Friendships are hard. As we grow older finding and maintaining meaningful, healthy, platonic relationships is not an easy task. That’s why when you do finally find someone who is a true friend it can be devastating to lose them. Sometimes friendship breakups are even more excruciating to go through than a romantic breakup. While there are few things that will lesson the blow of losing a friend there are a few ways to deal with a friendship breakup.
Allow Yourself To Be Sad
This might sound like a counterintuitive way to deal with a friendship breakup but it is important. There are plenty of songs, books, movies, and more dedicated to losing a partner but there aren’t really representations of losing a friend. That might make you feel like you need to just move on quickly, which isn’t true. It’s fine to be sad, confused, and even mad. In an interview with Time magazine psychotherapist Marni Feuerman said understanding all of the feelings you’re going through is important in moving on. Oftentimes during a friendship breakup it can be hard to process the actual falling out.
Unlike a romantic breakup there aren’t going to be new boundaries put into play, you won’t separate your items and you don’t get to turn your relationship status into single. Instead you’re forced to wade through the remains of that friendship almost blindly, which is hard but it will get better. Sometimes you might also want to seek closure like a romantic breakup but closure never really is satisfying. By allowing yourself to be sad and go through the motions of grieving the friendship eventually you’ll realize you won’t need to have closure because it won’t matter anymore.
Reflecting can mean a lot of things. When a romantic breakup happens it’s easy to cling to the good times. That’s something that can definitely happen with friendship breakups too. While it might sting to think about those moments, or you might even be tempted to reach out again, evaluating those times might actually help. You became friends with this person for a reason. Take a minute to think about what those reasons were. Thinking about why you became friends in the first place can actually help you find ways to make new friends in the future.
Reflection will also help you realize why you aren’t friends anymore. Not every friendship breakup comes from gigantic blowout, but if it did there’s a reason why the friendship imploded. This can be difficult to do because it will also force you to look at your own actions as well. Although that doesn’t mean the blame game. Friendships fall apart, it just happens. Looking back at the reasons why it ended isn’t necessarily about closure either, which oftentimes doesn’t actually happen. It’s more about acceptance and allowing yourself to know that the friendship just wasn’t meant to last.
Reconnect With Others
When you go through a friendship breakup it can feel like the end of the world and that you’re completely isolated. But that isn’t true. Odds are you have other friendships that you haven’t been paying attention to because of all of the breakup. Take this opportunity to reach out to those people. It could be hard if you have a similar social circle. If that’s the case try looking outside of where you normally turn. Say you never go to happy hour with your coworkers or you always skip out on brunch with your college friends, try going to those get togethers. These people will help remind you that you weren’t entirely dependent on this person for friendship. You are capable of making connections with more than one person at a time.
Meet New Friends
This one can definitely be one of the hardest. After a friendship breakup it can be terrifying to put yourself out there again. Like any breakup the prospect of a future failure can cause so much stress you’d feel it isn’t worth it, but it is. Seeking out new friends isn’t you trying to replace that person, it’s a healthy way to move on. A new person will never take the place of your former friend and they won’t become what your former friend was to you. Which is actually a good thing. Meeting new people opens up a world of new possibilities. There’s a very big possibility that a new person will actually be a better friend for you. Perhaps this new person likes more of your interests or communicates better with how you are.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine Dr. Bonior said it’s important to look for patterns as to why the friendship ended. Meeting new people will force yourself to analyze how and who you pick to be in your life. If you find yourself constantly drawn to people like your ex-friend maybe it’s you who needs to rethink things. Instead of going for people who imitate your former friend seek out people who will better your life rather than bring it down. Or you’ll be able to see your own toxic traits you bring to friendships and change for the better. Maybe you need to be with people who will call you out on your displaced anger.
Letting go isn’t easy. This doesn’t mean you have to completely forget the person and pretend they weren’t important to you. Rather letting go means just that, letting go of the friendship and the past. Lingering on a friendship breakup is unhealthy like lingering over any breakup. After you’ve gone through the grieving process and have started to figure out how and why things ended the way they did the next step is to let go.
That can potentially mean taking that person off of social media, deleting their number, and maybe even avoiding places they frequent for a bit. It can be hard but there is a very big possibility the friendship will never be fixed, and that’s okay.