Losing Friends Through Break Ups and Job Changes

Posted May 17, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

Losing friends can happen at any point in your life, but it seems there are two changes in one’s life that can most lead to losses in friendships – relationships breaking up and….changing jobs. We spend our lives inside the office with our cube-mates and office neighbors, and they soon become our confidants and friends. We spend our lives outside the office with our significant others, often their families and friends, and we begin to develop relationships there as well. Naturally, throughout our lives, we build relationships that revolve around our offices and our romantic relationships.

So what happens when our offices or significant others change? A new study out of the U.K. shows some staggering statistics about friends and breakups.

A typical adult loses eight friends when a long-term relationship ends, a study found today.

More than 27 per cent of people even admitted to staying in a relationship longer than they really wanted to because of their fears about the impact it would have on their friendships.

I would venture to guess that the statistics are similar when it comes to job changes. I have personally stayed in jobs longer than I wanted to in order to keep relationships going I feared would fizzle without the office connection. And as someone who has been through both personal and professional breakups that caused friend loss, here are a few things to remember when considering what it might be like to lose friends through both break-ups and job changes.

  • In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” This is true in both break-ups and job changes. The people who are meant to stay in your life will step up to the plate and stand beside you. And those who don’t simply aren’t worth your time.
  • In the words of Beyonce, “Don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.” You might consider someone your BFF or office BFF, but the truth of the matter is, they’re not irreplaceable to you, and you aren’t irreplaceable to them. There are new friends to be made, new office mates to get acquainted with, and new friends-in-law to find and build relationships with.
  • Unfortunately, in either situation, some of your so-called friends will be angry, insensitive, even belittling. Repeat after me, “They are not reacting to me. They are reacting to them.” If someone can’t be happy for you or support your decisions, it’s because of something they carry around, not because of you.

Friends come and go, and though it may hurt incredibly to lose these relationships, developing personal relationships is an ongoing art form you’ll perfect throughout your life. Keep trying, keep building, and you’ll find those lifelong relationships that last through breakups and job changes.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."