When Friends Fail You

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A fresh wave of anguish flooded over Emily as she recalled the shocking conversation between her and Lindsay. They had been best friends, sisters of the heart for the past 15 years, and now the relationship was destroyed. Lindsay had no desire to reconcile. Emily needed to deal with the intense pain and come to terms with the broken relationship.

The loss of a dear friend is one of the most painful things a woman can encounter. Still, these broken relationships can provide a platform for growth.

Some friends grow apart because their lives become filled with other interests or move apart. The most painful broken relationship is the one that separates as a result of unresolved conflict.

Whatever the reason, friendships come and go in our lives. When the special friendships you thought would last a lifetime are broken or lost, the wounds may require loving care in order to heal.

1. Grieve for the lost friendship. Grieving a lost relationship may take weeks, months or even years. A lot depends on how the friendship ends.

  • Admit the relationship has ended. Acceptance is the all-important positive side to rebuilding. You do not have to take on a load of guilt in order to accept that the relationship is over. Stay out of the “if only” game. The pain is intense as you realize the relationship has ended.
  • Suffer and grow. The way past the pain is to go all the way through it. The pain you are feeling is real. It hurts. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Use it as motivation to grow and make the crisis into an opportunity. The pain can be an excuse to remain bitter, angry, unhappy, or it can help you grow.

2. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. As you go through this painful process, check yourself so as to avoid these unhealthy coping mechanisms.

  • Withdrawing – Sometimes hurting people hide so others will not suspect their fear.
  • Becoming a busy-aholic – Hiding behind busyness may delay the healing process and can also be very tiring.
  • Fearing aloneness – Being alone can provide time for introspection, reflection, growth and development of the inner self. Emptiness can be replaced by inner fullness and strength. There is a healthy balance in spending time with others and being alone.

3. Let go

Close friendships require an interest in other people, empathy, loyalty and commitment. They also require the letting go of idealistic expectations and unrealistic demands. In letting go, we grow. Sometimes this may even require letting go of the friendship entirely.

  • Forgive. Forgiveness is an act of the will on the part of the offended person releasing the perpetrator even though you do not condone what they have done. Trust, however, needs to be earned. This is particularly important in dysfunctional relationships. If you are seeking inner freedom, forgiveness is not an option — you simply must. Forgiveness involves realizing how much the Lord has forgiven. It enables you to forgive and see others’ failures through the eyes of mercy. Good friends are good forgivers.
  • Deal with your emotions. Acknowledge the feelings of love, anger, bitterness, feelings of vindictiveness and look at them realistically. Invest emotionally in your own personal growth instead of investing in the dead relationship.

4. Risk loving again. Intimacy is risky, no doubt about it. Reaching out may result in rejection. Then why do it and get hurt? Why not play it safe? The cost is too high to not ever take the risk — there are friends in your future who will be worth the risk and you may never know them if you don’t try again.

  • Make yourself vulnerable. It is easy to fear rejection. If someone wants to share, but seems hesitant, lead the way by opening up first. It is a precious gift to your friends when they personally discover that you cherish confidentiality and hold their secrets close to your heart. Remember, vulnerability hastens bonding.
  • Realize the risk is worthwhile. As you reflect on the friends of your life, realize some were in your life for only a season. Each of your friends has woven into your being some of the very fiber of who you have become. Realize you may never know why some relationships end: Reflect on the positive blessings and the impact a friendship made on your life during the happy times. If the friendship was filled with betrayal and pain, reflect on the growth that took place in your own life as you learned to deal with this.

Finally, realize that going through a broken relationship leaves you with a choice — to become bitter or better. Bitterness will only destroy you and never the person with whom you are angry. Which one will you choose?

Take Heart–God Really Enjoys Your Company

My Best Friends & I
by Karen L. Schenk

Throughout the years
I have had many different girls and women as my best friends.
They have all been very different from each other.
Yet somehow they have all been similar.
They had characteristics that blended with mine.
They were kindred spirits with me —
they were truly the soulmates of my life.

