February 25, 2017

Sometimes it's ok to break up with your friends

Just as much as you should be there for your friends, you should expect them to be there for you.  However sometimes, it’s better to let go of a friendship than hold on to something harmful.

The adjustment to university isn’t only an academic one but an emotional one. A majority of students aren’t native to Kingston and leaving home weakens the familiarity of a homegrown support system.

Developing and maintaining healthy and supportive friendships becomes a key part of good mental health for students. Our friends at university become our family, and like most families there’ll be strains to endure. 

However unlike most familial situations, there’s a certain freedom to being able to abandon a friendship that’s more draining than rewarding.

When we talk about toxic and emotionally manipulative relationships, we often relate them to romantic relationships and not friendships. But deciding not to be friends with someone is painful and since it’s not fodder for rom-coms and advice columns, there’s very little advice out there.

The concept of “forever” is heavily romanticized when it comes to proving loyalty in a relationship. But you and your friends change with time just as much as a romantic partner might, and it can be just as hard to give up on being best friends forever.  

Just because something ends doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable at the time. Sometimes friends are only perfect for the moment you’re at and the person you are then.

Dragging a harmful friendship along with you out of a sense of duty can make it difficult to be critical of it, but here’s no need to judge your friendships based on how long they lasted. A transient, fleeting friendship that ends can still hold meaning when you reflect on the moments of your history with that person.

Most friendships that end, fade away because of time or distance. But there’s something to be said for consciously deciding to end a relationship when the friendship has become toxic.

Being a good friend to someone isn’t always about selflessness. Your own mental well-being is just as important and if that relationship is jeopardizing that, then it’s worth reexamining. During your time in university, you’ll be pulled in every which way. School, work, family, finances, health, extra-curriculars, the way you prioritize these is up to your discretion, and your friends are no exception.

Ghazal is The Journal’s Video Editor. She’s a fourth-year English major. 

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