It's one thing to have a friendship end, but another issue entirely when you don't understand the reasons behind it. When your friendship ends, you have to give yourself time to grieve and move on from the relationship. But when you add to this the burden of wondering what you might have said or done to hasten the end, it can add emotional uncertainty that leaves you doubting yourself with any new friendships you form.
Are You Drifting Apart?
There is a difference between a friendship that is entirely dead and one in which two people are just drifting apart. If you naturally grow emotionally in opposite directions, your friendship will come to a halt, but there is always the opportunity to revive it at some point. People who drift apart without a dramatic end will have a better chance of picking up where they left off and continuing their friendship at a future date when both friends are on more equal footing. This happens a lot when one friend moves away, gets married, or has another major life change.
Friends don't always follow the same path emotionally, so sometimes they drift off in separate directions. If this sounds like you and your friend, try to understand where your friend is coming from. It doesn't mean the end of your friendship necessarily, but it probably does mean that things will change. Give you and your friend time to adapt.
Ask What You Can Do
Don't silently just let your friendship slip away, because this will make you feel worse down the line. Talking with your friend when you know something is wrong but they won't say is incredibly awkward, but don't let that stop you. If you care about the friendship, you owe it to yourself (and your friend) to address it.
Don't be surprised if your friend denies there is anything wrong. Sometimes a friendship begins to feel "off" and we aren't really sure why because we are afraid to examine it. Talking about it might be hard, but it's the right thing to do. If you discuss things and come to the conclusion that you and your friend aren't meant to hang out together anymore, so be it. But if you never bring it up, you'll waste a lot of time later wondering why.
Accept the End and Wish Them the Best
If you have no idea why your friendship is ending, it either has nothing to do with you or you haven't been honest with yourself about your behavior. Have you behaved poorly? Did you take your friend for granted? Talk about this with someone close to the situation (your friend or a third party that knows you both) in order to get some honest feedback. If your friend is willing to discuss it, ask them for examples where you have not been a friend, but do it with the attitude of learning about yourself rather than arguing with your pal. Your friendship may still end after you discuss it, but at least you will know what the issues were.
If the end of your relationship is more about what your friend is going through than about you, wish them the best and move on from the friendship. Do this even if you can't talk with them directly. Acknowledge the end in your heart and say a prayer wishing them the best. Don't get caught up in continually wondering "what you did." Instead, do your best going forward. Then, get active in new situations and in meeting more people.
Did you ever end a friendship and then regret it later? Or wish you had acted differently? Share your thoughts with us.