Together, these best friends and I
have laughed, cared, talked, listened, and cried.
Together we played, worked, and dreamed.
Such special friends were they, that at times,
we enjoyed doing nothing together.
Years have gone by
and I sometimes wonder
where they have all gone.
Some have moved.
Some developed different interests.
These were friends whom I once thought
I could never live without.

The best friends of my life
have had an integral part
in me becoming who I am today.
They brought out the best and the worst in me.
They loved me enough to confront, to challenge and to console.
They encouraged me in my strengths and
helped me overcome my weaknesses.

Though I know not where they live,
have discovered where they all left something for me.
It is a room — a delightful room which lies within my heart.

It is one of my most favorite places.
I go there when I am lonely, sad
or when I want to remember… and be with
the treasured golden memories
the best friends of my life left for me.

Forever — my friends will be a part of me
as I hold onto and cherish them
in that special room in my heart.

If you’re going through trouble with a friend, and need someone to talk with, we’re always here to listen. Contact us anytime.


114 Responses to “When Friends Fail You”

  • Teacher says:

    Thank you for this site. I was involved with a toxic friendship for a little over 5 years. When I met her, I felt I had found another soul mate, yet we were both very different. Slowly, it became a very one-sided thing and I was doing all the work, all the giving. After nearly a year mixed with neglect and disrespectful behavior toward me, I ended the friendship stating that it was one sided and becoming unhealthy for me. I poured my heart out, expressing how hard it was for me to end it and how much I cared for her…………that I considered her family, but that in order to have a true friendship, the feelings had to work both ways. Clearly she had found other people to befriend and was moving on. The only response she gave me was “whatever you feel you have to do”. Deep down, I honestly was hoping she’d fight for the friendship…she did not. I did get a text from her about three weeks later asking me for information about a random topic, acting as if nothing had happened. When I asked her why she wanted to know, she replied that “it wasn’t important”. I didn’t give her the information and that was that………………at first, I was relieved, but the past couple of months have been hard. I wanted some type of closure. She was able to drop me like a hot potato without looking back. Clearly, I was not wrong in feeling that the friendship had become one-sided. She either didn’t care or can’t express that she does–neither are acceptable in true friendships. I invested a great deal of time and emotion into a relationship that she could detach from without much of a thought……….wow……….lessoned learned. It stings. I wanted a “better” ending, but it was not to be. Now I move on and work toward true forgiveness because then I will be truly free!

  • Sharon says:

    to boo– I feel for you I have had friends fail me too prayer–father God I pray for boo for comfort for this person and I pray that this friend will let this person why she left the friendship for either to repair it or to move on God let5 boo know this person is loved by you God and you created boo wrap your loving arms around boo and continue to comfort boo I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you boo from Sharon

  • Boo says:

    I just had my friend hurt me so bad, we were to go somewhere together and I have been asking her for weeks if she was still going, the day of the event 1 he an a half she calledto say she could go! Do I knew up friendship was over but I still don’t know why . Her comment to me was sometime relationship don’t stay the same in our life’s! I don’t know what happen and she won’t tell me. This is really killing boo hurt so bad I just want the pain to stop! I feel so alone and confused
    Thank you!

  • Lila says:

    I’m a long-time Power to Change supporter. (Back before it’s new name :-) How great to find this article when I am going through a friendship loss and have it help me!

  • Chris says:

    Natalie…so sorry to hear of your struggles. life can certainly teach us different lessons cant it. to me one lesson i have learned is that although we need people at certain times in our lives, noone can ever replace the person of jesus christ as always being there, always being faithful and always being the one we can lean on for his strength in times of weakness. if you would like more information on knowing jesus as your best friend and savior in whom you can always count on log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. i pray you find the friendships you need here on earth starting with the one from heaven!! blessings!

