Relationships end. That’s a cold, hard fact of life. Even marriages that span the course of several decades end with death. But how is it that two people connect, as friends, and then drift apart? How are friendships lost?
Each person is the sum of their life experiences, and no two people experience life the same. Friends may form a stronger bond over a shared experience, particularly one where great adversity is overcome together. Depending on how each of them feels about, deals with and reacts to the experience, the opposite could occur. Every experience causes a person to change. Though two people may have shared the same experience, they won’t necessarily change in the same way. Sometimes these opposing changes can drive a wedge between two friends.
The longer two people know one another, the more they learn about each other. It’s quite possible that one person is simply unable to accept a specific nuance of their friend’s personality. We all make concessions at some point, sometimes a relationship requires a compromise on the part of one or both parties.
The person with the issue must decide whether or not it’s something that needs to be addressed, or if they can live with it. If the issue is never addressed, the negative feelings could fester, leading to crossed wires, until the friendship is beyond repair. If the issue is addressed, the person whose character is in question must decide if that trait can be changed, and if the friendship is worth the effort. Many times, issues are inappropriately addressed, bringing friends into a confrontation that ends with a lost friendship.
Often, when two people find themselves on opposite sides of a particular fence, each will try to persuade the other to their side. Doing so without trying to see the merit of the opposing view builds resentment on both sides.
In every relationship, both parties view themselves as the one who makes the most sacrifices, or the most meaningful ones. A personal sacrifice is impossible to put a specific value to, and therefore assessing a difference between two is impossible. Trying to do so typically ends a relationship.
Sometimes, people just grow apart. It’s nice to have a friend who walks the same path, but two paths rarely remain the same throughout life. It’s disappointing, but the easiest to deal with because in the long run, the basic friendship is intact. Knowing that the bond remains is comforting, even when the friends are miles apart.
Ultimately, relationships that don’t end in death end by choice, or the sum of choices, whether we realize it or not. Very rarely is the end of a relationship of any kind completely outside our ability to decide. The worst thing we do to ourselves and our friends is assign blame. When we can accept that friendships end based on choices made by both parties, we can free ourselves of the need to place blame, grieve our loss, and move on.