'We're in the era of 'firing' our friends'. Here's why it needs to stop.'

I recently made a new friend. I know this isn’t exactly newsworthy but I’m in my early 30s and at this point I thought my friendship bank was full and I was surrounded by all the people nearest and dearest to me that will stay by my side until the bitter end.

It sounds all very cliche when you put it on paper but she’s a new mum, I’m a new mum and she lives downstairs so the convenience factor alone made this friendship a no brainer. 

She also happens to be really great, so that’s an added bonus and a definite requisite for me when it comes to making new friends.

Watch: The Well, on friends. Story continues below.

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In tandem with this delightfully unexpected new friend, I realised that quite unconsciously there were a few friends that have dropped off my radar. 

I’ve never subscribed to a ‘one in, one out’ policy when it comes to friendships but then with little fanfare, there have been a few once close allies that have moved out of the inner circle. 

I’ve left unanswered texts from the friend who I used to have outrageously debaucherous nights out with in my 20s. 

I’ve been coming up with excuses for the old acquaintance from school whose lifestyle just doesn’t link up with my ‘working mum’ era. And some colleagues from my high-flying TV hosting days pull further away into the night while I have become a morning person thanks to a cute little human alarm clock.


There’s been no big break up. No lengthy essay texts letting each other know that they’re not giving the other what they need from the friendship. It has been a quiet and gradual phasing out of communication. 

I hate to say it, but I’ve almost been ghosting my way out of these friendships. I mean no ill-will but quite frankly, this is all I have time for.

These big declarations marking the end of a friendship has become par for the course in modern times. In a new feature for The Atlantic, writer Olga Khazan, explores the phenomenon that has been likened to ‘firing’ your friends. 

The idea attaches itself to corporate HR-speak when one friend gives another a ‘performance review’ of sorts after being unhappy with how the relationship is going. It has become incredibly common and chances are you may have been on the receiving end of a massive paragraph of text citing all the ways you’re not meeting the needs of your friend.

Or perhaps you’ve sent one after feeling dissatisfied with the level of effort your buddy is putting in. Either way, it usually ends in the dissolution of the friendship and people go their separate ways.

Excuse me for sounding a bit exhausted by it all but is it really necessary to go to these lengths?


I’m not at all suggesting we shouldn’t be held accountable by a set of standards when it comes to how we hold ourselves in relationships. 

Above all, there should be respect, positivity and support. But if you’re no longer in a position to provide those things (or you’re not getting them) then why can’t we just walk away with a little bit of dignity and appreciate the friendship for what it was: a moment in time. Because that’s all it is. A moment in time when two people align and enjoy each other’s company. 

I don’t want to reduce the idea of friendship down to something that feels shallow and meaningless. But a great friendship doesn’t always need to equate to longevity.

Call me a realist but I believe that some relationships are meant to be fleeting. It doesn’t make them any less important or impactful. Some of the most profound friendships I’ve had are with people who I’m not necessarily close with anymore. 

There was no big breakdown but rather the natural ebbs and flows of life. I moved to another country, I fell in love, I fell out of love, I got a new job, I had a baby, I picked up a new hobby, I stopped an old hobby. Life twists and turns and pulls you into orbit with new faces and exciting new journeys - it’s natural to have a rolling roster of people you connect with. 

Some relationships will stick with you for life, some won’t - and that is totally okay.

Listen to No Filter, On this episode, Rebecca Sparrow, Lise Carlaw and Sarah Wills created The Friendship Project; a six-part audio series that dives deep into what makes adult friendships work and the factors which make them unravel. Post continues below.


When I was at school, I was fortunate enough to have the most beautiful and supportive group of girlfriends. To this day we are all the bestest of friends and I consider them my soulmates. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. 

In my 20s I was unbelievably close with four or five of them. We were living it up in Sydney. They were my family away from home, my sisters. Then a series of events led to a separation - words were shouted, a boy got in the middle of the sisterhood and then it was over. 

I walked away and grieved the friendship. It was really difficult but I knew that we needed some time apart. Years passed, we matured, and we found our way back to each other. 

Some friendships don’t need a big breakup, they just need a break. 

Call it kismet, call it the divine law of friendship, but I believe if a friendship is meant to be it will be. You don’t need to fire your friends, just walk away and give each other space to breathe.

Sit in the uncomfy feelings, do some reflecting and make connections with people who fit this time in your life. 

They’ll come back into your orbit if and when the time is right. Step out of the friendship HR office, delete the essay text and go out and live your life with the people who are meant to be here now. 

Feature Image: Getty

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