How on earth do you navigate a friendship break-up?

Without it being socially acceptable to block their number, scream sad songs about them in the shower or get revenge by having a glow up, how do you get over the turmoil of a friendship break-up? 

It is undeniable that there is overwhelming sadness when a relationship comes to an end, for whatever reason. However, I would argue that the heartbreak that comes after a friendship falls apart, is arguably worse, and often doesn’t receive the same levels of attention. 

Friendships break down for many reasons. Whether it be an innocent case of drifting apart with distance or age, or the extreme circumstances, where they’ve slept with your ex, all can be equally as painful, and leave us with burning questions.

There is also very little guidance as to how to ‘get over’ a friend. We’re probably all too familiar with unfollowing your ex on Instagram, getting to the gym and going on nights out with your mates to forget about them, but this same routine doesn’t exactly translate over to friendship break-ups.

Although there is no real answer, there are various steps you can take, to hopefully help you navigate the emotions that come after a friendship breaks down.

The first thing I have definitely found helpful in healing from a friendship breakup, is changing your mindset to a more positive outlook. Yes, this sounds cliche and overused. But truly, it is the best place to start.

A quote which I found exceptionally helpful, was that friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. So starting with reason, no matter how badly this friendship break-up feels now, or how much that person may have hurt you, they came into your life for a reason.

This could be to teach you something important, guide you on the right path, or simply just to remind you of what you should look for in a friend. The reason for them being in your life will one day become clear, and hopefully provide some clarity on why this friendship just wasn’t meant to be.

Next comes the season, which essentially means some friends are only ever meant to be a part of your life for a specific period of time. This may be because you work in the same environment, you attend the same University, or you live in a similar area. For a certain ‘season’ your lives intertwine and you have a common ground which builds the foundations for a friendship. 

When this is taken away, for example, you don’t work at the same job anymore, the friendship no longer has the same weight. Undoubtedly, it is sad when this ‘season’ comes to an end. However, being mindful that this person wasn’t meant to be part of your life forever feels peaceful, and helps you come to terms with a friendship fizzling out.

The last category is friendships which are set to last for a lifetime, regardless of distance or how often you speak. This proves that when a friendship does sadly break down, they were never intended to be a friend for life. Many of these friends we probably haven’t even met yet, and have no idea who they may be. But that is part of the excitement, and friendship break-ups, as sad as they feel at the time, put you one step nearer to finding those friends who will be around forever.

Besides changing your outlook, it is also important to take time for yourself after a friendship breaks down. Similar to a regular break-up, self-care is a priority, as well as avoiding checking their social media pages, as constant comparison to how they appear to be doing will negatively impact your healing process.

Journalling is also an extremely helpful strategy in getting over a friendship break-up, particularly writing down all the things you may have once told that person. The feeling of writing things down makes it feels like you’ve ranted to someone, without actually making contact with anyone, especially the friend in question. It is also an effective way of getting your emotions out, if you feel like you have no one else to talk about this break up with, which is integral to the healing process.

Although the general advice surrounding a friendship breakup is less well-known or obvious, it is still something that so many people experience daily and is a completely natural life stage. It deserves the same recognition as the sadness that comes following a relationship break-up, and most importantly, looking after yourself and giving yourself the time to grieve a broken friendship are the first key steps in ‘getting over’ a friend.

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