So much effort and time goes into giving advice and encouragement to girls who have gone through romantic breakups, but I don’t think that we talk enough about friend breakups. The bonds that friends have is arguably just as strong or even stronger than the bonds that some couples have.
I will never forget the night that I was truly and deeply hurt by a friend for the first time. It came as a complete shock to me and it still is something that I am having to work through and process. Here is what I have learned through the process.
Let Yourself Feel all the Feels
I totally went through the six stages of grief during my friend breakup. From anger to denial to sadness, I felt it all. Sometimes all at once. And it’s okay. Don’t let yourself wallow in the sadness forever, but learn to recognize and understand the emotions that you are feeling, as you are feeling them.
Something that can help with this is journaling. I journaled a lot during the time — sometimes I even wrote letters (that I never sent!) to my former BFF and it honestly helped a lot. Simply naming the emotions (“I feel hurt because…”) can make a huge difference and can help you process everything that you are feeling.
Seek Help if you Need it
After my friend breakup, I leaned heavily on other friends in my life. Friends who took me to Starbucks. Friends who let me come to their house late at night to literally cry on their shoulder. Friends who asked me what they could do for me. It could have been very easy for me to brush off those friends and attempt to handle it on my own. But the reality is that I couldn’t have made it through without the support of my friends.
However, I felt like I was talking my friends’ ears off about my friend breakup. It was all that I could think about and talk about, so I decided to seek counseling. Therapy and counseling is something that can be stigmatized in our culture, but it is something can be extremely helpful. For me, counseling was one of the biggest things that helped my process and heal from my friend breakup. I was able to talk about how I felt, how I imagined that she felt and how I was going to move forward from this.
Embrace the Awkward
My friend breakup was not a clean break by any means. We tried to patch it back together a couple of times, but it just didn’t work. I had to wade through the awkward and honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out. Even though we are no longer friends, we still see each other multiple times a week. And it’s DANG awkward. But, when you try to pretend like the awkward isn’t even there, that’s what makes it even more awkward. Realize that there will probably be plenty of unpleasant moments that make you anxious and sad, but try to embrace them!
It was very difficult for me to do this at first, because I attended the same school as my former best friend. But, you need to decide from the get-go what your relationship is going to look like. Are you going to occasionally check in with each other? Are you deleting her number from your phone? Are you going to be constantly checking her social media profiles? One purposeful boundary that I set was that I muted and hid her on all social media. I still followed her, but I hid all of her posts from my feed. This allowed me to not have to see her face everyday when I log into Instagram, but I still have the choice to check up on her when I want to.
Yeah, friend breakups suck. They can be one of the greatest heartaches that you face. Unfortunately, being hurt and hurting others is a part of life, but you don’t have to let them control your life. The pain will not last forever.
Have you ever dealt with a friendship break-up? How did you handle it?