How do you break up with a friend?
Let's share tips.
The other week, we co-hosted an IRL Diem dinner with Madison Utendahl. As our co-host, Madison picked the “theme” for the dinner, which was “books that transformed your life.” We asked each guest to share their recommendation and why it transformed their way of thinking, working, or living.
Naturally, the different recommendations led to multiple roundtable discussions that ranged from how love can unlock creativity, WTF are AHAs/BHAs (types of skin exfoliants), and productivity hacks. We also talked about friendship breakups, and it felt refreshing to discuss this topic so openly. How do you cope with the breakup when it’s a friend? Why don’t we grieve friend breakups as we do in romantic relationships? (Spoiler alert: We do). How do you even know when you’re in a toxic friendship in the first place? How do you recognize when a friendship is not serving you?
We’ve previously dissected our relationships with all sorts of people (parents, colleagues, romantic partners, children) in this newsletter, but we tend to brush over the value and importance of our friends. Why? There’s an outsized societal value placed on romantic relationships and, as one Diemer pointed out at the dinner, we never expect to break up with our friends. But in reality, sometimes breaking up with a friend can be more devastating than breaking up with a partner.
I’ve been through a few friend breakups, and when I think about them, they feel so much worse than the breakups I went through with previous boyfriends. Maybe that says something about my prior romantic relationships (🤷♀️), or maybe it’s a testament to the fact that I find friend fallouts extremely hard to get over. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my friends. I love meeting people, I love falling in love with new friends, I love learning from others and if we become friends I will basically do anything for you when we are friends. I believe it’s just as important to “date” your friends (think: cute dinners, trips, and shared experiences) as it is to date your partner. We should nurture the people we have.
To be clear—when I say “friend breakup,” I mean a friendship that truly cannot move forward. In reflection, the friend breakups that I’ve experienced have all centered around a third party (read: partner) causing a rift in the friendship. This is pretty common. At the Diem dinner, other women at the table also cited similar reasons for a breakdown in friendship. Talk about things we don’t talk about: How do you handle not liking a friend’s partner (or them not liking yours)? Perhaps that’s a topic for another day.
Despite going through a few of these breakups now, I still don’t really have very good advice or tools on how to handle them. Should I be going to therapy with my friends? Maybe! It feels like it’s important that we start talking about how we care for, evolve, or break up with our friends.
Big news! Our app got a new look, meaning we’re one step closer to our mission of building a social search engine that closes the gender information gap. We wrote a guide about our new approach—learn how to Diem here.
What we’re reading…
👀 Why don’t more men take their wives’ last names? (Washington Post)
📚 The struggle to unearth the world’s first author (The New Yorker)
Contributed to last week’s Diem on working while on your period…
“I muscle through it and it has become lumped in with all the other “women problems” that I — for reasons I attribute to the patriarchy ergo harsh self expectation — muscle through. This category includes working through morning sickness, childcare drama, the lot. I had PCOS which resulted in horrific period pain and I just sucked it up when I had work to do. Why are we like this.” — @Amy
Read more and contribute your stories in the Diem app, here.
Till next time,