When Friends Fail You
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?
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.