Now It's Time to Say Goodbye: Ending Friendships
Friendships are among the most important things in life. Some people assume that the longer the duration of the friendship, the better the friend. But that's not necessarily true. Friendships come in all shapes and sizes, "and some don't have a very long shelf life," says Sandy Sheehy, author of Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendship. There is a point when you hold on too long, allowing unhealthy connections to continue.
Breaking Up Is Hard to DoIt can be hard to admit it's time to say goodbye to a friend, even when her behavior warrants it, as Cindy Gallagher, of Maryland, learned first-hand. Her long-time friend, Helen, balked at any attempt Cindy made for independence, such as when Cindy's parents visited and she didn't tell Helen. And Helen fumed when Cindy's now-husband bought her engagement ring without consulting Helen first. Helen confronted Cindy, telling her she was getting "uppity.""She had me in tears at first because I was so shocked and she was so angry," Cindy recalls.The two tried to patch things up, but the clincher came when Helen bad-mouthed Cindy at her wedding reception."I realized this woman is just not a friend of mine, not a true friend," she says. "After that, I just made excuses not to see her…and she quickly got the message."
Knowing the SignalsWhile betrayal or seemingly deliberate attempts to be hurtful are clear signs it's time to say goodbye, sometimes the signal of the end of a friendship isn't obvious. You may sense a gradual distancing or feel unstimulated by the other person, or the relationship may just require more care and maintenance than you're prepared to give.