Ask a Therapist: Broken Friendships with Richard Kneip

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Some friends come into our lives for a short time and some are with us for a good part of our lives. Join Richard Kneip, PhD, as he answers your questions about broken friendships.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome everyone! Today's guest is Richard Kneip, PhD. He will be answering your questions about broken friendships.

lonelyeyes99: My friend became pregnant about the same time I found out I couldn't have children. I kind of strayed away but now realize how much we need each other. What can I do?

Richard Kneip, PhD: Overcoming estrangement in a relationship requires openness and honest communication. The fact that you recognize that your own feelings of envy over your friend's pregnancy created distance in the relationship is important, and your friend would probably appreciate your sharing this with her. Without knowing that, she may be left wondering about the reasons for your distance. As you share with your friend your thoughts and feelings, you will be making an important contribution to the restoration of the relationship. You can find more information about marriage, relationships and communication at

minou_5_1999: How can I forget somebody who broke my heart?

Richard Kneip, PhD: Having a romantic relationship broken off abruptly is one of the most difficult experiences we can have. While you may never fully leave behind the hurt you are experiencing, it will be important that you come to understand that your partner's decision was made for their own reasons and had nothing to do with your worth as a person. As you appreciate the fact that you are lovable and will move on and form new relationships, it will become easier for you to allow your partner to do the same.

floppygoth: When a person can't forgive you, is it just best to let it go until they come around?

Richard Kneip, PhD: Yes, of course. It may be important to allow for opportunities to talk about what it is that is troubling the other person, or specifically in what way they feel they have been wronged. Inability to forgive is usually related to our perception that we have been treated unfairly or wronged in some way. Usually, the wronged person would like amends to be made and sometimes a simple "I'm sorry" is sufficient. However, if it is not, then there may be little more than you can do other than to let them sort it out for themselves.

angelique_liz: I had a best friend and we broke up cause I was too jealous. What should I do to get her back?

Richard Kneip, PhD: I'm assuming you broke off the relationship as a result of your jealousy. If you decided that you are wrong and that you behaved poorly, then of course the first and most important thing for you to do is to express your regret to your friend. If she is truly a friend, then I am sure she will be relieved that you wish to renew the friendship. In relationships, the single most important factor in the quality of the relationship is open and honest communication. It usually isn't easy, as our feelings, pride, and embarrassment may get in the way, but overcoming these things and expressing ourselves openly is crucial in establishing good relationships.

floppygoth: If a friendship is completely broken off, what are some activities that can facilitate grieving and healing?

Richard Kneip, PhD: In part, that would depend upon the circumstances under which the breakup took place. Nonetheless, it is very important when any relationship breaks up that we come to some understanding as to why the breakup occurred. Usually, we defend ourselves against the pain and disappointment by blaming the other person entirely for the breakup. On the other hand, it can be equally destructive when we blame ourselves entirely. Recovery from the hurt cannot take place effectively until we come to a balanced appreciation of how we contributed to the breakup, and also what we can learn about ourselves so we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in future relationships.

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