The loss of a friendship is even more devastating than the loss of a girlfriend or boyfriend, I think, especially if you're breaking up with an incredibly close friend. Friends get you on a different level than lovers. They provide you with different things, they nurture you in different ways, and you need them for different reasons. Breaking up with a friend, or having a friend break up with you, can keep you down and depressed for a long time. Dealing with that loss hurts because you feel like a piece of yourself is missing, but I think – I hope – that the advice here will help you.
You need to do this because you need to own it. Myriad things can break up a friendship, such as a move, a natural drift, or a lie. Some wounds simply cannot be mended, but some can. Understanding why you're drifting apart and owning your part are both necessary to try mending fences, but even if you can't, knowing the whys and wherefores of your breakup will ultimately help you cope.
A friendship break up really is like any other kind. You need to take time to feel your feelings. Process, think, grieve. Trust me, the grieving part is important. In fact...
You will feel absolute grief. Why not? An integral part of your life is now gone. Someone on whom you depended is no longer part of your life. Why wouldn't you grieve?
This is important. You'll be tempted, even more tempted than you are after a romantic breakup, because you know all of your friend's online hotspots, you know about the secret Instagram, the Tumblr, the Twitter she only uses to rant. Steer clear of those spaces for the time being. Give your friend some space and give yourself some space too.
This is tempting, too. We always want to trash people who hurt us, especially if we don't think we did anything wrong. Don't stoop to that, though, even if your friend talks about you. Why? Because it's an angry response, for one thing, and you probably don't mean the things you say. For another thing, it's disingenuous. I mean, this was your friend. You shared things. You were part of each other's lives. Even if things end on a sour note, don't smear all those memories.
Because everyone wants it.
Not everyone gets closure, though. If you don't, accept that as your closure. The end is just the end, and that's what you have to accept.
Replaying your last fight, your last conversation, or the series of events that led to your breakup is tempting, but try to resist it. Go over it once or twice if need be, especially if you want to try to fix your friendship, but after that, let it go. You can't change what happened. You can only learn from it.
Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. It has the power to heal you when you're hurting. Feel free to look at photos, home movies, letters, and even text messages that feature your friendship, just don't overdo it. Don't spend entire evenings sitting in piles of pictures, crying your eyes out.
There's a huge difference between grieving and wallowing. You can't let your life stop, no matter how sad you are. Gradually, you have to give your heart what it needs to heal.
Surrounding yourself with love and laughter will help you move on better than anything. Start by reaching out to your family, whether it's your biological fam or your logical one – the one you chose yourself.
That's what friends are for – and it's why friendship breakups can be even more devastating than romantic ones. Your friends are there for you when you're down. Take them up on the offer.
Never. This is a big no-no. Don't do this. Let mutual friends make their own decisions
If you feel like you uncomfortable hearing or talking about your former friend, let mutual friends and acquaintances know up front. Make it clear, however, that you are not asking them to choose sides.
Not forever, just for a while. All the places the two of you used to go don't have to be off limits for the rest of time, but you'll be glad you gave yourself a breather. Right after your breakup, the memories are just too fresh to risk going to those places. Besides ...
Now you can explore new favorite spots! Check out new clubs, bars, and restaurants, new bike paths and parks, new bookstores and cafes – you get the idea.
No one can replace your ex-friend. That's not why you should go out and meet new people. However, surrounding yourself with positivity and opening yourself up can be so helpful. There's a void to fill and fresh blood can fill it.
As you go forward with new friendships, try to remember what happened with your last one. This is, again, why it's so important to understand the reasons behind your breakup.
Anything. Buy a new book. Take a bath. Pick up a new hobby. Do something new with your hair. Just do something solely for yourself.
If you're dealing with anger, write a letter to your friend. Be as honest, open, and even angry as you want. When you're done writing your letter? Burn it.
And then move on. If you're able to salvage your friendship, that brings on a whole new set of tasks. If not, then the rest of your life is waiting.
What's the worst friendship breakup you ever experienced?
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