Oprah and Gayle, Rachel and Monica, plus the entire cast of Sex and The City. There has always been an emphasis on the value and complexity of having best friendships in mainstream media. Platonic love is an important component of our lives and finding good friends can be utterly priceless. However, there is plenty of information around navigating romantic relationships but not as much about mending and healing from a best friendship breakup. So how do you recover from losing a BFF? As this Oprah Magazine article shared, “Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a romantic or platonic relationship. A breakup is a breakup. There was intimacy and trust, and then there wasn’t.”
The advent of social media means we’re more likely to share parts of our lives, including friendships. Social media and the internet has made it easier to meet new people. You can find like-minded friends around the world and begin friendships that you’ll never meet in real life.
But as fast as you can strike up a friendship, it can end as abruptly. The fact is, people change and grow apart.
I’ve met friends in different phases of my life, have made memories, and now? We barely speak and haven’t seen each other in years. Chat to anyone you know, chances are they have a story about a friendship or two that broke down and left damage even worse than a romantic breakup. After all, we don’t expect our platonic friendships to end.
You can go from sharing intimate parts of your life with someone to not even talking or having anything in common, years later. But how do you move forward?
Introspect and acknowledge your part in the break-up
Yes, just like a romantic break-up, there is a very likely chance that you’ve contributed to the issue. It takes two to start a friendship and sometimes, two to break one down. It’s hard to examine your actions, but it’s necessary so you a) don’t make these mistakes again and b) can understand what prompted this behavior. I’ve had more than a few friendships fizzle out, and most of them were just my own fault. I had a tendency to not communicate how I felt and shut people out. All it would have taken was clear communication and most of these issues could have been solved. But when you’re not used to having people say sorry to you, you barely can do that to others. We do better when we are better.
Talk to other people about the situation
An outside perspective can help you heal, gain some insight into why things fell apart, and how you can prevent this in the future. But as hurt as you feel, this isn’t the time to share intimate and private details about former friends with others. At some point, you were close and the things shared in confidence were meant to remain that way.
Don’t insist on sides being picked and making things awkward during a hard time. Unless there was a serious breach of trust, i.e they owe you money or have done something illegal that could impact your life – there is no reason to start turning on someone you cared about deeply. The other fact is that once you start talking badly about a former friend to other friends, they’re getting a front-row seat to how you treat people you no longer like.
Sit with your feelings
It’s okay to be devastated about a friendship breakup. As Oprah Winfrey said, “One of the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.” Sometimes, a friendship isn’t meant to last forever and people enter our lives at different times.
You’re allowed to mourn the reality of not having a close friend in your life anymore. Don’t rush the process and do what you need to for self-care. This might mean having a conversation, offering up an apology, and seeing if anything can be mended. It might mean you need to mutually unfollow and unfriend – be ready for that. Acknowledging how you actually feel is how you can heal, moving forward.
Pour time into and celebrate your current friendships
One of the major steps in healing from a friendship breakup is appreciating the other friendships you still have in your life. This is the perfect time to celebrate the people you have in your life, who grow with you and offer support no matter where they are. Going through a traumatic time can offer perspective and clarity around the other components in your life. Start pouring time and love into friendships that uplift you and are here for the long haul.
Have you been through a friendship breakup? Let us know below – we love hearing from you!