friend break ups

Reader F. C. writes:

I feel like I’m having some serious friend drama without ever having done something to cause it. Recently a girlfriend of mine has stopped answering the phone when I call. She doesn’t call me back. She takes hours to respond to my text messages. She doesn’t seem to have the time to do anything with me anymore. In fact, we were going to take a road trip together but eventually I just told her to go without me because of how weird she’s been acting. I don’t know what’s going on.  Should I just stop calling her or what?

Dear F.C.:

I thought I’d written a post about this a few months ago, but apparently I hadn’t, so I’ll write it now.

Break-ups with friends happen, and they need to happen. Just because a relationship isn’t romantic doesn’t mean it doesn’t follow similar rules of give and take, honesty, and, yes, proper ending when it’s over.

It sounds to me like your friend feels that your friendship is over, for whatever reason, and just hasn’t had the courage to tell you the news.


"Bitch." "Slut." Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your friend can’t totally be faulted for not extending you the courtesy of breaking up with you. It’s a nasty business when girls quit being friends, and most of us don’t ever take the time to officially end something when it’s over, even if both parties know it. Girls have a standard of “niceness” that we’re supposed to hold onto, or we get to carry the term “bitch” around like a cross. Confrontation, direct speech, and ending friendships are all part of the bitch cross that few girls are willing to bear.

It may be possible your friend is going through a tough time right now and isn’t responding to anyone’s texts, phone calls, or whatever. Or she could just be incredibly flaky, although you seem to have indicated that at one point she did respond to texts and phone calls, and this is a new development.

But in this situation, I think you should take the initiative and tell her that you want to end the relationship.

That’s right: I don’t think you should just stop calling her like she’s some sort of booty call. I think you should woman-up, sack up them ovaries, and tell her you’re ending things.

Since she’s not responding to your phone calls, chances are she’s probably not meeting you for coffee or drinks anytime soon, either. So a letter, a text, or an email will have to suffice.

Keep it short and sweet. Don’t blame her for anything. Don’t tell her you think she’s the queen bitch mother of the world.

Try saying something like: “I’ve been sensing lately that our relationship has cooled, and I have decided it would be best for me if we quit being friends.” Simple, direct, yet not bitchy.

I’m guessing that she will be surprised by your directness, but given her cavalier attitude about your relationship already, she may not be worried about the message.

If she does come back with a declaration concerning how unfair it is that you are ending the relationship, you can disclose to her the fact that you thought she was already doing so, but that she was keeping you hanging on by not ending it herself. I wouldn’t try to reconcile things right now, either, even if she wants to. Even if this is just a phase, if she’s at a point in her life where she can’t be bothered with you, you don’t need that kind of friend.

As women, I think we need to be less afraid of ending any relationship that isn’t doing us any good. While the lines may be a bit blurrier in friendships, sometimes you have to treat them like you would a dating relationship. If you’re not getting what you need out of the friendship, you should not be afraid to end it.


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