We’ve normalized prioritizing romantic relationships above friendships. So, when we do break away from a friend or a friend group, no one tells us that it hurts just as much as any other kind of relationship falling apart.
Which is why we’ve curated a list of bits of advice shared by people who tell us how to deal with friendship break ups. We can all definitely learn from these. Take a look:
1. By focusing on yourself, and your loved ones.
“You need to accept what happened and why it happened, make sure you learn from your mistake. But you ultimately need time, spend more time with other friends and family, focus on yourself. This is a period of growth for you and whilst it is understandable that you feel lost and alone, don’t let it take over your entire life. If feelings of loss continue to overwhelm you, I recommend you seek professional advice and support. It can be incredibly beneficial and we all need help from time to time.”
2. By accepting that sometimes we lose alignment with certain people.
“Friends come and go and that’s a normal thing. You need different people at different times at your life and so do they. When your needs align you’re into each others lives and that’s great. And then for one reason or another you split up and open space for new people or for yourself. I used to feel very bad when this happened. Thinking about how I’ll be without friends, an old and lonely woman with no one to count on. Nowadays I think relationships can’t be forced and if someone feels the effort is not worth it anymore you just let them go. I still fear I’ll end up old and alone, but so be it. I can’t pressure someone to love me and other people can’t pressure me.”
3. By coming to terms with the fact that sometimes we have different friends for different seasons of life.
“It’s true, we have different friends for different stages of our life. There are no rules that you have to be friends forever. Learn from it, process it and then move on.”
4. By letting yourself grieve the end of a friendship.
“Time heals. Eventually you’ll find new interests, you’ll have a desire to partake in your hobbies again, and things will slowly normalize. For now, allow yourself to be sad. But also, try to find new things to fill your time with. Keep yourself busy when you can so you don’t dwell on it too much. Maybe in the future the friendship will resume. But for now just work on yourself.”
5. By understanding that sometimes it’s for the best that you’ve broken up with that friend.
“You’ve obviously drifted apart for a reason and trying to fix something that’s broken will never result in the original friendship. Things will never be the same again and eventually you may drift apart again because you’re forcing something that just isn’t meant to be. ‘Whatever is meant for you, will never miss you and whatever isn’t meant for you, you’ll never miss'”
6. Maybe the friendship break up is an opportunity for you to reassess how you show up as a friend to others? Take the time apart to introspect.
“My advice to you would be to not reach out right away. Respect their space and continue on your own journey of growth. This is a wonderful time to learn from the mistakes you made and work on bettering yourself. If you don’t have other friends close by that want to spend time with you, embrace your own company. It’s a beautiful feeling when you realize you love your own company. In this life, good friends, close friends, casual friends and acquaintances will come and go. Some will stay longer than others but until then, spend some time figuring out what you want to bring to any friend relationship.”
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7. By not taking it so personally that that friend wanted to break up. And don’t base your worth on friendships and on how they choose to view you. Also, by respecting your friends’ boundaries.
“I was so desperate to fix things because I took our relationship/her assessment of me extremely personally, though I wasn’t conscious of this at the time. It was like her cutting me off was a statement of my worth as a human. Furthermore, she never gave me a reason, so my mind went wild blaming myself for everything and anything.
8. Some friendships help us realize how terrible we are at setting boundaries, and how much we over-give to people. So, perhaps if we learn to set boundaries with people, we’ll ultimately heal from the break up.
“I was the one to ‘break up’ with a friend. She was my best friend at the time, I loved her to pieces. However, it was a one sided relationship. I was there for her more than she was there for me. It also helped me to realize what boundaries I needed to have for myself, and the expectations of others I have in my life. It taught me more about myself and what I can actually handle on my own, even if I should not have to handle it on my own. It has been at least 11 years since the break up, I do not regret it. I can only imagine how much more draining our friendship would be if it had continued.”
9. By investing in other friendships that pour back in to you.
“Let that friend go. Let the distance grow and invest in the friends you have who support and love you.”
10. Once you lose alignment with certain friends, you need to understand that unless and until you don’t let them go, you won’t be able to make space for new people who are healthy for you.
“I will just share something that sounds a bit new age-y, but I’ve actually experienced it. I’m a huge believer that new things can’t come to you if you’re hanging on to old things. Like, let’s say your job sucks. There is probably a great job out there that you would LOVE but because you’re clinging to the old job, you won’t even apply to that new one and hence won’t get to experience how awesome that new job could be. Same thing with friendships. As long as you cling to the fading, bad friendship, you won’t open yourself up to a possibly great, new friendship. So let that stuff go.”
11. By getting professional help. Often, we dismiss friendship issues and downplay them as compared to romantic relationships, but they’re just as important and you need proper support through a friendship falling apart.
“The best thing I did for myself was to find a really good therapist. If therapy is too expensive, maybe there’s like a nonprofit org who offers youth counselling in your area. Try surrounding yourself with a good support group/system. Focusing on your hobbies/finding new hobbies to enjoy might also help.”
Friendship break ups are normal, and a part of life!