How to deal with the end of a friendship

It can be tough when friendships end. John has some thoughts on how to deal with it in a mature way.

Written by John Dunphy


All good things come to an end and I am afraid that friendships can often fall to this time old truth. Worse still, it is often the case that the greater the friendship the bigger the ending, if you know what I mean. After friends initially stumble apart, what follows can sometimes be an almighty bust up, after all these people knew and liked each other, which makes their fighting all the more dramatic.

Hopefully for those reading this, it is a situation that you know little or nothing about, although I doubt that very much. I think most of us will remember at least one ex-friend with whom we didn’t part amicably to say the least, the one you try to hide from or avoid if you happen to see them out. I unfortunately happen to be a veteran of this particular type of combat and as the saying goes I’m not proud of it, but I’m not exactly ashamed of it either.

From primary school right up to college and just a few days ago, actually, I have repeated the same pattern: make friends, develop best friend, expand friends and then… destroy friendship with best friend in a fiery ball of rage. To be honest I thought I had outgrown the last part or least modified it to involve less fire and rage!

However, as I found out, I was wrong, dead wrong! Though to be honest, it wasn’t just your average backstabbing friends, jealous “slappa’” story that you can find in any secondary school around the country… how I miss those days. No, it involved some serious stuff. Nothing too serious, but you know big enough to be able to cause terrible damage to a rock solid friendship.

If I was trying to preach to or patronise “the kids”, as many of our parents, teachers, guardians, pillars of the community and total strangers often do, I’d tell you not to be silly and that these things are all because of immaturity. But, we all know, thanks to our secret youth wisdom, that that’s a load of old s***. If you know your parents well, you’ll know that there are people they don’t like and a lot of the times it was the exact situation I’ve being describing.

There are ways of doing things though, as always. I know committing serious acts of violence and general sabotage on your former friend turned nemesis seems like the best idea in the world, but the truth is, it is really not the way to go. Fine, you are not able to be friends with them anymore, but there is no reason you have to make them into a life-long enemy! Just have a cry, a rant or play a game of soccer or whatever you do to get over things in a healthier way.

Another very important thing not to do, is give in to that evil little gossip devil on your shoulder, and we know we all have them, who at this stage will probably be encouraging you to divulge all those secrets and embarrassing stories you amassed on your ex-friend during the course of your now deceased friendship. When you agreed to listen to those secrets and keep them it wasn’t just until the friendship headed south. It was forever, and besides, remember your ex-friend probably has enough on you to strike back!

Finally, just remember to enjoy friendships while they last, because you never know what’s coming.

Our work is supported by