Throughout our lives, whether we realize it or not, friends play a pivotal role in our development. Friends enhance our everyday existence, and without some of them, we could feel lost.
Friendship is for everyone, and this includes the very young to the very old. But here’s the thing, most of us don’t know how to get over a friendship breakup, no matter our age.
Friendship is Healthy and is Forever, Right?
Everyone wants to be part of the world and to experience a sense of belonging. Friends help you do that without even trying, they improve your life. There is no cut off period to wanting and enjoying friends, although sometimes our lives can become busier with small children and families.
At that point, making friends can then be a little bit of an afterthought. Even during these times, new friends can enrich our lives, as we share the challenges of raising young families and perhaps balancing careers.
The point is that friends matter, and they matter at every age and every stage of our lives. Some friends we have known for a long time, and some are newer, but no less important.
Friendship Can Help Us Define Ourselves
During early childhood, we learn to speak. We start to understand that there is more to the world than our bodies, and that the boundaries outside of our bodies are huge and infinite.
These relationships are important to our development. Friendships can be formed one on one, and even in group settings like school.
Here, we learn how to be more ourselves by the types of people we identify with. By the time we progress on to adolescence, we understand how important other people are to our psychological and physical welfare.
As humans, we never stop developing. This continues till very old age and beyond. As time goes by, we start living with purpose.
At each stage of our development, friendships can become more or slightly less of a focus, but it is always an important part of being human.
Losing a friend who is significant to us can be devastating. Unlike losing a loved one who passes over, or a partner to divorce, losing a friend is rarely spoken about, so many people may not know how to get over a friendship breakup.
There are no support groups for it, and people rarely mention it. Some people might feel embarrassed to even mention how much the breakup has hurt them.
The Deepness of Friendship can be Profound
If a friendship is very deep and meaningful, we find ourselves sharing hurts and pains, victories and achievements. Our times together are often steeped in memories, and places become the maps of our good and bad times together. They are forever serving as reminders of the good times we shared.
Often we feel that our friends know more about us than our partners. Or at least in a different way. When this relationship ends, it is painful, and this is where a person can start to wonder what is wrong with them.
Where did it all go wrong? Unless, of course, it was obvious as to what happened. You see, in order to learn how to get over a friendship breakup, we need to seek to understand what went wrong first.
The Pandemic Also Messed with Friendships
Life changes, moving, having children, and just moving on can cause friendships to dissolve.
With the pandemic, some friends slipped away due to sustained distance and time apart, which can be detrimental to friendships. Others just moved on with life. Sometimes friendships just end, and it is a good thing.
Perhaps one person has moved into a different stage of their life, and they no longer have so much in common with that friend anymore. This isn’t negative, instead it gives people room to grow and become so much more than they were before. To experience themselves in a new way and enjoy a growth spurt in their inner world.
There are many reasons why friendships dissolve, and how this affects you depends on how important this friend was to you, as well as your circumstances at the time.
In general, it is always better to foster emotional strength, so that the loss of a friend is not as devastating to your psychological welfare. This can be done in several ways, and is an important take-away discussed further on in this article.
So, how to get over a friendship breakup? We have top 10 tips that will help you heal and move on.
Tip 1. Acknowledge the Loss You Feel
Don’t blindside yourself, give yourself the care, support and sympathy you need. If there is someone you can talk to about it, do it. It will help get rid of pent up feelings. It might also help you see where things went wrong and how this has impacted you.
Write about it, holding nothing back. Sometimes journaling or writing things down can help you work through your sorrow. There are plenty of online diaries that are private, and no one needs to see your private thoughts, but you.
Understand that all types of feelings are involved in a loss. Anger, resentment, sorrow and grief. The flip side of this is that the possibilities for new friendships are always open. Someone has left, but a new friend is yet to be made.
Learn from the experience. Don’t always just blame yourself. You are human too, but also take responsibility for the role you might have played in the friendship breakup.
Tip 2. Work on the Facts You’ve Found Out
Once you have truly grieved and written about the parts of the breakup that hurt the most, you will now start to understand the things you need to move forward.
If you are struggling with the grief of losing a friend, you could book an appointment with a therapist to work through the issues you are having. A good therapist can guide you in moving forward, allowing you to decide upon actions that will help you heal.
If you need to change your thinking around the friendship, then CBT can help you focus on goals and change your behaviors and thinking that are causing you to self-sabotage any progress you are making.
Perhaps you need to avoid certain places for a while, as they could trigger a set of emotions that are triggering for you. At least acknowledging this gives you guidelines on how to move forward with your life in the short term.
Tip 3. Accept You are Powerless Over the Situation
In an ideal world, we could control everything, from how people behave to stopping wars and conquering world famine. However, simply accepting that we have no control of some situations and people, can help us overcome challenges and bring a semblance of peace.
Some things just are, and we can do nothing to change them.
We can change ourselves and our outlook, though. If you feel you were wrong in this situation, you can apologize, but do not expect a reply. To apologize is to expect nothing in return.
