Have you ever wondered what happened to someone you were once close with and all of a sudden, you realize that you two are barely talking? It may seem like you never even knew them. Some friends are meant to stay and some not so much. Whether we lose them voluntary or involuntarily, it is important to realize that, we will be alright either way. Identifying the reasons for the loss is equally as important. Once we recognize our own wrongdoing, then making an effort to salvage the friendship should be our next step if we deem the friendship valuable. However, if the loss is based on the other party, we can still try to salvage it if necessary but we must be prepared to be okay if it’s not redeemable. Friendships should be easy. After all, friends can play several roles in our lives and so we must be careful whom we identify as friends.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate a small and close knit of friends whom I cherish and know that whatever the circumstances, they are always present to help me through life. However, there have been times when I have also fallen short in this area, whether it is I doing the betraying or another friend playing that role to me. In each instances, introspection has helped me through these moments and helped me navigate and mitigate these sometimes-complex relationships. Friends have left in tough times and I am sure I have left others during their trying times as well. Whatever the circumstance, here are a few tips on how to handle and cope with a friendship going through rough waters and what to do when one has ran its course.

1.First, identify the root of the problem: Like with any situation, the first step is recognizing that there is a problem. It is important to figure out if there is a problem and what it is. Sometimes, inadequate communication between friends can create problems that are avoidable. Once identified, try to figure out what caused the problem and if you are to blame. If so, be responsible and accountable and offer apologies where necessary.

2. Figure out if the friendship is salvageable: Not all friendships need to be amended especially one’s where trust has been betrayed. I usually stay away from friends with whom I have entrusted personal secrets and they have betrayed that trust to others. I believe it speaks of character and who is to say they will not do it again? For these instances, I will advise you to consider letting them go and move on. However, if the issue at hand may be due to misunderstandings, then try talking it out with your friend and open your mind to understanding the others view point rather than blaming or judgement. Some friendships can pick up right where they left off and others might require some time for healing. Whatever the case, allow the natural process of healing and restoration to take its course.

3. Take ownership when and where required: Once you have identified the problem and figured out the source of it, taking ownership of your part in the problem is important especially if it is a relationship that can be restored. There are two parties involved and usually both might have played a role either a minor role or a significant one in the issue. Own up to your mistake and make amends where necessary. In no instance should you try and involve a third party in the matter except when you are seeking counsel or advice pertaining to the issue at hand. Always make sure your adviser is someone whose judgement you trust and who can remain impartial and objective in the matter.

4. Do not partake in fights or tit-for-tat: When someone hurts us, we sometimes yearn for revenge so badly that the only plausible solution seems to hit back. While the sweet feeling of revenge may be enjoyable, it is usually short-lived. On the contrary, it can exacerbate the problem rather than solve it. I think a need to exert revenge on a friend speaks of immaturity. Rather, there are different approaches that can help resolve the issue. You can choose to ignore them and go about your merry way or you can try talking to the friend. Sometimes even kindness may help. By being kind to your enemies, it disarms them and exposes them to their own demises. Whatever the method you choose, try avoiding avenging your friend. Why would you want to engage or be friends with someone with such short sight in conflict resolution anyways? Engaging in their tit-for-tat war lowers your standards and frankly, cheapens your character. I say let it go which brings me to my next point.

5. Let go and Move on: This is the most paradoxical yet effective form of revenge but the most difficult in my opinion. Letting go of an issue especially if it hurts you or a friendship that you considered dear can be quite difficult. Letting go of the offense can help either in maintaining the friendship or in moving on from the person. Recognize that not all friends are meant to stay in your life and allowing them can quite honestly be toxic to your emotional well-being. Holding on to something or someone that toxic can cause psychological and health problems. Forgive, let go and move on with your life. If anything, learn to choose better friends in the future

Remember to always attempt to mitigate any conflicts between friends if required. However, do not spend precious time wallowing on an unsalvageable relationship and do not be afraid to let go and walk away from toxic people in your life. You will be better off and you will build new friendships in doing so.