Why A Friendship Breakup Is So Much Harder As An Adult
Those words kept repeating in my head after I received a less-than-friendly email from someone who is now no longer my friend.
After several months of chilly texts and dodged hang-outs, I decided to confront her. You know, through an email: today's version of a heart-to-heart.
I said how much I missed our friendship and that I'd like to figure out where we went wrong. Days later, she replied with basically "thanks, but no thanks." Ouch.
In the weeks that followed, I found myself reflecting on other friendships that have fallen by the wayside.
And how in college, or even when I was little, it was just so much easier to get over things and move on.
Why is it harder as an adult?
After a decent amount of introspection, I've determined that there are five reasons why breaking up with a friend is tougher when you're an adult. Here's why:
Adults don't deal with their issues in person.
When a problem is brewing between friends, we, adults, tend to handle it with a text or email where words can easily be twisted and misconstrued.
We're either too busy or too stubborn to sit down and talk it out over a cup of coffee.
Adults aren't as honest as children.
Think back to fights you had with friends when you were kids. Although "I'm rubber, you're glue," wouldn't hold up as an adult, you probably spoke your mind a lot more freely.
When you grow up, you lose that gumption to say the things that need to be said.
Adults are set in their ways.
The older you get, the harder it can be to change your thoughts and habits.
You become comfortable doing things a certain way, so when a friend comes along and tells you you're wrong, the instinct is to stick to your guns and become defensive. How could you possibly be wrong?
Adults aren't as forgiving.
If you're an adult, you've undoubtedly gone through your share of friendships that have ended for one reason or another.
Over time, you may become jaded, and it can harder to trust people.
If you've been burned one too many times, it might be impossible to hear out a friend who says, "I'm sorry."
Adults pretend to be fine.
Although you're hurting inside from losing a friend, you project that you're okay on the outside, but bottling up those emotions can't possibly lead to anything good.
Those feelings bubbling below the surface will continue to nag at you until you deal with them.
Since adults tend to sweep friendship issues under the rug, a fight or just some general chilliness can lead to one thing: a lack of closure.
This can leave you feeling adrift, sad and alone. A friendship breakup when you were younger probably felt a lot more final than it does now, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Yes, there are plenty of factors that can make a friendship breakup nearly unbearable, especially as an adult, but you can crawl out from under those feelings of anger and rejection.
Do what I did; make a list of the friends in your life who are true, caring and supportive.
Surround yourself with "good energy people" and weed the negative ones from your life (yes, sometimes a friendship breakup is for the best).
Interact with people outside of social media. Get back in touch with a long-lost pal. Volunteer or join a group of like-minded people.
And most importantly, don't let the breakup prevent you from starting new friendships. It takes more effort to find friends as an adult, but remind yourself that it's worth it.
It's a lot like dating. As hard as it is, you have to get back in the saddle and try again.
And that's what I'm doing. Once the sting of rejection faded, I had an epiphany.
I was much better off without this person who wouldn't give me the time of day.
It made me grateful for the friends that I do have, and confident that there are new friendships just waiting to be started.
That is, if I can get past all of my adult hang-ups. Maybe a sleepover and a game of "Truth or Dare" will do the trick.