Quantcast
Should You Take An Ex-Friend Back?

Should You Take An Ex-Friend Back?

When should you forgive and reconcile vs. forgive and move on?

What About Your Friends?

Several years ago, one of my closest friends violated a boundary.


A very firm boundary that she was very much aware of. When I confronted her about it, rather than taking full ownership for what she did, she deflected—and by that, I mean manipulated—by taking a victim approach. When I called her out on that as well, she claimed that she needed some time apart to figure out where things stood between us. Fast forward to a year later and, out of the blue, I received a (count 'em) whopping 10-page letter about all of the things she thought I did wrong and what I needed to do in order to restore our relationship.

Look, before even getting deep into this topic, be leery about someone who doesn't take personal ownership and responsibility in your relationship with them. It's very difficult to establish or maintain anything healthy or lasting with that type of individual.

Anyway, after giving her oh-so-arrogant "offer" some thought, I wrote her back and told her that I would pass. After all, the main thing that caused our breakdown in the first place was her refusing to address the error of her ways and just how much she disrespected me. Since she came at me with basically the same approach 12 months later, it didn't take a best-selling self-help book to know that it was going to be a matter of time before we hit the same wall…yet again.

I didn't share that lil' tale of mine as a way to say that you should never take a friend you once fell out with back. We all make mistakes and sometimes time really does heal all wounds (more on that in just a bit). What I am saying is, just like with an ex-boyfriend, if someone is an ex-friend of yours, they are that for a reason. So, before you decide to let them back into your head and heart space, do yourself a favor and ask yourself the following five questions. It could spare you more wasted weeks, months or even years with someone you should've left alone…the first time.

Why Did Things Fall Apart in the First Place?

media1.tenor.com

One of my close friends is a relationships coach (shout out to Jay Hurt). Because we both work in the relationship realm, we're constantly having debates about how to handle different situations. A common discussion is what constitutes a mistake vs. what is an intentional bad choice.

I'll give you an example. One time, we were discussing how often should a spouse take someone back after they've had multiple emotional affairs. Whenever Jay comes at me with "I mean, people make mistakes", I'm usually looking at my phone like, "Are you serious right now?!"

Mistakes are birthed about of a lack of knowledge, carelessness or misunderstanding. If someone is harming another person over and over again, that is NOT a mistake; that is a conscious choice. OK so, when you're trying to decide whether or not to reconcile with an ex-friend, it's important to reflect on why/how the two of you fell out in the first place.

Was it because of a really big mistake? Or was it due to a series of poor choices? If it's Column B, be cautious about getting back involved with individuals who intentionally bring you drama, turmoil and harm. It takes a lot of self-work to break outta that kind of pattern. Unfortunately, there aren't a ton of people who choose to grow in that way.

Have They Owned Up to Their Ish? Have You?

thumbs.gfycat.com

Recently, I ran into an ex-friend who wanted us to reconnect. As I was listening to them go into their song-and-dance about me knowing how they are, about 15 minutes in, what I realized they weren't doing was apologizing for their actions.

I have learned the oh-so-very hard way that if someone doesn't clearly address what they've done wrong (or how they hurt or offended you because wrongdoing and hurt feelings are not automatically or necessarily one in the same) and then apologize for it, not only does it reveal a lack of humility and personal accountability, it also sets you up for being hurt by them all over again. Same goes for if you're the one who hurt them.

If someone is truly interested in reconciling, one of the first things they are going to do is take responsibility for their actions. So yeah, look for that while contemplating what you should do about restoring things with an ex-friend. If they are too prideful or "worse", too clueless to address core issues, you're setting yourself up for a series of reruns, which includes getting run over…again. And again.

Can You Keep the Past Out of the Present?

media0.giphy.com

People who claim to be highly-spiritual but don't know how to forgive baffle me. Even Scripture tells us that there is no way we can be forgiven by God if we don't forgive other people (Matthew 6:14-15). A person has to be mighty full of themselves to think that God should overlook their missteps when they aren't willing to do the same for folks who are just as human as they are.

