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If you’re like me or have had the kind of friendships I’ve had in my lifetime, I would deem you a lucky soul, to say the least. I’ve met a lot, and I mean a lot, of good people in my lifetime, and I’ve been ever so fortunate to consider most of those people my friends. However, life shows no mercy for the people that get to stay and the ones that don’t. A lot of the friendships that didn’t work out in my lifetime were not necessarily at the fault of one party or the other; it simply just wasn’t meant to last any longer than it did. One minute it was there, the next it wasn’t. Keep in mind I’m a sensitive being and a people pleaser, so you can imagine my distraught at the idea of somebody no longer wanting me in their life. I think that’s what drew me to write this article. It's for all of us who lost friendships and really fought through that heartbreak that isn’t like any other, for those who didn’t know what they did wrong or if they did anything wrong, and for those who questioned way too many moments in life that could have been the breaking point for that friendship. This is for us.

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I’d like to start by saying this with my whole chest: how a person sees you does not say a single thing about who you actually are. It doesn’t matter if someone has been your friend since birth and thinks they know you better than you know yourself. It just isn’t true. We tend to be either the type of person that either blames ourself or the other side for how a friendship fell apart. I mean, it makes sense. If it’s just two people, at least one person had to contribute to the fallout, right? However, unless factual evidence of blame plays a role, don’t automatically assume you did something wrong or they did anything wrong. If they choose to think otherwise and blame the fallout on you, that’s on them. Trust me, I know how difficult that is to hear for a lot of people. It’s so easy to say, “it’s their problem, just move on!” I applaud those who think that way and can act upon it. Nevertheless, if that isn’t you, just know it’s okay. Just please, for me and you both, don’t let them define you or your worth. If they choose to talk badly of you once you two go your separate ways, know it’s their way of coping through what they don’t want to blame themselves for, and you have zero control over their thoughts or actions. That definitely helped me.

I think being transparent in how relationships fall apart is extremely important. Don’t get it twisted. If you truly don’t believe you did anything wrong, don’t own up to lies. Toxic relationships are very much real, and I’ll be the last person to blame the victim. However, I’ve met a lot of people, including myself, who find it much easier to blame the other person than own up to our own contributions to a friendship ending. Sometimes it’s easier to blame yourself and move on. Just coming up with a cause so you can cope better; it’s normal, I promise. Throughout all of my friendships that have ended, I’ve done some soul searching to see if I could possibly pinpoint when and where things went wrong. If I did something, what caused me to do it? How should I have approached things differently? What would I do differently if I had the chance?

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At the end of the day, only so much can be in your control, and I believe everything is meant to happen for a reason. Whether you are at fault or your ex-friend, at the end of the day, I truly think the universe had been taking note all along. It knows what’s meant to be and what’s not meant to be, and it won’t waste more time than it must on people that aren’t meant to be in our lives. I think that’s what has gotten me through it, in all honesty. I know I haven’t been heaven-sent in some of my past relationships, and I know my previous friends weren’t either. However, if it was meant to work out, I believe it would have.

As a friendship comes to an end, there are a few questions I’ve always kept in my mind. Do you really want this to end? Is there anything else you can do to keep the friendship alive? Do you want to do anything else to keep the friendship alive? If the answer is no, then that should be the clarity you need to move on.

I feel like a lot of people automatically look back on the friendships that ended and see them as wastes of time or regrets. I would advise against that. Even the worst of situations and the worst of people come into our lives for a reason. I always looked at it as the universe putting you in situations that it knows you’re strong enough to handle, even if you don’t believe that’s the case. Know you handled it in the best way you knew how at the time and give yourself grace. There’s no need to hold on to something, or someone, that no longer impacts your life. 

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Life moves on, you know? People aren’t always going to stick around like they plan to, and honestly, we have to be okay with that. Nevertheless, it can still suck, and you’re allowed to hurt, whether it was your fault or not. As I finish my testimony, I ask you all to remember that losing a friend does not me you’re automatically alone. Not every friendship in your lifetime will be an epic failure, believe it or not. Let the friendships that didn’t work be a reminder of how incredible the other people in your life are. Along with that, don’t let one bad friendship determine how you react towards your other friendships. I’ve made it a bad habit to not try as hard in the good friendships because I just assume it won’t work out and I’ll have invested in something not worth investing in. Don’t be me. Call that one friend you haven’t seen in a few weeks. Go get coffee and talk for way longer than you expected to. Catch up. You deserve it. I hope this helps! Give my best to your pals.

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Gabby Taylor

Virginia Tech '22

I am a senior at Virginia Tech pursuing a degree in Communication Science with minors in Psychology and Sociology. While writing is one of my greatest passions, I also enjoy spending time with my friends, my cat, and living in my daydreams :) enjoy my stories!
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