It’s never easy when friendships end. You might have been the one to decide to end it, or maybe your former friend decided to end it. The friendship might have been toxic, or it may have been totally fine and wholesome. It might have ended out of the blue, or you might have just gradually drifted apart. Either way, it’s a tough deal. Though friendship breakups are not discussed as often as romantic breakups, they happen to everyone. And they can hurt just as bad – or even worse – than a breakup with a romantic partner.

1. Acknowledge your pain First

The pain from a breakup of a deep friendship is as real and valid as any other. You and your friend probably shared almost everything and spent practically all your time together. You talked on the phone for hours on end and shared endless texts and messages. And now it’s all gone. That loss of intimacy and connection is real. It’s valid. And it hurts: please don’t try to tell yourself it’s nothing, because it really is something.

2. Don’t try to force closure

Closure feels like an emotionally healthy thing to seek – but it has to come naturally, and when you’re both calm. If you’re in the thick of a dramatic breakup with your best friend, it can really tough to explain how you both feel without escalating the situation.

3. Practice self-care

Though it seems far easier to mope in bed all day, make sure you get out and take care of yourself. Don’t neglect personal hygiene, and participate in your regular daily/weekly activities – even if they’re the last thing you want to do. Just going about your regular routine will help you recover from the pain of the breakup. It helps to take part in activities that bring you satisfaction or joy. For you, this could be reading, playing music, creating art, socializing, chilling on the beach, getting a massage, getting your nails done, or something else. If it’s a healthy outlet, and it makes you feel better, it’s self-care

4. Meet new people – but don’t pressure yourself to find a new BFF ASAP.

If the friend you lost was the person you hung out with most of the time, you can have an overwhelming desire to fill that void immediately (much like wanting to date someone new right after a devastating breakup). Stronger bonds have to happen organically. In the meantime, casting a wide net and opening yourself to new people is never a bad thing.

5. Read about others in your situation

You might think you’re the only one grieving a lost friendship. Think again. Google “friendship breakup” and see what happens: it brings up a long list of helpful articles and advice about how to handle exactly what you’re going through. Reading about others in your situation can help make you feel better about your own situation.

6. Tailor your social media if needed

Is there anything more enraging than seeing the ex-friend who wronged you having a BLAST with their new squad on Instagram? Being reminded of them at all (but especially when they seem unbothered with losing you) can be super hurtful, but it’s also easily avoidable.

 

7. Examine what went wrong in the friendship

Oftentimes, friendships turn sour when one friend behaves insensitively toward the other. Or sometimes the toxicity is mutual. The root of the toxic behavior often be tied to mental health issues or an underdeveloped sense of or awareness of boundaries.

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