In the grand scheme of things, friendships are very much like romantic relationships in that it takes work to make them last. Also like a bond with a significant other, friendships can be truly heartbreaking if and when they end, mainly because of the emotional intimacy that is often built with you and a close pal. That said, if you feel a BFF breakup is imminent, how does one fix a friendship that’s already drifting apart? Is it in fact able to be saved?
Sometimes, this shift (or drift) is unavoidable due to, well, life. “Life changes,” says Alex Williamson, Chief Brand Officer for Bumble, to The Zoe Report “Unfortunately, we don’t always go through life changes at the same time as our friends. One of your friends might be getting married when you are getting divorced, or having kids while someone else is getting a big promotion at work. Our lives change but we assume that our friendships should always remain the same.”
That said, throwing in the towel on a long-standing friendship is not necessarily something you need to succumb to immediately. Sometimes, it can just be a matter of changing or adjusting to a new season of friendship. And, if there’s some conflict or resentment behind the rift, there are definitely communication tactics and strategies to explore to get back on the same page.
Ahead, read what Williamson had to say about salvaging a fading friendship, and how the solution can often be much less complicated than you'd think.
Don’t Play The Blame Game
Conflict is naturally going to happen in any long-standing and/or close relationship you have. But, with hurt feelings, can come resentment and finger-pointing, which should be avoided at all costs if you want to save your friendship. “I think the biggest mistake is assuming the worst of the other person,” says Williamson. “It’s so easy for us all to take things personally, and think that because someone isn’t in a great mood or is having a hard time, that it must be about us.
Put Pride Aside & Pick Up The Phone
The relationship guru adds that, more often than not, bonds break because one really isn’t aware of what’s happening in their friend’s lives. This is where the above issue comes in — so often, people put the responsibility of staying connected on their friend or friends. One’s pride gets in the way of communication and true connection. “It’s more important to put ego aside and check on your friends and make sure they’re doing OK,” says Williamson. “It’s also easy to assume everyone around you is doing well via their social media, but this isn’t an excuse or a proper replacement for a phone call. We all need to be better about calling our friends.”
Even if the cause of your rift is as simple as just not seeing each other enough, communicating and listening to your friend’s perspective can be key to clearing up any misunderstandings. “Take ownership of your responsibility in the friendship fading, and actively listen to what the other person says,” says Williamson. “You have to be willing to hear the hard stuff about your actions in order to challenge yourself and grow. A few wrongs don’t make you a bad person — we are usually all just distracted and busy trying to get it right.”
In the same token, being honest about your feelings is key here, too. “If someone has hurt you, tell them and be honest about it,” says Williamson. “There’s nothing worse than a friendship fading with no explanation if there is one to give. When we refuse to be open and honest in our lives, we ultimately betray ourselves. When we are honest, we are able to maintain a relationship with ourselves and the people in our lives rooted in integrity.”