When friends break up, life might seem hard. I am not talking about a romantic breakup. In this post I want to focus on a different kind of breakup; when friendships end. Sometimes friendships end with a big falling out. Sometimes it’s more gradual; life gets in the way and friends slowly drift apart – what used to be hanging out all the time shifts to “we should hang out sometime!” or even just birthday messages on social media, if that.
No matter how the breakup happens, the ending of a friendship hurts! We want and expect to keep our friendships for life. It’s jarring when we no longer have that friend to share that perfect joke with, go to THAT concert with, or tell secrets to.
When coping with the loss of a friendship it is important to view it for what it is – a loss! Just as with any other loss it is natural to experience grief and go through feelings of anger, sadness, missing them, and questioning things you could have or should have done differently. It is important to take care of yourself in the same ways you would any other loss: use social and family support, self-care, and self-compassion. Try to get away from the “what-ifs” and use the experience to understand yourself better. Why did you react a certain way? If it happened again, how would you like to see yourself behave? What did you learn was important to you and what is best left behind?
The ending of a friendship can also be a good time to reflect on the quality of the relationship – was it healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in between? This is an opportunity to be introspective and focus on the relationship with yourself and others in your life. Do you need to apologize to anyone? Improve communication? Spend more quality time with others? Have better boundaries? Were you proud of yourself for certain qualities that you could do more of in the future?
Don’t discount the importance of taking the time you need to feel your feelings, evaluate what is important to you and how you want to move forward in your other relationships. Self-care will make us ready to be better friends and form more solid, long-lasting friendships in the future.
Call STA 201-488-6678 if you want to learn how to deal with the changes life throws at you and learn to become a better friend to those around you. Together we can help you deal with any breakup you might deal with.