Keeping Friendships Strong, Even When the Friendship Ends

Beyond family, no relationships are more important in our lives than friendship, yet these relationships are far less likely to last a lifetime. People move, change, pull away, or even die. However, it is possible to keep friendships strong even when the friendship ends. That way you don't lose the good times you have already had, and you possibly even leave open the possibility for renewing the friendship.

Remain open

Try to keep open a window for reconciliation. Even hurt feelings will mend over time, and situations change. Someone who moves away may return, jobs that interfere may not exist in a year, and other relationships that are in the way can end or change. Facebook and other social media can help keep the lines of communication open without being pushy. This allows someone to know that you are interested in keeping the friendship without having to interact that much. It can also help keep you up to date on the basics of their life, making it easier to stay connected and giving you more to talk about if you do see them.

Limit expectations

Another important step is to let go of expectations. One of the most basic problems in friendships, and especially the end of friendships, is expectations -- whether reasonable or unreasonable. If you want to keep the friendship strong, you need to take responsibility for your actions and forget about what the other person should be doing. This is especially true of a friendship that has ended, because often the reason a friendship dies is that both parties are waiting for the other person to act.


Perhaps most important to do when a friendship ends is to keep the memory of the friendship. Remember what it was that made you friends to begin with. Hold on to the good times you had. This way, you can keep everything good about the friendship alive. The lessons you learned, the fun you had, hasn't gone away just because the friendship has changed. This is especially important if it ended due to a death or another uncontrollable event. Even if the friendship is simply broken, knowing what it was you liked about the person will keep the best parts of the friendship strong.

Every friendship ends eventually, even those that last a lifetime. Yet, just because a friendship has ended doesn't mean that the best things about that friendship cannot remain alive. It just takes a bit of effort and time. Sometimes those friendships we thought were gone completely turn out to be just a bit stronger than we thought.

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