What About Your Friends?

You Don’t Need A Friendship Breakup. Maybe You Need A Friendship Demotion.

It never feels good when relationship dynamics between friends change. Sisterhood means so much to Black women, and I think a huge factor is that we realize that nobody will look out for us like one another.

My friends have walked with me through some of my darkest moments and cheered louder for me than I did for myself in some of my greatest wins. But as our lives change, not every relationship has stayed the same because life isn't designed to work that way.

Life has a way of turning the "party friend" into a happily married woman with kids, the "supportive friend" into the friend who moves away because she's tired of putting everyone first, the "wallflower friend" into the main character, and girl boss and the "small town friend" into the friend who moves to the big city and starts a new life.

Evolution can be such a beautiful thing, but it can also be traumatizing to feel disconnected from the very people who were once the center of your world. But does that mean the friendship needs to end?

Friendship breakups hurt just as much as romantic breakups, in my opinion, and at times, they hurt more because we don't hold space for grief the same way we do for our relationships with our friends. That's not to say that there aren't instances where pain aside, the friendship should end due to it being unhealthy, expired, or never genuine from the start.

But what do we do when the love is still there but we might not have as much in common anymore? Might I suggest to you a friendship demotion?

The Benefits of a Friendship Demotion 

Demoting a friend allows you to keep the friendship, but it is a friendship reimagined. Maybe you had a best friend, and you talked daily; you used to hang out often, and all of a sudden, you talked much less due to life circumstances or just plain ole not having anything in common anymore, but you still love one another. Allowing yourself the friendship demotion still keeps the friend in your life, but in a more minor role where you hold space for the times had, the bonds made, and still leave the door open for new friendships to blossom for the person you are now.

The friends I have demoted still mean the world to me, but we are no longer the same people. The friends I needed at 20, I don't need at 30 because I am a different person with different goals, desires, and needs in friendships.

I remember going through this phase where I wanted to travel and go on girls' trips, and my main circle of friends was either moving away due to the area becoming unaffordable for them or becoming mothers. Did I wake up and decide, as a single woman, that I want friends who have babies and live out of state with limited availability? No, but the women in my core friend group just happened to shift in life, just as I did with blossoming in my career.

For a while, that distance hurt (and it reminded me of the pain I felt when my college friends and I all went back to our home states after graduation), and I felt abandoned by my friends and resentful because I felt the shift but didn't know how to deal with the change. Allowing myself to still hold space for the relationships through demotion and pursuing friendships with single women who desired to travel the world and go out on weeknights just like I wanted to, changed everything for me.


I gave certain friends in my circle a demotion in my life and everything changed.

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And it allowed my friends to connect with moms who could have play dates and girls' nights at the same time. Now, we connect when we can and still love on one another. So, while they might not be able to hop on a flight or come to girls' night all the time, we meet up for mani/pedis, coffee dates, catch up on Facetime, and always prioritize spending time together for our birthdays.

And then there are those friends who I've backed away from altogether.

Whether it was due to our no longer having any shared interests, no longer feeling safe with them, or realizing that the friendship was seasonal, keeping the relationship didn't feel good to me. Letting them go didn't feel like a betrayal to myself, allowing them to remain in my life did.

Your friendship dynamics might be more complex, but I challenge you to sit with yourself and write down the name of each friend on a piece of paper. Ask yourself if the friendship serves you or not and if it is a reflection of your life or your past, and from there, be open to reimagining what these relationships look like and if maybe, just maybe, you need to demote some friends to make space for the new ones on the way to you.

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Stacey and Dalen Spratt

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

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