Friendship break-up: Jana Hocking on two times it’s OK to hit pause with a friend

Having been single for far too many years (for the record your Honor, situationships don’t count), I’ve experienced many life changes in my friendship groups. You have the women who are lifelong friends, the ones who you adore checking in from time to time, the ones you play a text tennis match of “we should catch up for lunch” messages forever and ever, never actually going for lunch.

Oh, and the ones who end in big bust ups – usually over a bloke. Or worse … money (I’m looking at you, expensive hens party organisers). Hopefully those are few and far between.

But I think there are two genuine times in your life when it is OK to hit pause on a friendship. And there shouldn’t be any dramatic announcements, or tantrums or drama. You just need to step back and allow them to fly free … for a little while.

Now let me preference this by saying, you will feel devastated at the time, but believe me they truly are the two non-negotiable times you have to let these friendships go.

The first one is when your friend gets a partner. Sure, we singletons like to spend a lot of time together. We are like each other’s life rafts during those rocky years of dealing with situationships and fboys.

We hold each other’s hand and wipe away each other’s (inevitable) tears that come with dud dudes treating us … well … dud. And we always answer each other’s late-night calls to try and decipher a confusing text or dissect a date that was questionable bad.

But you are eventually going to come to a crossroad when your friend finally finds her ‘one’. The person she could potentially marry. I’ve seen this happen a million times, and I’ve learnt the hard way, you can’t hold them back.

Let them get caught up in the passion of it all. Let them enjoy the honeymoon period, and don’t expect them to have the same amount of time to cater to all your friendship needs.

It’s the worst, but let’s be honest, if you were on the receiving end of a whole serving of soppy, romantic love wouldn’t you want to dive right in as well.

I think we should let these friends have a hall pass to get lost in it all for a while. And they should be allowed straight back into the friendship circle as soon as they come back down to earth. No questions asked.

The second time is when your friends start having babies. I’ve seen many friends drop off once kids come into the picture. Their lives just got BUSY and they no longer have the time (or the budget for babysitters) to come sit at the pub with you on a sunny Sunday. We need to let them get lost in baby land for a few years – and drop off the occasional bottle of wine and family size lasagne.

These friends will always return, but we need to accept and allow them to have those years to get lost in the love bubble without us.

You see, I speak from experience. My best friend Bronte is right in the thick of it right now – and safe to say I did not handle it well at the start! She met her man a few years ago when we were right in the middle of a fun summer.

We were living together in Bondi having the absolute time of our lives. When she started mentioning him a few too many times, my little heart panged. When she stopped saying yes to every darn outing I had organised, I went into denial.

It’s fine, it won’t last. She’ll come back. But deep down I knew she had found her match. And even deeper down, I knew she deserved it. Like me, she had her fair share of crappy dates, and here was a brilliant guy treating her like the queen we want all our friends to be treated like.

After my initial selfish sadness, I began to watch my friend bloom. She was in love, and she was thriving. Here was a guy who didn’t detract from her life and leave her in a sobbing mess, but actually enhanced it. He supported her and amped her up. I know, goals!

They’re now engaged and are in the midst of raising a happy little family. I don’t get to see her as much as I once did, but those times that I do bring me a ridiculous amount of joy.

I know in a few more years we’ll have more time to spend together. And I’m fairly confident we’ll outlast our husbands (yes I would like to get married one day) and we’ll be in our rocking chairs at 80, with our lavender hair and big ol’ smiles on our faces. Recounting our glory years. And it will be worth it.

But for now, you gotta let them shine bright in that other little world they are currently making memories in. And if anyone needs a long lunch partner. Well you know where I’m at.

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