Just this act could help you come to terms with what happened. When we have moved past anger, we can start to look back on our friendship with gratitude. Focus on the fun times, the fact that you were able to create such a good friendship and enjoy it for a time. This was just a taster of more to come.
Tip 4. Learning to Let Go
Early on in the friendship breakup, you might be filled with anger and blame towards the other person. This is normal for any relationship, and part of healing is understanding that people will do what they want to do, and we only have so much control over anything.
If you feel wronged, you chalk it up to experience. Life can be a life-long classroom, and the lessons can be tough, but you survived, and perhaps this makes it clear as to the friends you’d rather have in the future.
If you were wrong, you could apologize or write a letter of apology, and either post it or throw it away.
This helps with closure and the tying up of loose ends.
Tip 5. Make a Date With Fun
Be your own best friend. Take yourself on a date – a walk along the beach, curl up with a good book and chill, or find out what your other friends are doing at the moment.
Start to be the friend you’d love to have to the deserving friends you have at the moment. As you go along this journey, you will be rewarded with finding out more about yourself, being able to understand yourself better, as well as nurturing your own needs.
It might sound corny, but joining interest groups is one of the best places to find nurturing acquaintances, and new acquaintances could be future friends. Plus, you are giving yourself that which you need the most. Some nurturing self-care.
Tip 6. Make New Memories
Try out a few places that you’ve never been before. Take a new friend, an old friend or a family member, and start to make new memories. You could even document these in a scrapbook or a social media account if you feel comfortable with that.
Sometimes having the visuals helps you see the progress you are making. In some ways, you have to fake it to make it.
Also, remember to be grateful for the areas in your life that are going well. Check-in on older friends and ask them how they are.
Tip 7. Quit the Blame Game
People have the propensity to blame themselves too much or too little. They also blame their friends for whatever happened, as discussed earlier. Decide to opt out of this internal dialogue once the anger phase has calmed down.
Negative self-talk is counterproductive.
Blame is mostly a negative emotion, no matter who you are blaming. Try and think positively about the past and future. Forgive the other person and forgive yourself. Thinking about something positively and speaking about it with more positive words can lift you out of a breakup depression.
You can thank the person in your mind for what they taught you, and thank yourself for being a good friend to that person over time. Knowing that you have friendship to offer. No matter how bad your behavior was, only if that was the case, or theirs, some parts were fun, fulfilling, and rewarding. Focus on those instead of the negative.
Tip 8. Choose to Move On
Open up your heart and your life to new friends as soon as you are ready. It is amazing how people pick up on an open heart just by instinct. Put yourself out there and be ready to socialize and meet new people as soon as you feel able.
Life is filled with endless possibilities, and this is the gift in this scenario. This could have been the wake-up call to meet new and interesting people you might never have met if you had not had a friendship breakup. Speaking positively about the situation will help you gather a new perspective that will not stress you physiologically.
Steering yourself to the positive side of any negative event can reap huge mental health rewards.
Tip 9. Learn From Your Experience
The only bad experience is the experience that didn’t help you with a life lesson. Use this time wisely to learn more about yourself as a person and move forward. This could be a time of turn-around when you realize the type of friends you prefer. You can also take better care of the friends you currently have.
Not all friends are best friends or that significant, but are significant in their own ways and are just as important.
Tip 10. Take Care of Yourself
As with all stressful events, it pays to focus on your general health, like getting enough sleep, not using too much alcohol and eating healthily. Take time to rest as much as possible and build up your inner physical health. Take this time out to feed yourself, both emotionally and physically.
How To Get Over a Friendship Breakup: Caveat Take-Away
The ending of a friendship is fraught with emotions, acknowledging them and sharing them if needed gives you the focus you deserve. All feelings are important, even negative feelings.
The best caveat to take away from an experience like this is to be more determined to make your life more well-rounded. That means giving yourself the things you need, taking time to get to know yourself more, and doing things you love.
Understanding that you are diverse, and so is life, and not one person or situation can feed that diversity. The more well-rounded your activities are, the more well-rounded you will feel as a person.
Make time for classes you love, like painting, DIY, or whatever stimulates you. This could also be a kick-off point for new hobbies and passions. Living life passionately is one of the most exciting things a person can do.
Keep yourself open to meeting new and interesting people, but also keep your interests open. As people progress through life and the different developmental stages, their needs change, and so do their pictures of what ideal companions look like.
Start to build a support system. Each person’s support system will look different, but the main thing is that it is important and holistically nurturing for you.
Become Stronger and Grow From the Experience
Some even include their beloved pets in their support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on this journey, and help can also come in various forms. Building a support system and a range of activities and friends that you are interested in means that if one piece of your puzzle falls away, it will not have the same impact on you. Instead, you will find an inner strength that is impenetrable, aside from a very normal but not overwhelming feeling of loss.
To know how to get over a friendship breakup is to have a good understanding of your own self, as well as what went wrong. It’s not a skill you are born with, but through time you could get to a position where you feel more capable of dealing with a breakup, no matter how painful it was.
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