People are often confused when friendships end. They do not understand how a close connection can erode, and a strong relationship suddenly seem to no longer be in place. The reality, however, is that there are always reasons why a friendship ends. The reasons are not always immediately clear, but they exist nonetheless, and one or more is always responsible.

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One of the more obvious causes for a friendship’s dissolving is based on practical circumstance. A friend moves to another country and, even though both friends insist that they will maintain the contact needed to keep the friendship alive, it ends. The friend who moves is in a new world, just as the other is still tied to the old, and the experiences of each weaken the bond. Then, the simple fact of nearness has a great deal to do with it; telephone contact is fine but, when there is no opportunity to actually get together, the emotional connection is likely to fade.

Equally pragmatic as a cause is when complications of romance destroy a friendship. One friend is attracted to the romantic partner of the other, and this is very likely; as friends share deep interests, it is not surprising that someone attractive to one would be just as attractive to another. When an affair of this kind happens, however, the friendship often ends because a critical element of friendship is lost: trust. Friends rely on each other to respect, and look out for, their individual concerns. When a friend then violates this trust, even with no intention of hurting the other, it is not easy for the friendship to survive.

Perhaps the most common reason friendships end, however, is the less clear one of two people simply developing in ways that distance them from one another. People are individuals and, no matter how close two may be, they evolve in different ways and at different times. Consequently, their emotional needs change. They may still feel affection for the friend, but the vital connection friendship must provide is no longer meaningful because they have changed in internal ways, and there is no longer to real reciprocity of mutual concerns to support the relationship.

Friendship is critically important to most people. It is beyond socialization because it touches them on deeper levels, and offers countless opportunities to explore the self through the caring connection. It is also, however, a process that is as subject to the effects of life as any other. Then, as it relies on the basic identities of the two friends who created the relationship, changes in one or both must challenge, if not destroy, the friendship. While the end of friendship is invariably sad, it is never actually a mystery, and a reason is always somehow behind this fading of it.