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Emily Sovich
Emily Sovich

Thank you to Emily Sovich for your guidance!

I’m not going to ask for your reasons. We’re all adults here. We all understand the complexity of friendships between military spouses, and we all know the friends you make at a new duty station can have a significant impact on your life. When you first move in, they’re the ones who will give you the real facts about school districts and pediatricians; they’ll warn you to avoid certain neighborhoods during your house hunt; they’ll even point you toward the best local hair salon. If all goes well, in time they’ll become the people you invite over for lunch and an impromptu play date, the people who will pick up your kids when you’re running late, the people you’ll laugh with and explore with, and the people who will help you when your spouse goes on deployment, but what happens when you find yourself in a fledgling friendship that isn’t going well?

 

How do you end a friendship that’s starting to go wrong?

 

  • Stay Professional: It might seem weird to think about maintaining professionalism in your personal life, but when you consider that most of the friendships between military spouses begin with a professional connection, it seems clear that you should be particularly careful when you end this type of attachment. Chances are, you and your former friend are still going to see each other from time to time. You’ll run into each other on base. You might find yourself at work events together, or at meetings for the spouses’ club. Your kids might be in school together; they might join the same activities. You’re part of a broader community now, and that means that even after you end your friendship, your relationship won’t entirely end. Keep that in mind, and make a commitment to yourself to stay civil and not to gossip. Even if you suspect your friend is engaged in some kind of dangerous behavior, go through the chain of command and call your ombudsmen; don’t call a mutual friend. Above all, don’t say anything that could prove hurtful or awkward later.
  • Create Distance: You’ll probably still see your former friend in the months to come, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t distance yourself from her. Don’t ‘like’ her posts on social media. Don’t extend invitations to her, and don’t accept invitations from her either. If she gets tickets to a great concert, don’t go with her. If you’re lonely one night when your spouse is on deployment, don’t call her. Don’t send mixed messages and don’t be inconsistent. Remember, you decided to end this friendship for a reason, and the faster you can take the relationship from ‘friendship’ to ‘acquaintanceship’ the better. Nothing good can come from spending time with someone you know you don’t like.
  • Be Prepared to be Honest: Depending on the circumstances, I don’t necessarily think you ever need to have an open talk about why you decided to end your friendship. If your former friend confronts you about it though, be prepared to be honest. Don’t lie. Don’t drag things out by pretending like everything’s fine and you’ve just been busy. Instead, with as little anger or accusation as possible, tell her why you felt like the relationship wasn’t working and why you decided to move on.
  • Don’t Apologize for Yourself: Most likely, your reasons for ending this friendship were perfectly valid, but even if they weren’t, keep in mind that you’re not required to be friends with anyone. Not every relationship works out and not everybody gets along. You don’t need to feel guilty.

 

End Friendship
As long as you ended the friendship with professionalism and respect, you’ve done everything you should’ve done.

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During her years as a military spouse, Emily Sovich has traveled through five continents and approximately thirty countries. She’s climbed the Great Wall of China, gone swimming with sharks in Australia, and ridden a camel around the pyramids in Egypt. She loves culture and adventure, but she’s happiest at home with a book in her hand, a child in her lap, and a cup of coffee on her bedside table. You can read more about Emily’s life and adventures on her blog, Keeping Time.

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For more of Emily’s fabulous blogs, click here.

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