Today’s question comes to us from Kate, and it is a good one, I know from experience it’s a difficult topic to contemplate and to face. I feel for Kate or anyone going through this situation—I’ve been there, darlings! If I wanted to, I could muse on the topic of friendships daily! You may enjoy reading my story, Gifts of Friendship After 50. For more on today’s topic, you’ll like the complexities of female friendship —you’ll find it enlightening.
Today on Ask Honey
Question: “I would like your thoughts on friendship. Specifically, when something has happened to fracture a friendship, you say you simply “delete” them. I like that, but going deeper, how do you work through the emotions attached? That’s the difficult part. Being able to let go or work through the disappointment and move on.” — Kate
I think when I wrote that story (read Worldly Lessons Learned From Friends, here), I was using the word ‘delete’ tongue in cheek. In some circumstances visualizing my delete key on my computer is the catalyst. This is after coming to terms that I want to delete a woman for a reason. Psychologically this helps me end the relationship.
The action of visualizing the word delete on my keyboard and then tapping the delete key, in my mind, was not my idea.
“No one knows you better than you know yourself. Ask yourself difficult questions to find answers. There are answers, you know. Remember, every loss goes through a mourning period.” — Honey Good
A friend phoned me and mentioned she was tired of different types of women’s chatter and decided to delete them from her life. She said, “I just look at my keyboard and hit delete!” Her description of placing her finger on the word delete on her keyboard struck me in two ways. Delete = final straw in an unhealthy friendship, and it was a hilarious description!
Fast forward to your question.
Should You Work Through Your Disappointment or Move On? How Do You Know?
Firstly, there are different types of friend break-ups:
- Good riddance, girlfriend. You have shown a side of yourself I am unable to tolerate. You are toxic and you are the aggressor.
- I will miss you, girlfriend. I will miss the loss of our deep friendship. What went astray?
- Nothing too serious but the desire to back away quietly.
Most women over 50 have lived through these types of situations. I have lived through two ‘I will miss you girlfriend’ and several where I choose to quietly back away.
One of my ‘I will miss you girlfriend’ relationships is stronger now than ever because of our maturity. We talked. I still have one that ended years ago which makes me sad. Maybe one day…
Ending a close friendship is profoundly jarring. Since we all go through them we have to learn how to deal with the loss in a healthy manner.
How to End a Friendship in a Healthy Way
In our society, we think friendships are forever. We understand the ramification of divorce, but for some reason, women do not think close friendships end. But like any relationship, a friendship can crumble. Remember, maintaining a friendship takes a lot of work and effort.
Maybe both of you stayed silent or one of you wanted to talk and the other did not? Or maybe it was toxic and time to bid farewell.
My other friend and I never dealt with our problem. There were reasons. We lived on separate coasts. There was a third-party player. We were both busy with our lives and did not make the effort. I recognize the weight that the breakup caused me. And I think she did, too. I really have never completely healed. I still miss her. So, maybe the pain never fully goes away?
My advice is: If you want to keep the relationship, make a call to invite her to meet you at a restaurant or coffee house. Let her talk first. Ask her to tell you her feelings. Be a good listener and thinker. Your goal is to leave the table with the problem resolved or peacefully wishing one another happiness. Hopefully, you will leave the table with an understanding.
If you are the one who wanted to end the relationship, now you can. If you are the sad one, remember, there are women to fill her shoes who will bring you joy.
How to Mourn the Loss of a Friendship
Be good to yourself. As a woman over 50, give yourself self-care and allow yourself to grieve. Feel your sadness. Ask yourself about the relationship. Was it healthy? Come to terms with reality.
My tips on gaining clarity on the relationship:
- Look for closure. When a romantic relationship ends, there is a discussion and closure. Not between women. There is a blurry nature in women’s friendships, and this makes it harder to navigate closure. Be aware of the necessity of closure.
- Get clarity. What got you into this situation? What exactly happened? How are you feeling? How is it affecting you?
- What did this woman lack?
- Ask yourself, What did I lack?
- What should I look for in a friendship as a woman over 50?
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Ask yourself difficult questions to find answers. There are answers, you know. Remember, every loss goes through a mourning period. You are a woman over 50, and you will survive.
If this story inspired you to further examine a female friendship, please subscribe to my email list. When I post a new story, you will receive it in your inbox.