readers or stalkers, but because they make an effort to be as open as possible and when appropriate about their personal lives.
If you and a friend are having an intimate conversation with you and all you do is ask them questions about themselves without talking about yourself at all, how are they supposed to really get to know you.
Colleagues and peers might only discuss homework struggles and the new lesson they learned in AP World History, while friends discuss things like the honest and serious questions and thoughts of in their personal life.
Yes, talking with someone can help you maintain a relationship with them, but not if you don’t allow them to see a deeper part of you other than just your surface.
You were being too open
As you previously read, not being open enough is a bad thing, but being open may be even worse.
Like I stated before, friendships are about balance. When one gives or takes too much into or from a friendship all at once, they are setting the friendship up to end as tragically as the Titanic.
Though you may picture “giving” in a friendship as hanging out with each other or giving gifts to one another, it's also in the things you say to each other and what you tell eachother.
Oversharing: It’s one thing to tell someone you just met about your insecurity about speaking in public and that silly experience in 5th grade that led to it, but it's another to tell someone something extremely personal out of the blue like your past of experiencing mistreament or something like your sexual history. Its off putting, especially if told in a way that shows unexplained anger or ignorance of someone else's feelings.
If all you talk about with someone you just met are personal secrets, this may be off putting and make them feel weirded out. They may feel as if they have to share something personal that they don’t want to share because they want to avoid making you feel awkward by changing the topic.
Unless you are playing a game like truth or dare or two truths, one lie, there is no reason for you to be disclosing something personal. Though Alison Dilaurentis may be correct that secrets bring friends together, that only applies when they are shared at a time when it is necessary and/or appropriate.
Share your secrets with your friends, but not out of the blue or before even saying hi or what your name is.
Lack of honesty
One of the most memorable quotes of Eleven in stranger things has got to be: “Friends. Don’t. LIE!” Because it’s true. Friendships are built off of honesty and trust. Anything other than that is a detriment to friendship and is an aspect of a relationship that is the opposite of friendship.
I’ve been lied to many, many times before. If I had a dollar for everytime someone lied to me or betrayed me, I’d have enough money to live like a Kennedy. Would you wanna be friends with someone who lies to you and keeps secrets from you? If you ask me, No.
When I’m talking about dishonesty, I'm not just talking about you hiding your relationship with your friend’s hot brother or secretly stealing money from their rich parents. I’m also talking about bottling things up, and one not telling the other that they are uncomfortable or unhappy with something they are doing.
If my behavior is bad, I want someone to tell me. If I was offending someone, I would want someone to tell me. I can’t tell if you are uncomfortable or annoyed by what I’m doing just looking at you. I cannot read minds. It's both annoying and unsettling to have to guess about what someone is feeling or thinking . I would complain about this to people I knew and everytime they would ask me, “how do you think they were feeling?” Now when someone asks me this question, I fight the urge to shout “objection speculation!” Because just like a witness being examined on the stand, you can not speak on what other people are thinking or feeling. You just can’t.
If you are anything like me or want to be a model citizen, you would try to remember this.
They never enjoyed being friends with you in the first place
This one stings but sometimes it happens. Sometimes people don’t actually want to be in the position they are in. They just are because everyone in their friend group is doing it or because their parents are making them, friendships are no exception.
There are fake people in this world, and they often will put on a fake face to protect themselves from people finding out how stupid and foolish they are acting.
If you find out that someone never wanted to be friends with you in the first place or always thought you were a loser, don’t take it too personally.
It’s not your fault that some phony loser couldn’t work up the balls to tell you they didn’t want to be friends with you and formed a bond with you under obligation from their parents or because they just didn’t want to eat alone.
These people are lame, and they suck. But if you find that one of these people are your friends, don’t take that as any indication of your worth or intelligence, take it as an indication of theirs. That girl who only invited you to her parties because she felt bad for you, that boy who was only friends with you to get answers on his chemistry homework, those guys (and girls!) are LOSERS!!!!!
So I ask you!!! Don’t go chasing after them or try to go above and beyond to get them back. Cause a friend like this is not a friend, they are a fake. A fake person who you will soon find you are way better off without.
More often than you may think, there are friendships that end and it isn’t the fault of you or the other person, but the fault of life.
As a teenager, you have very little control of your life and even less control over the lives of others.
In high school, life is ever changing with new struggles each cycle. The classes you take get harder, the tasks you have to do take longer, your laundry list of things to do gets bigger and the responsibility you have is only increasing as your happiness and time to do what you wish declines. We get so caught up in our AP classes, extracurriculars, interest clubs, independent projects and studying that we forget about the amazing people that are around us and who care about us. So caught up that we end up forgetting about them and the importance they have to us and the importance we have to them.
Wherever and whenever you are in life, your life will always be difficult. When things are challenging, it takes a toll on your relationship with your friend and they may end up growing somewhat–or completely–apart from you.
You may blame yourself for not having a relaxed enough schedule or for caring too much about your Advanced Placement classes, but in the end, you find that more often than not, there was nothing that you could have done about it, and that is okay.
This is a big part of why me and my ex-best friend grew apart. Sure I was kinda clingy which definitely contributed to its ending, but it was an uncontrollable variable for him and I, life.
Try to save your dying friendships all you want, but if they don’t, maybe it's just time to say C'est la vie and move on.
MY ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO JUST BROKE UP WITH A FRIEND
In case I didn’t make this clear, I’ve been there and I do miss some of my past friendships. Though me and my last ex best friend are still in good standing with each other, I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss being friends with him. That I still wish that I could do things differently and that we could be best friends again. These feelings will stay with you so long as you shall live (in fact, maybe even long after you aren’t living).
Maybe one day you and your friend will become friends again. Maybe you’ll end up being partners for group projects or end up working at the same firm. Maybe you’ll end up living in the same city and your kids will go to the same school. It’s a pretty small world.
Maybe you won’t become friends again, which is fine too. Take the friendships that don’t last as lessons for the next one, and don’t take failed friendships as an indicator of the next friendship you have. The new friend you make in 9th grade is a whole different person from the person who hurt you back in 5th grade.
You will find real friends, whether that is in your teen years or in your 20s. It may take a while but you will find true friendship.
If I can find true friendship after having been through many fake and failed friendships, so can you.
With all this in mind, go ahead have fun, enjoy yourself, and make friends! You will learn so much about the world and yourself