Some of you might not agree, but I think a friendship breakup is a little more painful than a romantic one. Most people already know what to do when a romantic relationship ends, but the demise of a true friendship is so much tougher to navigate.
So, I decided to ask a few Nigerians to share their most painful friendship breakup stories. From built-up resentment to the sting of mistrust, these people all lost friendships that lasted years, and they can all agree on one thing: it hurt like hell.
Ify, 26/Female/7 years of friendship
I met her during NYSC and we became fast friends. I travelled across states to be her bridesmaid, and when I relocated to Lagos to start my new job, she and her husband housed me for a month until I got my own apartment. We were that close.
Since I was new to Lagos, I spent most of my weekends with her and her baby. I tried to help out as much as I could. I was cordial with her husband, but we only ever spoke when I visited. So, it was a surprise when I learnt she was uncomfortable with us talking.
Things got worse when I went to greet them after church service one Sunday. She was gisting with some friends, and I was making small talk with her husband while carrying the baby. She sent me a strongly-worded text after, warning me to respect boundaries.
I was really hurt and embarrassed, but I didn’t argue. I simply stopped visiting them. She tried to chat with me a few times after, but it was never the same. She never even apologised. I actually miss her despite everything, but I have and will continue to stay away.
James, 21/Male/2 years of friendship
We’d been like brothers for about 2 years, but then we had a terrible argument. Come to think of it, the fight wasn’t even that big a deal, but then he refused to apologise. I knew if I were in his position, I would have said sorry without hesitating.
The fact that he didn’t made me feel like I was the only one who valued the friendship. Then I started to hear that he was saying shit about me. We stayed in the same compound off campus, so we basically knew the exact same people.
I knew it was over when a mutual friend told me I should reach out because he was struggling with addiction. I texted him and he was still acting like a dick. I didn’t even want to be friends again, I just wanted to be sure he was okay. I still wonder how things would have gone if he just said sorry.
Tolani, 28/Female/14 years of friendship
We were a trio of friends and one of us was going through a particularly rough patch — struggling with her career and her relationship with God. To be fair, we were all struggling at the time, but I figured we’d be able to get through it together.
We talked about everything, helping each other accept our imperfections and strive to be better. I still don’t know why, but I guess life just hit her way too hard. She decided to take it out on us, and she slowly became very distant.
I knew it was over when she sent a message to our group chat saying she wanted to start afresh and she was cutting off everyone, including us. So she unfollowed us on every platform, changed her number and disappeared. It still hurts when I think about it.
Dapo, 27/Male/4 years of friendship
We became friends through social media. We both loved eating out, so we’d go to different restaurants every other weekend. We got pretty close after that, bonding over other things like our work struggles and our perpetual singledom.
Then all of a sudden, he became distant and would take days to respond whenever I hit him up. I asked what was wrong, and he said it was all in my head. I actually thought I was imagining it until two other mutual friends said he was doing the same thing to them.
I knew our friendship was officially over when my 27th birthday rolled around and he didn’t acknowledge it at all. For some context, he literally helped me plan my 26th birthday party. I’m definitely still pained and confused, but I’ve finally let it go.
Simi, 28/Female/18 years of friendship
We’d known each other since I was 10, but our friendship started to officially unravel during a period of sexual confusion for her. A babe I’d introduced her to, convinced her she was a lesbian and that I was in love with both of them. I wasn’t.
I knew it was over when I started falling into another bout of depression and she chose to chase the other babe, instead of being there for me when I really needed a friend. So, I packed up my things and left that friendship, literally and figuratively.
Timi, 29/Male/16 years of friendship
We lived right next door to each other, so we’d been best friend since childhood. We were so close, in fact, that the native name I bear today was given to me by his mother. We were basically brothers for the first 16 years of my life.
To be honest, I always knew he was a bit crafty and would do anything for money and power, but I never held that against him. Well, not until we were in uni — different schools — and he got close to a mutual friend whose parents were quite wealthy.
He side-lined everyone else and became an asshole. A few of our friends reached out to me to come talk some sense into him. When I came, he refused to acknowledge the mutual friend I came with and it almost escalated into a fistfight. That’s when I knew we were done.
He apologised a few years later, but the damage was already done. Our parents still live next to each other, and I still visit his mother whenever I go home, but I have no idea what’s going on in his life and, quite frankly, I don’t care.
Fola, 24/Female/5 years of friendship
I met her when I was in 100 level. We weren’t very close at first, but our relationship evolved and we became best friends. Even though I was always stood by her, I think our relationship inevitably broke down due to built-up resentment.
In 500 level, I got pregnant and it was a very difficult time for me. Two weeks after I gave birth, we were together and she gave me her phone. One thing led to another and the phone screen broke. I’m still not even sure how it happened.
She got angry and insisted I repair the phone. I was really surprised that someone who knew the emotional trauma and financial constraint I was going through at the time would be so thoughtless, especially since she was well off enough to fix it herself.
She said she didn’t send me to get pregnant and continued to insist. I sent her the little money I had left, and she never even repaired the phone. I eventually gave her a piece of my mind and blocked her. That was the end of the friendship.