If you think about it carefully, you’ll notice that a friend is involved in almost every sphere of your life. Weekends, holidays, bad days, family dinners, errands, shopping, travelling, midnight cravings…you name it, they’re there. Really, most things are incomplete without their presence. This is precisely why losing your best friend feels like being put into your washing machine’s spin cycle.
So how to get over a friendship breakup? Getting through a breakup is a long and tiring process which demands fortitude and patience. If you’re someone going through this, you’re going to need all the guidance you can get. But you’ve got me in your corner, and I know just what to do when you’re wondering how to get over a friend.
There are ten ways to mend your heart. If you want to recover from losing a friend and heal swiftly, then here’s a map for the road to take. Shall we begin? Here we go…
Why Do Friendship Breakups Happen?
A fallout in a friendship can happen due to multiple reasons. Maybe your friend turned out to be a different person altogether. Maybe your differences were really irreconcilable. Or maybe one of you hurt the other irreversibly. My first friendship breakup (yes, I’ve had more than one) resembled a romantic one quite a bit. Things started out great, we were obsessed with each other, life was practically a cute sitcom, and then…
And then I realized how our core values were very, very different. The disagreements increased but we clung to each other fiercely. We were barreling toward a toxic friendship and we knew it. I made the difficult decision of parting ways because it would save us a world of pain in the future. There were two paths ahead – dysfunctional together or healthy apart. Naturally, the latter was a wise choice.
Like other relationships, a friendship separation can be temporary or permanent. It is up to you to decide if this problem can be overcome. Toxic or abusive friendships ought to be discarded right away but fights can be resolved by making amends and compromising. Your circumstances have brought you to a juncture where the friendship breakup is kinda sorta almost permanent. So, how can you deal with the loss of a platonic soulmate? Let’s find out in our next segment.
10 Ways To Get Over A Friendship Breakup
I don’t know what caused you and your friend to part ways, but it must have been painful for sure. No matter which emotional space you’re coming from now – anger, sorrow, confusion, or peace – you can implement the following ways to nurture your emotional health.
You may have underestimated the effect of the relationship you and your friend shared. A study has revealed how strong social relationships increase our chances of a longer life. Good friendships are associated with lower levels of stress and anxiety, and a long, happy life. No wonder you’re asking how you can get over a friendship breakup.
I’m really sorry if you’ve lost the Ron Weasley to your Harry Potter, but we must move on. The dumps aren’t a good place to dwell in. Here’s how to get over a best friend breakup…
1. Roses are red, you’re down with the blues…
You cannot and will not heal unless you acknowledge the wound. Overcoming denial is the first step of recovering from a broken friendship. Allow yourself to feel the messy emotions. Cry, rant, sleep in all day. It’s okay to be all over the place when you’re grieving the end of a friendship.
The problem with losing a friend is that we seldom see it coming. There are warning signs when a girlfriend or boyfriend is about to break up with you, but we never picture a scenario where our best friend isn’t there by our side anymore. Conceiving a life without them seems like a laughable idea…until it actually happens. Remember how miserable Emma and Olivia were in Bride Wars? Their friendship breakup hit them HARD.
If you’re going to play the “Oh-I’m-fine-it’s-all-good” game, then you’re prolonging your misery. Empty that box of tissues while you weep, stuff your face with ice-cream, have random outbursts facing the mirror – it’s okay to not be okay.
2. Some serotonin please!
The right time to practice self-care is not 3 a.m. on a Wednesday. Self-care ought to be practiced when you’re getting over a breakup. And I don’t mean using a sheet mask or eating comfort foods. Self-care consists of getting your life back on track. It means adopting practices that are good for your physical, mental and spiritual health.
Start going for a walk and eat healthy food. Brownies are okay when you’re grieving, but you gotta get your life back in order at some point, right? Focus on work and take up a new hobby. Leave your house to bask in the sun and get some fresh air. Activities that generate serotonin will be highly beneficial for you.
You should consider meditation as well to regain equilibrium and strike a balance between your yin and yang. This is a tried and tested practice by yours truly. I promise you’ll feel so much better when you regain a semblance of normalcy. It’s important to remind yourself that the friend was a part of your life – yes, an important one – but not your whole life. It’s like they say on Broadway – the show must go on!
3. Social distancing (and not just for the pandemic)
Forcing closure is a mistake most people make. Constantly texting or calling your friend and asking them to meet you so you can ‘sort things out’ is a no-no. You both clearly need some space away from each other, or you wouldn’t be asking how to get over a friendship breakup. Set emotional boundaries and follow them.
If they have unfollowed you on social media, let it be that way. Each individual takes decisions that ensure his own wellbeing. If your friend thinks that a little distance is the way to go, be respectful of their boundaries. On the other hand, if they are the one pestering you, don’t hesitate to block them for a while.
A very important part of growing up is realizing that closure is not always possible. People don’t always end things on an amicable note. You can try and seek a sense of peace by yourself, but forcing someone else to do so is a really poor choice.
4. Don’t be a one-person army
While independence and self-sufficiency are commendable, there’s a time and place for them – when you’re suffering emotionally is so not that time and neither is your cave of isolation the place. Please reach out to someone and pour your heart out. This person can be your parent, a friend, or a mental health professional.
Losing your best friend and getting over the breakup can generate a lot of mixed emotions. While processing them is a task only you can complete, others can always make you a cup of tea for comfort. And I’ve found that relaying your experience can sometimes give you the clarity you need. At Bonobology, we offer professional help through out panel of licensed counselors and therapists. Their guidance can help you navigate this tumultuous patch in your life. You can truly count on us.
