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How to Heal After Ending a Friendship

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Losing a friend is painful regardless of whose choice it was. You may find yourself ruminating over the ending, trying to make sense over what went wrong or looking for things you could have done differently. While it may seem like cold comfort now, Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., author of "Best Friends Forever," acknowledges that while everlasting friendships are rare, many women feel a sense of failure when a friendship ends and they often struggle with feelings of guilt and embarrassment.

Accept the loss of your friendship and acknowledge it as such. Pushing your feelings aside rather than facing them or immediately trying to replace your friends can backfire on you. Therese J. Borchard, author of "The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit," says in her article, "8 Steps to Closure When a Friendship Ends," that like the termination of a marriage, the ending of a friendship needs to be processed in a similar way.

Give yourself time to grieve. This is a process. While you don't want to ruminate and cause yourself additional, and unnecessary, sorrow, facing all of your emotions regarding the ending of your friendship can help you gain clarity and insight to your thoughts and feelings regarding your loss.

Write a letter to your former friend and allow yourself to vent any thought or feeling that arises. Tell her all of your disappointments and sorrows right down to the anger you feel at the friendship ending. When you are through read it aloud. Take a few deep breaths and sit with your feelings. Tell yourself it's okay to have all of these feelings but the friendship is over and it's time to move on. When you feel calm, shred or burn the letter. This symbolizes the letting go of the friendship that is no longer.

Make new friends keeping in mind what you learned from your former friend. This will help you not to repeat the same mistakes or to befriend someone with the same traits that caused you grief in the past. Be open to people you meet. Engage in activities you enjoy with like-minded people.

Decide what you will do if you run into your old friend or she calls you to talk. Depending on how the relationship ended, you may want to talk or even get together. If this friendship was toxic to you, resist the urge to rekindle it out of guilt, fear or loneliness. Remember how she made you feel. Toxic friendships bring you down.

References

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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