I’m not a person who has a ton of friends. I’ve always had a few close friends, and a wide circle of acquaintances.
I guard my privacy rather furiously. So when I finally open up? I open up all the way, and I give those friends all of me.
Recently, I had one of those friendships come to an end. A heartbreaking end. We’re talking a trip for Ben & Jerry’s and sappy movies on tv end. (My husband even got a good laugh, wondering if I cried that much when he and I broke up years and years ago in high school.)
There was a lot of pain, on both of our parts. The dissolution of this friendship wasn’t my choice, but rather her pushing me away because of other situations in her life that caused her to feel like we could no long relate. (I do have hopes that one day? We’ll be friends again, but until then? I had to move forward in life without my partner-in-crime.)
But I had to pick myself up and move forward. And I found a few things that really helped me cope. Because the end of a friendship isn’t looked at the same way as a romantic relationship. People don’t join you to trash talk your now ex-friend (which is perhaps a good thing) and they don’t want to take sides in the same way. (Again, a good thing.) But sometimes, we need to let ourselves heal from these broken friendships, no matter the cause of their end.
5 Ways To Heal From a Broken Friendship
- Cry. I know that sounds cliche. But sometimes? You just need to let it all out. Like I mentioned, I went all in. I got my favorite ice cream and watched my favorite sappy movies. I was grieving much like I would the end of a dating relationship back in the day. I was saying goodbye to someone I’d shared my life with for many years.
- Develop a neutral stance. Chances are pretty good you have at least a few mutual friends. It’s important that you not push them to chose sides. Our fall-out was pretty obvious, since we went from constantly spending time together with all of our friends, to barely talking pretty much overnight. (And considering we had set our lives up around our friendship? It led to some awkward moments when we met up in public.) So I’d simply stay neutral. (I was lucky – everyone kind of knew the situation.) No matter the cause of this break up? You’re going to make life easier on both of you by taking a neutral stance, and allowing your friends to do the same.
- Write a letter or Journal. I am addicted to journaling and doodling. So I turned to my favorite outlet and wrote my friend a letter, one I would never show anyone. I let my feelings pour onto the paper, along with a few tears. But I felt so much better having gotten some of those thoughts out. I knew she would never see them, they would do no good. But I also knew that I needed to let it out somehow.
- Pray. I’m a big fan of prayer. I have left this friend on my prayer list and pray for her often. I pray for her private situation to improve. I pray that she would find happiness, that she would overcome her personal demons. And when it gets back to me that she’s struggling (because mutual friends) I add those requests to my list as well. The end of our friendship as we knew it didn’t mean I gave up on caring, and I know that we could all use a little prayer!
- Move on. Just like a dating relationship, you can’t spend forever dwelling on your pain. You have to stick yourself out there, and build new friendships. For me, this was extremely hard. We had a lot of the same friends, so I needed to be cautious that I wasn’t flaunting it toward her. That my growing closer to some of our mutual friends wasn’t excluding her from the same opportunity. And I had fear of being shut out in much the same way. But moving on, building new friendships and strengthening existing ones was what helped me to truly move forward and stop feeling the intense pain that came with the end of that friendship.