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By: Pia Araneta

When it comes to breakups, we’ve listened to countless songs and watched thousands of movies dedicated to the end of a romance. But what about the staggering, awful heartbreak that comes with losing a friend? 

Since friendship-breakups aren’t discussed as often, sometimes we can blame ourselves for our failure to maintain that bond. The reality is that like any other dynamic—friendships can turn toxic, or they can be outgrown. 

So how do you know if you need to breakup with a friend and what can you do to cope? 

Ask yourself: Are you in a healthy relationship? 

Just because you’ve known someone for a long time, that doesn’t mean your friendship is immune to change. I once ended a friendship with a girlfriend I hung out with almost every day for five years. During our last year together, she evoked my worst characteristics and I was miserable when I was with her. I knew it had to end when my rudeness was bleeding into my other relationships. “You’re rude,” people would say. “Oh, am I?” I’d retort with my pink polished, middle-finger touching the tip of my tongue. 

If something doesn’t feel right or if you don’t like the person you’ve become around them, then dump them! The length of a friendship does not by any means translate into blind obligation, especially if you or that person is becoming increasingly unpleasant. 

How can you break up with a friend? 

Please don’t do what I did; ghost them. Ghosting is a crappy and cowardice way to handle any sort of conflict and I still regret it to this day. Friends deserve an explanation. 

Meet up somewhere you both regard as a safe space and have a proper conversation. Knowing what to say to a friend can be tricky—only you will be able to define your own problem(s). Unlike with romantic partners, where parameters in a relationship are already established, friendships don’t navigate that kind of “defined” space. In a long friendship, it may even be harder to pinpoint the exact cause of your feelings. Maybe it was just a build-up of emotions and experiences. 

Make sure that whatever conversation you’re having, avoid placing blame. This person is/was your friend after all and you should have positive memories of them moving forward. 

How to cope

Breaking up with a best friend is hard on its own but not being able to vent about your breakup with that same person may seem even more impossible. Who will you send memes to? Who will laugh at your jokes? 

Like any break-up, do what you gotta do. Mourn, eat, cry, masturbate, eat some more, exercise, socialize, read a book and eventually you’ll realize that, if you broke-up for the right reasons, you’ll be better off without them. 

This is not to say that breaking up with your friend should be the first thing you do when they piss you off. Communication is your biggest tool in any situation and sometimes as a friend, you just have to deal with the occasional mood swings or bursts of rage. 

At 25, I’m currently at a point where half my friends have gone on to start their careers and settle down with a partner. The other half is unreachable before 3 p.m. and in a colourful whirlwind of late nights and Jameson. I don’t condemn either—I’d like to think I’m a proud mix of both parties, but as my Saturday nights get less and less crowded, I’m more selective of those I choose to spend my time with. Just be sure that whoever you’re dedicating your time to is really worth it. 

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