We have all had our moment. The sad scene where the protagonist cries with her tub of ice cream, large glass of wine and yells at the romantic comedy. It’s iconic, and as the main character of our own stories, I’m sure we have all thought about it.
The post-breakup carb and sugar session, the days locked at home, and the ‘my life is over’ moment.
Because deep down, we are all just a little bit dramatic.
But what the Rom-com fails to mention is that breakups with friends can be just as dramatic and hurtful.
The friend that is supposed to be there at our lowest and help us get back on our feet again. So, what do you do when they aren’t there?
Top tips on how to deal with your friendship breakdown/breakup
Whether this friend was a lifelong companion or a recent friend, it can be a harsh blow when that relationship ends. Forgetting whose fault it was, you suddenly have to learn to live without that person, which is incredibly hard if they were a large part of your life.
It can make you sad. It can make you incredibly angry. It can be a very hard point in your life, and you grieve the loss of your friend.
And when I say I know, I know.
I did everything with my best friend, including living with her, and one day she was gone. No communication, no argument, no reason, just cut all ties. It was devastating, and it felt like I would never get out from that feeling of being abandoned.
But the one fundamental point to a friendship breakup is allowing yourself to grieve.
It’s easy to try and shake it off, deeming it as unimportant and ‘silly’ to cry about. But not acknowledging those feelings can cause them to fester.
As Woman’s Health reported, ‘Friendship breakups can be particularly challenging because a close friend is someone who you rely on for emotional support, continuity, socialisation, and processing, says Akua Boateng, PhD, a Philadelphia-based psychologist.’
This explains why we react so strongly to losing those friends, as we lose our support. Boateng even goes as far to state that our friends can often become our family as we form strong bonds through our shared vulnerability.
So don’t feel foolish for grieving the loss of such an important connection in your life. Take the time to grieve and remember that the process is not linear – it comes in waves, and the loss never fully disappears.
Some things cannot be fixed. Despite the amount of love that we have for our friends, a relationship that takes too much to maintain is usually a connection that needs to be cut. If keeping a friendship alive is causing you too much stress and anxiety, then it may be time to let them go.
“If someone’s presence in your life does you emotional, physical, or mental harm, or it is hindering your own growth, then it’s time to terminate the friendship.” – Akua Boateng
As much as it may hurt to let that person go, it causes more harm to try and fix something that is beyond repair.
“But how do you like, breakup with a friend?”
It’s a hard and awkward situation to breakup with anyone, but especially a friend. Luckily The Content Wolf already has this covered in their article How do you Break Up with Friends?
The key to this is honesty, communication, respect and remembering to be kind – breakups don’t have to be messy. Just remember that whether you are initiating the break or on the receiving end, that placing ‘blame’ is never healthy.
It’s incredibly easy to blame ourselves when something fails. And although it is great to self-reflect and take responsibility for our actions, breakups are rarely one-sided. And so, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t blame yourself.
Getting hung up on ‘who said what’ or the ‘what ifs’ isn’t productive and can make the grieving process that much harder. It’s easier said than done, but you need to put the question of ‘why’ behind you and move on.
Most of the time, friendships break down due to you being in different places. It isn’t anyone’s fault; you just aren’t the same people you were when you met and became friends. And this is ok because we are constantly adapting and changing.
What matters. is that this chapter of your life is over, and now you need to look after yourself, ready for the next.
Don’t be Afraid
After we have been hurt by a bad breakup, it’s very easy to shy away from relationships. It’s our mind’s way of protecting itself from further pain. But you can’t avoid friends – we need them.
In fact, breaking up with a friend can leave you feeling isolated and disconnected – especially if you did so much with them. And the best way to tackle that feeling is to surround yourself with a support network – friends that care and love you.
“It helps to surround yourself with friends you feel strongly connected to, as that time together will reinforce that you are valued and supported and can help soothe the loss of the former friendship.” – Counsellor Mary Beth Somich
So don’t shut yourself away, and don’t run away from making new friends. It didn’t work out this time, but that doesn’t mean that every friendship ends this way.
Take your time to grieve and reflect.
Remember that this is not your fault, and that you haven’t failed.
You need to let go, process and heal from the breakup.
Then, when you are ready, go out and make new friendships.
Article by Abigail Rolfe.