Can success really make you lose friends? Grace Francis

Friendships can end for all sorts of reasons. Some may come to an end naturally. She who was once a very good friend, may eventually and quite naturally, become an acquaintance.

But what do you do, when the friend you considered your ‘best friend for life’, literally, the one you thought you might grow old with, ends your friendship, with no explanation?

This was my experience with a friend of 15 years, which led me to explore friendships, break ups and healing from the grief of when it all goes pear shaped and you are left wondering ‘what happened?’.

For months I denied the fact that I was grieving the break up of this friendship until I recognized what was happening and subsequently allowed myself to journey through the healing process and arrive at the other side whole.

Whilst on this journey, I’ve discovered that many women navigate the end of a lost, but loved, friendship alone and this led me to explore friendships further. Whilst trying to learn from my own friendship trauma, one question stood out, ‘Can success, make you lose friends?’

Why did I find myself googling this question?

Well, in my world, pre-friendship breakup, life was going so well, I was a part of a great friendship network, one that I thought was only getting stronger, my friend was like a sister, our partners had become good friends, I was finally starting to see success in my business and my wedding was round the corner. Then all of a sudden, my friendship with my bestie, my sister from another mister, my ride or die, was over. There was no fight, no wrongdoing, no explanation.

Why do endings like this happen?

Recently, I have spoken to a number of women who have experienced a close friend distancing themselves and exiting the relationship with little communication. Each woman experiencing the same painful emotions and left wondering “what happened?”

I found that in many of these stories, there were some similarities. These were the ditched friend being at a point where she was evolving, either in her career, getting married, having a baby or just reaching a place of happiness that was hard to knock. And then it hits, the loved friend withdraws.

Could we be dealing with the very real human emotion that we ALL feel from time to time, the one we call “envy”?

I think sometimes yes.

Signs there could be envy in your friendship:

They never congratulate you on your successes
They don’t engage in conversation about the areas of life you are proud of
They bring negative energy to your good news
They don’t offer support

It is important to acknowledge that envy is a very real human emotion that we all experience from time to time.

Signs you are experiencing envy within your friendship:

You feel insecure,
You feel reduced in your self-esteem
You dislike certain experiences around them
They start to trigger you and you can’t pinpoint or rationalise why.

What is your relationship with your envy? I recognise this emotion as a gift when I experience it. It often shows me when a person is having an experience that I deep down desire to experience myself. The experience may feel hard to reach but it helps me get into alignment with my own values.

When this happens in your friendship, talk honestly and explore these feelings together.

It’s also important to recognise that relationships can end for other reasons too, such as having little in common, simply growing apart, moving away, and in some cases betrayal (in which case, is the root cause still envy?).

I feel that if someone is a true friend, success should not force you apart, indeed it should help you grow together. But if envy can’t be addressed, it will eventually hinder your growth turning a break up into a true gift.


Have you experienced a break up when success was in the picture? We’d love you to share your experience in the comments.

Grace Francis is the founder of DramEd, a company that creates creative educational experiences for families and children. They celebrate performers and aims to play a significant role in making space for performing arts in childhood education. The company incorporates DramEd Educators, which deliver classes that teach core subjects through performing arts. Since launch,  they have delivered over 600 classes to thousands of children. @grace_followheart

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