  • Natalie says:

    Hi, I just came across this online and I’m going through the same thing. Been with my bestfriend for 12 years. She was the only person who was consistently stable. When life brought me obstacles she would have my back and vice versa. But then suddenly she stopped taking care of herself, her health her mental state, made bad decisions. And I realised when life bought me obstacles, looking back, yeah she would take my calls listen. But it was me in the end, I had to overcome them and appreciated I had my bestmates support. Where as the last two years when life gave her obstacles she just didn’t learn how to deal.with it on her own and in the end forgot I was a person and clung to me and I helped her with everything. And in return I didn’t have her. I became her therapist, family member, motivated her. In return she wasn’t there for me when I broke down. Instead she was there for her guy or whoever she dated next. It’s very difficult when people you truly know change. It’s such a shock and now I have ended the friendship she isn’t letting go and has been hassling my partner and not understanding that we have grown different paths. We all have to let reality kick in and realise no one has helped us more then ourselves. And if that’s not the case then start to love ourselves. And cry and let our grief out so we can move on.

  • Taylor says:

    Hi, Just checking back in to say that the book “What Did I Do Wrong? When Women Don’t Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over” is very good. It really helped to see this is a phenomenon amongst women. So we aren’t alone. As for the reason I got this book – the friend who dumped me – well I feel much stronger and more confident now. I know it’s over and I’ve resigned myself to that new reality. I’m already moving on. Things change and people change. And for those women who need a better understanding why their friend dumped them, take a look at this book. You won’t be sorry.

  • Taylor says:

    I agree that when a friend has blown you off and you felt there was a good friendship lost, you start going through the 6 steps of grieving a loss. If they contact you again when you’re already going through that process, it’s hard to forgive and forget and go back to the way it was before. Yes you can forgive, but you won’t forget and if your friendship resumes, you may find yourself more wary and less likely to be fooled again. Fool me once, shame on you; food me twice, shame on me. You may find you have a thicker skin after that experience.

  • Sharon says:

    good article thank you for posting this it speaks to me too I have let friendships go but I find it hard when they want to be friends again but I’ve moved on

  • Taylor says:

    Hi, Thank you Chris for your comment. I am a Christian and I appreciate your message. I also picked up a book at my local library “What Did I Do Wrong? When Women Don’t Tell Each Other the Friendship Is Over” by Liz Pryor. I have no idea how good it is as I’ve yet to read it. I’ve had female friendships before that failed but this one hit me hard as I truly believed she was this wonderful person. She cut me off completely and now I’m not so convinced she was such a wonderful person. Like there was no information at all about why she did that. So I sent her a message a couple days ago and feel pretty good about what I said. It was dignified and yet I made my point. Short and sweet. Now if I see her again hopefully I can look at her with a serene smile and zero anger. That’s my goal now with her. Thanks again.

  • Shelley says:

    You welcome my friend. May the Lord our God comfort you, as you seek His grace each day towards your friend and remember to pray for them also.

  • Melanie says:

    I posted my story about a failed friendship of mine a few months ago. It helps to know that I am not the only one out there dealing with kind of situation. When I had to finally cut ties with my friend I felt so alone. Knowing how bad I felt, I wouldn’t wish that situation on anyone but reading other people’s stories shows me I am not alone and that helps. I have slowly started to move on but I still think about my friend every now and then and get sad about it. It’s hard to forget because some of the hobbies and interests I now have are a direct result of that friendship. I am still angry at my friend. That might not be the most noble thing, but I know I will forgive over time. It may take years but forgiveness will come. Thanks for allowing people to continue to post to this site. It really helps.

  • Chris says:

    Taylor…sorry to hear of this situation. we know that people can fail us and often will. that is why our faith in christ and his friendship will be the staying influence for our entire lives. if you havent found the lasting friendship of christ yet personally, i invite you to log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. you wont regret it!

  • Taylor says:

    Hi, Thank you for your site. I’m currently experiencing the pain of going through a dying friendship with another woman friend and it’s not a happy time. She just stopped emailing and calling and the friendship is basically evaporating into thin air. I have NO idea what I did wrong but there it is. I’ll get over it but the challenge will be to remain civil the next time I see her. I probably will still be angry and may want to not be civil but I will try to be nice and not act out in an immature way. Thanks again for being here. I’m sure you’ve helped many people with relationships!

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