Being in control is a very good quality to possess, but you can ‘Let it go’ like Elsa when it comes to those you trust. I’ve had a friend fling her salt-shaker at a mirror after her friendship breakup, and boy did she feel better after that. My point being, find an outlet and express your emotions!
5. Managing the mutuals
Ughhh, here’s an awkward space that’s tricky to maneuver. Sharing mutuals with an estranged friend is uncomfortable for all parties involved. But you should never make these mutuals pick a side; it’s not the seventh grade, we’re all adults here.
Never badmouth your ex-friend to the mutuals, and always maintain cordiality. Feel free to present your side of the story (if asked), but refrain from unnecessary comments or taunts. Tell your mutual friends that everyone has an individual equation; that you and your ex-friend have parted ways is a singular event that need not involve anyone else.
Showcase maturity in dealing with mutual friends – you don’t want to lose them in the process of making them pick teams. If you really want to know how to get over a friendship breakup, then don’t let your emotions get the better of you. As somebody who has fallen into the trap of ‘getting people on her team’, I’m a reliable authority on the subject. Always be reasonable. Always.
6. (Don’t be a) Bitch, please!
Drama queens and kings are annoying in movies, and they’re no more tolerable in reality. Nothing good will come out of dramatizing the breakup. Spreading rumors, telling lies, provoking them needlessly, and spilling secrets shared in confidence are all toxic and petty behaviors.
Don’t be that person. No one likes that person. Take the high road and preserve your integrity at all costs. Going around talking about the broken friendship will make you look undignified. Even if your ex-friend is being immature, don’t stoop to their level.
Another gentle reminder to not use social media as a battleground when you’re getting through a breakup. As friends, you’re privy to a lot of each other’s intimate details, and the temptation to use them as ammunition is pretty big. I know that losing a best friend is awful, but posting passive-aggressive content is straight up mean and cringey.
Related Reading: Unfriending On Social Media: 6 Tips On How To Do It Politely
7. Rewind, revisit, recalibrate
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” In simpler terms – it takes two to tango. After some time has passed and you’re in a more balanced state of mind, think back to the events which led to your broken friendship. Be honest with yourself in this revisitation.
You can’t ask how to get over a best friend breakup without considering your part in it. You too must have made mistakes. Where did you go wrong? Once you have examined your own behavior, you can keep your shortcomings in mind.
Even if you want to eventually reconcile with the friend, you’ll need an objective view of the situation. Without knowing our own flaws, we tend to play the blame-game. Socrates very wisely said, “Know thyself.”
8. The glass is half full
An optimistic outlook will help you sail through the hardest of times. And this does not mean just hoping for better things, but also looking back at the fond memories of the relationship that has ended. The friend was a very important part of your life and you can’t erase their existence from your memory. Practice positive activities after a breakup.
Aspire to reach to a stage where you can think of the good times with fond nostalgia rather than regret or hostility. You can appreciate the good old days and still have complaints against your ex-friend. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Holding on to grudges will only corrode you from within. If Susan Bunch and Ross Geller can be civil to each other, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make peace with the past. The answer to how to get over a friendship breakup is quite easy – don’t let one experience define your outlook on all relationships.
9. Exercising gratitude
See? Exercise in all forms is lovely. Losing a friend should make you value the ones you have even more. Be thankful for their presence, and all they do for you. Cherish them and try to become a better friend. A fine trick to overcome losses, is to remind yourself of the assets you have.
Keep a gratitude journal, or pray for your friends if you’re religious. Count your blessings, and don’t take anyone for granted. Friendship is a choice we make every single day – it is easy to walk away from a friend because there are no obligations. But still, we make that choice and stay.
Strive for a friendship like the one between Pooh and Piglet. Shower your friends with love and reciprocate their efforts. May your life be filled with the laughter and love of friendship!
Related Reading: Platonic Relationships – Rare Or Real Love?
10. Become a tree
Branch out. No, I’m not sorry for the pun. When you have processed your emotions in their entirety, you should get out there and be open to building new friendships. Don’t approach random strangers with crazy proposals, but just be approachable when someone speaks to you.
Visit places where people network (like open mics, or a new class, perhaps?) and strike up a conversation. See where it goes organically. Just keep in mind that you are not trying to replace your ex-friend. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t substitute people for each other.
In other words, don’t be a homebody! Get out there and explore new places. You might just come across someone who is the right fit for a dream friendship!
There’s little else left to say about losing a best friend. Go through these steps with sincerity and never lose hope. A broken friendship can seem like the end of the world, but I promise you it isn’t. I leave you with this beautiful poem by Langston Hughes.
“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began –
I loved my friend.”
A friendship breakup can seem overwhelming at first, but tackling it may be broken down to three steps. Firstly, process your emotions in a healthy manner. This includes finding outlets to vent. Secondly, get your life back in order by overcoming grief and settling into the routine. And thirdly, introspect the decisions you made during the friendship, and see if you went wrong. This will ultimately lead to letting go of animosity or anger.
There are various indicators, but the top ones can be one-sided effort and emotional unavailability. If only one of you is trying to keep things going by making plans or communicating, then this is a red flag. A relationship can’t sustain itself on one-sided efforts. Furthermore, a lack of interest or empathy in each other’s problems or life can be a cause for concern.
There is no fixed time-frame for healing after a broken friendship. Each individual recovers at his own pace. However, long periods (over 21 days) of depressive behavior should be an indicator to seek professional help. Depressive behavior consists of loss of appetite, binge-eating episodes, loss of sleep, oversleeping, constant weeping, feeling empty, unresponsiveness to others and suicidal ideation.