Should Friendships Last Forever?

Why Can't We Stay Friends for Good?

Women having coffee together on sofa
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A common question I get from readers here is about friendships that end. Namely, why does one friendship suddenly end, almost without warning? Friendship break ups can be traumatic, especially when it isn't a mutual decision. 

One reader wrote in asking about why things with her best friend went south:

My best friend and I have known each other for 3 years. We both prayed a lot for a best friend because neither of us had very many friends and no close ones at all. When we met through our sons, we were amazed at everything we had in common even the same middle name. We became best friends really quick more like sisters. We are the same age, in our early 40's.
We used to talk everyday and get together a lot. Now everything has changed.

In other words, why don't friendships last forever?


The term BFF has pushed the notion that good friends, even best friends, are meant to be in your life forever, or until one of you passes. While some friendships do span an entire lifetime, others come and go. Friendships change as your life changes. Sometimes a friend's life mirrors your own, and as a result it's easier to stay friends for a long time. Other friendships may fade away for a while, only to regain strength and start anew later on.

I think the hardest thing to come to grips with in terms of friendship is why some friends leave us. We may have had good friends that we liked hanging around with, and yet after a few years they are gone and we may never see them again. People often beat themselves up over the fact that a friendship ends, but the reality is that some people really are meant to be in our lives only a short time.

Instead of feeling bad when friendships naturally end, try these tips:

  • Change your perspective. Instead of thinking, "My friend is gone," be grateful for the things you learned from your pal. Every friendship shows us a little bit more about ourselves.
  • Leave the door open to revive the friendship down the line. If your friend has pulled away from you and you've tried everything to smooth things over, take a step back and just let your friend know you'll still be there if they want to be pals again sometime.
  • Make new friends. Nothing can "replace" your friend, but continually making new friends will help you keep things in perspective. You will be able to move on more easily if you are engaged with a variety of people.

Friends come and go from our lives, and it's perfectly natural to move on from a friend if you two don't continue to share things in common. Be open to meeting new people so you'll continue to benefit from new friends, even if they don't stay in your life forever.

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