Friendships are not linear paths. Time unequivocally tests the resilience of your relationship. Oftentimes, friendships simply run their course, as life pulls you in opposite directions. This is natural, not something to be feared. However, some friendships may end in an explosive fallout; this abrupt conclusion is quite painful for both parties.
In any case, you may eventually find yourself inclined to reestablish a connection, to rebuild the fading relationship. Friendships provide warmth, support, and companionship- these qualities are essential to the human experience, not something to be taken for granted. While some friendships may be salvageable with a simple “Hey! Let’s get coffee soon”, others wield a heavy history, a burden of betrayal and grief that cannot be forgotten. When considering whether to revitalize a fading friendship, I always ask myself these 3 critical questions:
1. Can trust be reestablished?
If trust is gone, so is everything else. A friendship drowning in insecurity, fear, and doubt can only be described as one thing...toxic. The foundation for a healthy, mutually beneficial bond is trust. Once you find yourself skeptical of your friend’s integrity, it’s officially time to move on. While trust can be rebuilt through open communication, this is a long process, requiring sustained effort from both parties. Make sure you and your pal are on the same page before embarking upon a trust-building journey. Overall, if you see no light at the end of the tunnel, simply pack your bags, and move on. It’s not worth your time, energy, or effort to invest in a relationship with no future.
2. Is the desire to rebuild mutual?
Without a mutual desire to rebuild a friendship, you are playing a pointless game. It’s not your job to carry the burden of a relationship on your back. If someone genuinely longs to make a friendship work, they invest their energy in that connection. Don’t make excuses for their flaky, indifferent behavior. An absence of effort parallels a lack of love. Likewise, you must also consider if you are interested in rebuilding the friendship. Do you find yourself irritated or disinterested when your friend reaches out? Don’t engage with the effort to be polite. You only have so much energy to give; make sure it’s going to the right places.
3. Is the friendship emotionally damaging to either person?
Long friendships tow a heavy line of history, emotions, and anguish. For instance, one friend may develop stronger feelings for the other friend. If this affection is unreciprocated, it can be quite emotionally damaging. Consider the psychological implications of restoring a friendship before diving in. Your relationship is not worth damaging your, or your friend’s, mental health.
Friendships are inherently complicated; they undoubtedly transform with the passage of time. Some bonds are worth salvaging, while others are destined to reside in your memories. I hope these criteria provide you with insight into whether or not you should pursue rebuilding a connection. Ultimately, your instincts will guide you on your journey; your heart knows if it is time to let go, or time to hold on even tighter. Because a true friendship, a lifelong alliship of love and support, is definitely something worth fighting for.
Written By: Brianna Rauchman