Can letting friendships fizzle out, actually help strengthen other friendships? 9Honey’s Shelley Horton says that by letting some friendships fizzle out, you really appreciate your true core friends.
I truly believe friendships are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
Having grown up in a small town before escaping for university over in the Big Smoke, aka Brisbane, then moving to Melbourne, before moving to London, before moving to Sydney and then finally settling down on the Gold Coast, I’ve come to understand the complexities of close bonds.
But I can’t seem to shake one internal conflict that comes with friendships fizzling out, which is a really natural thing that’s happened to me multiple times over the last couple of years.
COVID put crazy strain on our marriages and families, amid everyone’s emotions soaring high and anxiety levels spiking, and the burden extended to our friendships. For me, it led to a couple of fallings-out.
The thing is, I’m OK with friendships coming undone. I totally get that nothing can last forever, and true friendships require some pulling back at times before you find yourself being pulled back in.
The internal conflict I’m battling are the jitters I feel when I’m catching up with someone who is a mutual friend of the person I’m fizzling with. You know, the person who probably introduced you guys in the first place.
I feel really uncomfortable explaining to them that said friendship has kind of broken down. Even putting fingers to keyboard right now, I’m overthinking my words because it’s awkward to say them out loud.
I struggle to explain that the two of us haven’t spoken in a year, or two, even, without there needing to have been a massive tear-jerky bust-up that sparked it.
But outside of catching up with that mutual mate of ours, when I’m just getting on with my life I’m extremely comfortable with my choice and I assume my former close friend is comfortable with it too.
Neither of us felt the need to initiate a confrontation or period of closure about it all, and there’s zero judgement or anger – the friendship was just a dwindler.
Once, I held the olive branch out to a friend a couple of times, as I’d realised our long-spanning friendship deserved another stab or two. But it wasn’t meant to be a forever friendship and, in the end, despite friendships being super complicated, it’s often as simple as that.
I’ve also had other friendships where I did a bit of business with them, or somebody moved to another city, or somebody got caught up in a new partner. They all ended up putting different layers of pressure on our friendships, which inevitably watered down our connections.
In those cases, I’ve let them go even easier.
Sometimes, when you step out of a friendship and really look at it, you’ll spot negative patterns you may have turned a blind eye to in the past. You realise you don’t want them repeated.
It might have been something they were doing or something you were doing; it doesn’t matter, because it’s totally OK. I see it as a great chance to accept, grow and move the hell on.
Having said all that, I also love it when a former bestie reaches out and makes the effort to find a way back to me, sparking to a solid re-connection that paves a new way forward for us both. It feels incredible.
What doesn’t feel incredible is the pressure to be friends with everyone, and to bend and mould to fit in with other people and their own expectations. In that regard, we really should all stop giving a toss.
I believe if it’s a true friendship, you’ll both find a way to get to forever on your own terms. Decide your own number of yearly catchups, decide your own number of monthly texts. If you’re both cool with it, it’s clearly working.
With one of my friends, I had to make sure we tried a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment and put everything out on the table. In doing so, we found a new version of our friendship. No, you can’t go back to what it was like before you have that moment, but you can create something more honest.
By letting some friendships fizzle out, you really appreciate the true core friends you’re treated to.
They’re the invaluable maniacs who will stick by you, no matter what. Defying reasons and seasons, they’re down for a lifetime.