Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Irene Levine's BEST FRIENDS FOREVER Offers Advice on Breaking Up with Your BFF

Dr. Irene S. Levine, author of Best Friends Forever, offers salient advice on breaking up with your best friend in a feature story posted on Lemondrop: It's important to recognize that not all friendships last forever," says Dr. Irene S. Levine, professor of psychiatry at NYU and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. "They're dynamic and change over time, and two friends don't always change in the right direction." Here, she gives us the how-to on parting ways with your best friend.

Heed the signs. "When being together feels like it's consistently draining you of energy, it's time to think about ending the friendship," Dr. Levine says. Does your stomach knot up every time she calls to meet up? Does she always leave you hanging when you need her most while you drop everything to be by her side? Realize that relationships aren't perfect, but if its become a toxic one filled with mistrust and disagreements rather than movie nights and martinis, it could be creeping towards its expiration date.

Break it down gently. Remember that you were besties once upon a time, so try to keep the hurt to a minimum. Plus, she might not have a clue that you want out. "Avoid a direct confrontation and don't breakup in the heat of an argument," Dr. Levine suggests. "Unless there was a betrayal that you need to talk about openly, step back slowly, seeing less and less of one another."

Expect backlash. Not only will this affect your ex-buddy, but any mutual friends as well. Let them know that you're no longer BFFs, but hold off on the dirty details. "Try to understand the hurt your friend feels at being dumped without having a say in the matter," Dr. Levine says. "You'd probably feel the same way." And own up to the breakup. "Instead of blaming the other person, assume responsibility for your decision," she adds.

Heal and move on. Pity parties shouldn't be the only activities on your calendar. "Engage in life with the people and things you enjoy," Dr. Levine suggests. "Try to remember all you're taking away from the relationship and the lessons learned."

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