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Growing up, we always hear and see quotes and stories that relate to lifelong friendships and finding additional happiness in a BFF that warms our hearts. Naturally, some of us begin to believe that once we become best friends with someone, it should be an eternal bond. As we get older however, we have to realize that not all friendships need to be a life long journey.

Life can drastically change as we become adults, begin truly finding out who we are, and building genuine self confidence. We may simply grow apart from people due to others seemingly never maturing or it may be because our lives heading in completely different directions. There’s also a possibility that you’ll feel like you’re contributing a great deal of energy, respect, trust and love into the friendship, only to get minuscule effort in return. If things aren’t being reciprocated, I feel that’s an incredibly justifiable reason to really examine the friendship, communicate your concerns, and determine if it’s worth sticking around for.

Personally, the main aspects I look for in a friendship are trust and reciprocation. I like to think that I’m an extremely supportive and genuinely caring person, especially when it comes to close friends. That energy that I put out isn’t always given back to me and after a while of things never being even remotely reciprocated, I feel it’s time to begin distancing myself from the person in question. Same goes with trust – if you begin to consistently overstep boundaries or show that you can’t even be trusted with information shared in confidence, I’ll walk away without a second thought.

I’ve walked away from countless friendships for various reasons, and I can honestly say that I’m glad I removed myself from each one. The people I surround myself with now are incredibly genuine, don’t overstep boundaries and have the proper communication skills required to maintain and strengthen our bond. Looking back at the situations I’ve removed myself from, I really didn’t miss out on any super special bonds or experiences. I didn’t feel that way when I initially buried the friendships however. I was ridden with guilt and felt like I was a “bad friend” for putting myself first and not fully resolving the issues that led to the demise of the friendship.

Of course, a lot of people will be burdened with the feeling of guilt about ending a friendship that may have spanned a few years or even decades, but it’s always important to do what’s best for your own mental and emotional health. This doesn’t mean there needs to be an aggressive confrontation followed by years of hatred and never speaking again. It’s completely possible to amicably walk away from a friendship, love someone from afar, and wish them the best in life without sharing the bond you once had.

There are quite a few people that I’ve ended close personal friendships with, but I still like when I see them succeeding in life. For the most part, if I considered someone a best friend, I’ll almost always have a certain amount of love for them, even if I don’t necessarily want them in my immediate social circle. Of course there are exceptions, but there’s still no need to dwell on negativity and harbor hate for people who are no longer a factor in my life.

All in all, friendships can be great, but there could come a time where ending a platonic relationship is absolutely necessary and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. There doesn’t need to be a big ordeal and you don’t have to stick around due to a feeling of guilt or just to please the other person. When you’ve examined the situation and come to the conclusion that things won’t likely change for the better, it’s okay to walk away.