Just like in a romantic relationship, we can have many expectations and preconceived notions about friendship. Friendships are actually complex and require nuance and effort. That's why it's important to debunk some of these beliefs.
Sarah Epstein is a marriage and family therapist in Philadelphia. In an article in Psychology Today, she lists a few myths about friendship.
We mention the top 4 myths that can ruin a friendship:
1. Friendships must last forever
Some friendships do last a lifetime. But more often than not they evolve: people change, their location changes, and what they look for in a friend changes.
We need to normalise the idea that friendships regularly end and fade, and this is normal.
2. In friendship, there should be no conflict
True friendship means that nothing will come between us: no!Conflict is healthy and normal in friendship, as in any relationship. Friendship is an interaction between complex human beings with complex and changing needs.
When we bond, sometimes we have conflict. This is normal. This does not mean that the friendship is not a true friendship or that it is not strong. In fact, friendships often gain strength if both members of the relationship can work through their difficulties openly and honestly.
3. A friendship that fades is lost forever
While some friendships fade forever, others come back stronger after a separation or a particularly difficult time. Childhood friends may find that they drifted apart at university and have found common ground as adults. A friend going through a difficult personal period may withdraw and reappear later.
A major event or convergence of a life phase (e.g., having children at the same time) can bring people together who had previously drifted apart. There is no single roadmap for friendship and closeness.
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4. The end of a friendship is not as bad as the end of a relationship
Friendship break-ups can be incredibly difficult and heartbreaking. People whose friendships end should allow themselves to grieve in the same way that a person would after a relationship ends.