However, forgiving someone (which for me, sometimes comes in the form of releasing them) doesn't always mean that you should go back to the way things were. The former friend that I mentioned that the beginning of this piece? I've seen them since. I hug them whenever I do. But they were so disrespectful, on so many levels, that I already know it would be extremely close to impossible to totally leave the past out of our present.

Forgiving someone doesn't mean that you don't learn from the experience. Sometimes the lesson is to make peace and then…move on.

Were They Ever Really Your Friend to Begin With?

thumbs.gfycat.com

Something that creeps me out are people who make it their mission to be my friend. Meaning, things don't evolve organically. It's more like a goal of theirs to get my number and be all up in my business. Something is extremely disingenuous about those types of connections.

When I look back on how stable my friendships are now in comparison to how cray-crazy some of mine used to be in the past, I realize that a lot of my past situations weren't very authentic. There was a lot of codependency, opportunism and one-sidedness going on. And really, what kind of solid or lasting friendship can come outta that?

Not too long ago, I penned "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect from Your Friendships". A little while before that, I wrote "Why Friendships Should Come with Deal Breakers, Too". Believe you me when I say that you can spare a lifetime worth of time, effort and energy if, before you take an ex-friend back, you reflect on if the root of the fallout was accepting that neither of you were really friends to begin with. Ouch and amen.

What’s Different About Them—NOW?

media1.tenor.com

We've all seen someone on Twitter share their perspective on something, only to have someone pull up receipts from five years before that reflect a totally different stance. Sigh. That's one of the most challenging things about social media—it doesn't really leave much room for maturity or evolution.

That's why I'm not comfortable making a blanket statement that anyone who has had a falling out with a friend, they should never consider reconciliation. If the "person in question" is showing signs of growth (especially in the areas where the two of you fell out in the first place), they offer up a heartfelt apology and you can honestly leave the past in the past—oh, and you have some solid reasons why becoming friends with them again would be a beneficial thing at this point in your life—at least be open to considering it.

Sometimes, what time does is not only heal wounds but transition us into better people. The kind of people who could turn out to be better friends than before.

If that is what appears to be happening with your ex-friend, take things slow but don't keep the door totally shut. Being willing to see where they are now could up being a blessing in disguise—for you both.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

The Truth About Maintaining Friendships As An Adult

How To Build A Squad of Empowering Friends

Why Talking About Your Friends Behind Their Back Is Actually Normal

The 5 Must-Have Friends Everyone Needs

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image: Getty Images

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
Angela Yee Announces New Show Amid The Breakfast Club Departure

On August 10, Angela Yee announced that she is officially leaving Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club after 12 years. The radio show host initially tweeted about her departure last night which sent social media into a tailspin. “The breakfast club as you know it is officially over,” she tweeted.

Keep reading...Show less
Honey & Spice Author Bolu Babalola’s Hopeful Romance
Some may see romantic comedies and dramas as a guilty pleasure. But author Bolu Babalola indulges in the genre with no apology.
Keep reading...Show less
Saweetie Recalls Tough Conversation She Had With Her Parents About Her Childhood: ‘Lots Of Apologies’

Saweetie’s style and relatable personality have made her one of the most popular female rappers out right now. While she has used her social media to help cultivate her brand, she also gives her fans a glimpse at fun moments with her family and friends. From getting glammed up with her mom, who is a former model, to attending NBA games with her father, who female fans have been pining over, Saweetie seems to keep her family around often. However, she recently revealed that wasn’t always the case.

Keep reading...Show less
The Nail Trends To Try Before Hot Girl Summer Is Over

Are you 'Little Miss Never Knows What Design to Get'? It’s okay if you are because this is a safe space. We know that coming up with your next nail design can be as complicated as the Instagram algorithm these days. For me, getting my nails done and conjuring up a design has been a form of self-care and expression. With folks like Marsai Martin creating press-on nails that more than get the job done, the burden isn’t as heavy and there are some nail techs out here redefining what nail design means.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

"I felt like I was not enough. And my mental health is important. So when I started feeling that way, I knew that it was time to shift."

Latest Posts