Apr 20, 2010

How do you break up with a friend?

Or, even more challenging, how do you break up with a friend and still be on good terms with him or her?

First of all, is that even possible?

In a romantic relationship, both parties mutually enter with a commitment, either explicit or otherwise. A friendship, on the other hand, supposedly comes about organically through casual encounters and shared interests. There is no official point of entry into a friendship; it therefore stands to reason that there can be no easy point of exit either.

What if, after several casual encounters, one party in a friendship finds that the mutual interest that the parties share were merely superficial; they were not substantial enough to sustain the friendship over the long run.

Brief, temporary friendships naturally dissipate over time when both parties feel that they no longer have much in common. However, when one party still feels that the friendship can and should go on, things get complicated.

Hence, my current dilemma.

I have a friend who is determined to keep the fire burning, so to speak. I, on the other hand, would rather staple my tongue to the floor than go out to the movies with her one more time.

The reason I feel this way is due to her personal attributes but I will not discuss them here. Let's just say that our personalities are not compatible. How do I explain that to her?

Even in the best possible scenario imaginable, she will take it as a personal rejection. Worst, she will be plagued by the fact that some of her attributes are unfavourable. Not just to me but to other people as well. That is a tragedy I am not willing to inflict upon her. There is no kind way to explain that we are simply not compatible and that those attributes I find unfavourable might in fact be attractive to other people. Simply put, I should just say, "It's not you, it's me."

However, given the way that statement has been used in the history of breakups, I know it will only bring more harm than good.

So the conundrum lingers. In the meantime, I have a trip to the cinema to weasel out of.

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