Friendship Breakups

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Break Up or Fade Out

Okay, so you've decided to call it quits. Should you announce this formally or just let it fade out?

Most women opt for the latter. "There are some instances where someone had been so hurt that they e-mailed a letter explaining why the friendship was ending, but usually it's like a slow drift. You don't put in the time, don't return the phone call, etc.," says Paul.

That's not always so bad, since it keeps the door open. "Unlike romantic relationships or jobs, friends are elastic -- what doesn't work now might work somewhere down the line," says Sills.

While allowing a friendship to peter out might be easier, there's actually a lot to be gained from addressing the issue head-on. Paul recalls one new mom who told her clueless single pal that she was ending the friendship because she wasn't respecting the profound changes in her life. "But once the single friend understood what was happening, she made some adjustments in her behavior," says Paul.

By talking about the problem, you also may be able to redefine the friendship in a way that suits your changing lives. Says Paul, "There's something very precious about someone who knew you in kindergarten. Even if you don't have a lot in common anymore, you can still see her once a year. It doesn't have to be all or nothing."


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