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I fight all the time with a good friend. Should I break up with her? Add to ...

The question

I fight regularly with a good friend of mine. We've been close for years, but I feel we're just two different women now. Is it okay to officially break up with her, or should I just let it dwindle?

The answer

Ah, the challenge of dealing with an evolving friendship can be a source of so much angst and turmoil for many women.

"Breaking up" with a friend can be very difficult, but sometimes it's the healthiest outcome for a relationship. Interestingly enough, we sometimes find it easier to break up with partners, but often struggle when it comes to ending our female friendships.

There's a close emotional bond and connection that many women build with their female friends, and the associated hope that these bonds will last a lifetime.

The question of whether you should officially break up with your friend is a difficult one. he short answer? It depends on if the pros outweigh the cons (and since you're asking, I'm guessing they don't.)

You say you are fighting regularly: What are the causes of these fights for you? I would ask yourself the hard question about whether you sincerely feel that these differences are solvable. Have the fights just recently started? Are they contained to one or two circumscribed areas?

Sometimes, we may need to revisit and renegotiate the terms of a friendship through open (yet difficult) conversations. A number of factors, including the length of your friendship, the types of experiences you have shared, and the level to which your lives are intertwined (e.g., other mutual friends/family) may all be valid reasons for keeping the friend in your life in some new, but changed capacity.

Other times, friendships can become so unfulfilling, unhealthy or drama-filled that ending them is in fact the best personal decision.

Send psychologist Joti Samra your questions at psychologist@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Dr. Samra.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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