How to heal from a friend breakup
The end of a friendship is a terrible, painful thing. But there's no reason to despair—you will heal, and you'll be stronger for it! Here are some ways that can help you begin the healing process:
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the friendship
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the friendship. It's okay to feel sad, but remember that you will get through this. You may be feeling a range of emotions—sadness, anger, guilt and loneliness—and they will all pass eventually. You might even need a little time alone with your thoughts or some space from others if you are experiencing anxiety or depression as well. Talking to a professional therapist or counselor is a wonderful resource to navigate this pain.
Allow yourself time to heal before pursuing new friendships. This period can be used for introspection about what happened and what could have been different so that future friendships are healthier experiences for everyone involved in them.
Reflect on why the friendship ended
It can be hard to look at yourself critically and ask, “What did I do wrong?” But it's an essential part of the healing process so that you can avoid repeating your mistakes in the future.
When reflecting on why this friendship ended, there are three things you should keep in mind:
- What role did you play in contributing to the breakdown of your friendship? A friend breakup doesn't come out of nowhere. If something went wrong between the two of you, chances are it was at least partly because of something that one or both of you did (or didn't do). Rather than judging yourself for making mistakes as a friend (especially if those mistakes were out-and-out errors like purposefully hurting someone), try focusing on how these incidents led up to a final decision by one party or another that they wanted out of the relationship.
- What role did your friend play in contributing to the breakdown of your friendship? Just as no breakup happens overnight and without cause, no matter how much it feels like it does emotionally. There was something specific that happened at some point—either big or small—that made them decide they didn't want to be around anymore. Understanding what those actions were will help ensure that they don't happen again with other friends and loved ones who deserve better from us.
Sometimes we grow out of compatibility with a friend. Although this is a painful realization - it's going to be okay. You're going to have more friendships with greater compatibility in the future. It's important to believe this (because it's the truth!) and not allow yourself to spiral. Lean into other areas of friendship in your life.
Establish boundaries to heal
To move on from a friend breakup, you'll need to establish boundaries. This may seem counterintuitive since you're trying to heal and healers typically don't like boundaries. But there are two reasons why it's important:
The first is that if you don't establish these boundaries now, your next relationship will be based around them. This could mean all your future friendships will be colored through this lens of pain. Instead of only hurting yourself and feeling sad about the loss of this friendship, someone else will get hurt in the process too! It can be especially hard for people who are introverted or socially anxious types because we tend not to want "bad things" happening so much as good things happening quickly so we can get back on track with our lives again ASAP rather than lingering over hurt feelings all day long like some kind of mopey drama queen (or king).
Get support and validation from others
If you’re still struggling to recover from your friend breakup, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself feel better. These include:
- Getting support and validation from others. You may want to ask for help from friends and family members, seek out a therapist, join a support group for people who have experienced similar losses in their lives, or use social media (such as Facebook) as an outlet for connecting with others in similar situations.
- Doing something good for yourself. Join a new workout class, do something creative, and enjoy being friends with yourself first.
Accept it's over
Acceptance is an important part of healing from a friend breakup. Acceptance does not mean giving up or being resigned to your situation, though these things can happen after acceptance. Rather, it means accepting that it's over and that you can't do anything to change the situation, so you might as well put your energy into making yourself better, rather than trying to fight against what has already happened.
Accepting that your friend breakup has happened is hard but necessary if you want to move on with your life and heal from this experience. This can be especially difficult because many of us do not recognize when our friendships have ended until they are officially over and done with; people fall out of touch for months or years before realizing they're no longer friends at all! If this sounds like something that applies to you (or if circumstances force the issue), then read on for tips about how best handle those feelings of loss:
It can take time, but a broken friendship is another chance to grow as a person and discover new friendships.
It can take time to heal from a friend breakup. But it's okay to feel sad, angry, confused and like you're not good enough or loved. It's also okay to feel happy again. Here are some things that might help:
- Reach out to friends you've been meaning to catch up with anyway
- If you have pets, go hang out with them (and give them a hug)
- Make a list of things that make you happy and keep it somewhere handy
- Be friends with yourself first... because you're amazing!
The most important thing to remember after a friendship breakup is that you are not alone. You can heal and move forward, but it takes time. There are so many wonderful friendships waiting that will be so lucky to have your time and attention.