Not all friendships can withstand time. Friendships may end on mutual terms, or they may end abruptly. You may have a falling out and never speak again, or you may slowly pull away until your once close friend is nothing more than an acquaintance. Jan Yager, a relationship expert and author of "When Friendship Hurts," states that most people have a romanticized view that friendships should not fail. This creates distress for those who are in a friendship that really is no longer healthy for their well-being. Regardless of how it broke up, even if there was no formal goodbye, the ending of a friendship needs to be mourned so you can have peace and closure within.
Look through old pictures, or visit the places you hung out together. Ending a friendship is a loss. Just as you would grieve the loss of a spouse after divorce or a loved one who died, you must allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come up for you, including sadness, despair, rejection or anger. If you feel the need to cry, let the tears flow. Mourn the loss of your friendship.
Write a letter to your friend expressing both positive and negative feelings. Tell her how much you miss her, tell her you went to your favorite restaurant and ate alone, and tell her you really felt betrayed when she suddenly stopped answering your phone calls. Write for as long as you feel the need to. After you have processed your feelings, shred the letter or burn it in a fire.
Have a backup plan should you run into your friend or she contacts you to get together. If she wants to rekindle the friendship, remember how it ended. Ask yourself if the relationship empowered you or drained you due to toxicity. If you have little to no desire to start anew, kindly say you have moved on and continue on your way.
Use the lessons you learned regarding the breakup of your friendship to enhance your existing or new friendships. Decide what it is you desire from friendships, what the deal breakers are and what you can do differently. If you feel at fault, rather than beat yourself up over it, embrace what you feel and take steps to keep your friendships thriving.
- Avoid getting stuck in your feelings.
- Allow yourself grieving time, but avoid ruminating, especially if you don't know why the friendship ended.
- Psych Central: 8 Steps to Closure When a Friendship Ends
- When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon or Wound You: Jan Yager
- Oprah: Is It Time to End That Friendship?
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images