How Do I Move Forward From a Broken Friendship?

We’ve all been there. That moment when you realize there isn’t much more that can be said or done. It’s time to end this relationship. Your sense of loss is overwhelming. Your heart cries out, “What just happened?” You want to talk this out with a friend, but you can’t because that’s the issue. Your friend is no longer the one you can turn to.

Today I write to the one who won’t let go, the one who continues to cycle through the story—how it happened. The one who is stuck in denial and searches endlessly for one more attempt to fix it—to restore it to what it once was. While I haven’t always handled endings gracefully, I will share with you my best thoughts and encouragement.

Why friendships?As a woman of faith my answer to this question is: Because God said so. The Bible speaks of:

The value of a friend, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The character and conduct of a friend. “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” -Colossians 3: 12-14, NLT

Friendships matter and they show up in our life story for a purpose. Seasons come and go, and our expectations change because we’ve changed. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”

Why this friendship? Remember why it started. I invite you to go back to the beginning—remember when you met and how your friendship was formed. Consider the answers to the following questions:

What was going on in your life at the time you met?
What attracted you to each other?
What did you have in common?
What were your differences?
What were your expectations?
What’s your best memory, and why?
What challenges did you face together?

What’s changed?Compare your answers to why you started to where you are today. Prayerfully consider, what has changed?

The heart matters.Have you taken the time to reflect on why you started and compared the answers to where you are today? Have you given your all to the relationship—the character and conduct of a friend—as it instructs in Colossians? When you have prayerfully done all that you know to do, invite gratitude to bring healing to your broken heart. Be grateful for this season. Store your lessons learned and carry them into God’s next season for you.

It’s about perspective. Look away from the loss and turn your eyes toward the freedom that acceptance brings. I love what Melody Beattie says about gratitude, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Friends are treasures we discover as we navigate our life’s journey. We cross paths with them and walk together for a season. They serve a purpose in each other’s life. Learn to hold those relationships loosely as they are never ours to keep indefinitely; I’ve had to do that. I do get to keep the memories, the lessons learned, and delight in reunions if they come to pass.

Love anyway. As this anonymous quote says, “At some point you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.”

Let’s stay connected. Friendships play a very important part in our life story. I’ve only skimmed the surface of this topic. I’ll be writing more about it in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you have a specific question, please email me at CoachMaggie@calledtoaction.com. If you don’t mind and to help others as well, I’ll share your questions/comments and my response. We are better together!

Photo by Mikail Duran

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Maggie Sabatier-Smith

Maggie Sabatier-Smith

Columnist at Chispa Magazine
A communicator by nature, a writer with heart, Coach Maggie has been published in Strategy Magazine and most recently was invited to contribute toward Tapestry Network’s, "If I could Only Share One Thing About…Becoming Unstoppable." A sought-after blogger, Coach Maggie’s smart wit is apparent in her writing and she keeps readers asking for more. With over 30 years serving in a variety of leadership roles in the global marketplace, Coach Maggie brings a wealth of experience and education to her coaching practice. As a speaker, coach, consultant and trainer she has communicated the message of purpose to individuals and across organizational boundaries. An international traveler, she blends easily into new environments and embraces the challenges of multicultural settings.
Maggie Sabatier-Smith

Latest posts by Maggie Sabatier-Smith (see all)

Maggie Sabatier-Smith

A communicator by nature, a writer with heart, Coach Maggie has been published in Strategy Magazine and most recently was invited to contribute toward Tapestry Network’s, "If I could Only Share One Thing About…Becoming Unstoppable." A sought-after blogger, Coach Maggie’s smart wit is apparent in her writing and she keeps readers asking for more. With over 30 years serving in a variety of leadership roles in the global marketplace, Coach Maggie brings a wealth of experience and education to her coaching practice. As a speaker, coach, consultant and trainer she has communicated the message of purpose to individuals and across organizational boundaries. An international traveler, she blends easily into new environments and embraces the challenges of multicultural settings.