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How Are Friendships Like Shoes?

When A Friendship Ends … Are Friendships Like Shoes? A friend who watched my video on friendships ending wrote me an e-mail with the most beautiful analogy. She said:

As I was listening to you and watching the video, I thought about friends as being shoes in my closet. Sometimes we keep certain shoes around because they are comfortable and they are with us in sickness and when we get up in the morning and go to bed at night — these are our best friends — the ones who see us as we really are. Then there are shoes that you buy to go with certain outfits — to me, these are friends that fit you at certain times of your life’s journey, but the shoes go out of fashion or don’t serve you well or the heel falls off so you just don’t want to wear them any more and so you either relegate these shoes to the back of the shoe closet or you give them away. And then there are shoes that you have for particular occasions — like your running shoes or flip flops — these are friends who you do specific things with and who you enjoy being with.

Tonight I am going to go home and look at all my shoes. I recently jettisoned some real shoes in an effort to declutter. I still have one pair of Mom’s shoes.

I’ve also found that friends need to be life-giving. The friends I choose to be with are the ones that want to be friends with me as much as I want to be friends with them. Friendship is two-way. It’s not friendship if the “friend ship” is sailing one way!

Years ago a few women that I thought were really, truly good friends just totally quit communicating with me even though I still communicated with them. I finally let go of them totally. Over a year ago, a younger woman whom I had mentored and worked with rekindled our friendship. We met monthly for breakfast. It was a few months into the rekindling that I realized she was using me to get new business contacts. When we made a date to meet at her home for dinner, with our men, she totally forgot the invitation to her home when I called to ask what I could bring to dinner. I have not spoken to her since. I realized that she didn’t really want to be friends. It hurt a lot and I lost respect for her.

On friendships ending …

What do you think? Are friends like shoes? Do you outgrow them?

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How Are Friendships Like Shoes?

Therese J. Borchard

Therese J. Borchard is a mental health writer and advocate. She is the founder of the online depression communities Project Hope & Beyond and Group Beyond Blue, and is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. You can reach her at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2018). How Are Friendships Like Shoes?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 25 May 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.