You don’t have to continue a failing friendship just because you’ve known each other a long time. You don’t have to remain in an unhealthy relationship just because you’ve already put in so many years. That’s not a rule. You didn’t sign a contract to engage in eternal misery.
It can be very easy to fall into the trap of static thinking, or the belief that the way things are is the way that they will always be, that the way things were is the way they currently are. The truth is, relationships of any sort cannot be static because people are not static. We go through changes, and as a result, other people can ebb and flow into and out of our lives. Friendships are absolutely no exception to this rule. Our friends are often a reflection of who we were at the moment in our lives when we made those friends, but as we grow and change, we can outgrow certain people. A friendship that feels forced, is one-sided, and/or has become so embroiled with unsaid words or resentments that your time together is draining rather than uplifting, isn’t sustainable. If both parties are no longer willing or able to do the work to keep the friendship alive and healthy, it may be time to re-evaluate and move on. Sometimes, it’s best to let people go, for their sake as well as for your own.