When Friendships Fracture, Change, or End II

Yesterday I spoke about and quoted from a recently published book, titled, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend, by Irene S. Levine, PhD. And while the book is based on a survey of fractured relationships between women, the material is really applicable to any set of circumstances involving an alteration or severance of relationships where we have experienced change or loss. I believe the insights and research in this book sheds light on the rupturing of one's connections to a group or community of individuals as well.

It is also a good thing to bear in mind that if we live long enough - sooner or later - all of us go through these kinds of disruptions and painful experiences more than once in our lives...

More from the book:

"Fractured or fracturing friendships are only salvageable about 50 percent of the time. When these friendships are renewed, they are often only partial successes...Once trust is broken, relationships are more fragile and more at arm's length.

You may be able to resume the relationship with your friend on some level, but it will be unalterably changed. The truth is that while some close friendships can be mended, they almost never reconstitute with the same degree of intimacy and intensity...

One potential loss to think about...not only will you be ending the relationship with your friend, but also cutting yourself off from other collateral connections you have made through your friend - her family, her friends, and her acquaintances - which, to some extent, may now have become yours...

Eventually the pain [of separation] subsides, but it is still hard to forgive or forget...You'll obsess about what happened, replaying the hurt without getting over it. Yet it is in your best interest to practice forgiveness...

When two women go from speaking ten or more times a day to silence, the sense of estrangement can be unbearable. As a result, many women hunker down to protect themselves...It may shatter their self-confidence...

[In the words of one woman interviewed] 'It's taught me that it's okay to love your friends as fiercely as you would a partner. A friend is a different kind of partner...'

Researchers found that if two friends make contact with each other at least every fifteen days, they are more likely to have an enduring relationship...

One woman [in the research] makes a point of checking in with her friends if she hasn't heard from them for a few months. She's done this over thirty years and says it's worth it...

If you feel like a valuable friendship is slipping away, do what you can to reel it back in. If face-to-face contact is impossible, arrange a way to maintain regular contact so you can keep up with each other's lives...

A woman needs close friends whom she can turn to every day (and night) of her life. It may not be the same person each day because, like our lives, friendships are dynamic...Relationships take work, but they are essential to our happiness and well-being...We are very fortunate when best friends are a constant in our lives..."

I have only shared here some of the broad highlights that spoke to me. This book is a veritable mine of information and suggestions and addresses such topics as toxic relationships, when it is appropriate to end friendships, how to move forward, and how to weather relationships that are in flux - among other things. I think this is a book that deserves to be on everyone's shelf because it is a topic seldom addressed.

"One who looks for friend without faults
will have none."
~ Hasidic Saying

"What do we live for,
if not to make life
less difficult for each other?"
~ George Eliot

"I have a chosen family of friends."
~ Gloria Steinem

Comments

Lavonne said…
This sounds like a great book, Olga. Thanks for the review...I'll be ordering my copy soon :)
Anonymous said…
Olga, This is the comment that spoke the most to me ... If you feel like a valuable friendship is slipping away, do what you can to reel it back in ... Are you ready to meet for a smoothie :) Sheila
Olga Rasmussen said…
Definitely ready for a smoothie!

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