How to deal with a friendship break-up
No matter what stage you’re at in life, breaking up with a boyfriend is never easy. You may have graduated from removing his name (surrounded by love hearts) from your msn messenger screen name to simply hiding your relationship status on Facebook - but any way you cut it, heartbreak sucks. One thing that makes it a little more bearable is having your best friend by your side for the boyfriend momento burning ritual à la Friends Season 1.
So, what happens if that person who helps you through your endless guy troubles is the one you’re breaking up with? There are so many references in pop culture about dealing with the end of a romantic relationship (thanks Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston for the support), but there are little in the way of friendship break-ups. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.
Coping strategy #1: Let it all out
Just as watching Bridget Jones’s Diary while eating ice cream in a flood of tears is totally acceptable post-relationship break-up, it’s also fine to be sad and grieve over the loss of a friendship. Don’t bottle it up - watch Bride Wars and Crossroads while looking at all the Facebook collages you’ve made of each other over the years.
Coping strategy #2: Write a letter
You don’t have to send it, just write it all down, as if you were speaking to your former friend. I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me. If you’re going through something difficult or you’ve just had a particularly frustrating week, it really helps to write down how you’re feeling. Putting pen to paper is so therapeutic. Liz Pryor, author of What Did I Do Wrong? What to Do When You Don’t Know Why the Friendship Is Over, says the act of writing a letter to your friend can really help you to accept the friendship is over, which is an essential step in moving on.
Coping strategy #3: Stay neutral
We’re only human and it’s all too easy to start being negative about your former friend when she comes up in conversation with your family, friends or co-workers. Try not to indulge in this as it could easily get back to your former friend, making the whole situation a lot worse. This step is made much easier if you unleash all your feelings in strategy #2!
Coping strategy #4: Make new friends
Now for the super daunting part - putting yourself back out there. Just like any relationship break-up, it can be difficult to get back in the game but making new friends will help you accept and move on from your past friendship. I like to look at it this way - there’s no such thing as a ‘failed’ relationship (be it romantic or platonic), just lessons that can be learned, both positive and constructive. In this case, you’ll be able to take all these lessons to build new, strong and awesome relationships!
Have you gone through a friendship break-up? How did you cope with it?