Within my first week of university, I instantly became friends with an outgoing guy who shared the same sense of humour as me. A few months later, I realized he was talking to me less and less, and eventually completely faded.
Where did it all go wrong? I was both stunned and devastated.
This was a result of small annoyances that had gone unaddressed, something that could've been prevented had we valued communication.
Whether it's a slow fadeout or ghosting — we’ve all experienced the unique pain of friendship breakups. While there's a lot of conversation around romantic breakups, there's not enough on friendship breakups. We need to explore how we deal with the rise and dissolution of our friendships.
There tends to be a lot of consideration and planning that goes towards a romantic relationship breakup; however, we don't extend the same courtesy to our friends. Most times friendship breakups are awkward, they don’t have the same closure that most romantic relationships do; however, they still elicit.
Friendships are lost for a variety of reasons. Sometimes friendships are lost because people move away, life gets busy, or disagreements escalate. Whatever the reason may be, we need to communicate with our friends honestly when conflicts arise.
We must reflect on what we learn from the friendship, whether that be looking at opportunities for self-improvement, rethinking how we handle conflict in the future or changing our perspectives on life and relationships.
When dealing with friendship breakups, we need to let ourselves be emotional over the departure of a friend instead of suppressing our feelings. While it’s much easier to feign indifference and detachment than it is to be vulnerable, allowing yourself to be emotional allows you to get over an issue much more quickly, allowing you to move on more quickly with your life.
While sometimes it's best to let go, there are many benefits to holding onto a friendship. Friendship provides you with support, acceptance and companionship. It’s important to remember that losing friends is a part of life and it’s something we, as a society, should acknowledge more. While you may lose a lot of friends, you also have the opportunity to make a lot of friends as well as gain new experiences.
-Vivian Cheng is a second-year medical sciences student at Western.