One of the hardest things to undergo in life is the aftermath of a friendship that either you or your friend decided to end. It’s not easy not going to that person anymore to gossip or share a good laugh, and it’s definitely not easy-going about your days not spending time with them.
I’ve dealt with a lot of friendship breakups, especially ones that were closest to me. At first, you feel like that person took a part of you away with them, but just like everything else in life, you learn to live without it after a while.
But with friendship breakups comes a lot of thinking and re-evaluating one self, especially if things ended abruptly. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re to blame, and other times you begin to resent your once-called “friend”. Either way, both sides of the lawn are not green in a situation like this.
So, how do you deal with post-friendship breakup emotions?
- For starters, don’t convince yourself by saying that what happened “does not matter”. You know when you break up with your partner in a relationship and proceed to act like it wasn’t a big deal, but really you’re hurt or angry or whatever you could be feeling? The same feelings come through when ending a friendship as well. Convincing yourself that the end of this particular friendship isn’t a big deal is doing you and your friend no justice. Why put effort and real love for a person in a friendship if it “never really mattered”? You’re human and you’re allowed to express emotions. If you’re feeling hurt, feel it. If you’re feeling confused, feel it. Without doing so, you’re just bottling up unexpressed emotions, which is never a good thing to do.
- Think back and ask yourself if the friendship is worth fighting for. Sometimes (especially girls and women) we tend to argue and fight and end friendships over irrelevant and immature situations. If you’re mad at your friend because they didn’t invite you out to the bar over the weekend or mad because your friend is friends with a person you dislike, then you need to really think if what you guys are arguing about really that life-changing. At the end of the day, these situations can be easily talked over and compromised. If you guys can agree to disagree for the sake of your friendship, then cool.
- Don’t play the victim card. The absolute worst thing to do when there’s friendship mayhem between you and a friend is to make yourself the victim. Playing the victim card is something that teenagers do and when you do it in your 20’s, more drama will come out of this friendship breakup. If your friend tells you that they feel like you haven’t supported them in a while, don’t respond with “I’m always supporting you and I’m now upset because you think I don’t support you when really I do like how can you say something like that…” Blah blah blah. I always say this to people who ask me for friendship advice: if you feel a type of way when someone confronts you with something, then you are to blame. People who own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions have a higher chance of fixing things with their friend. If you’re going to take everything they are telling you and throw it back at them, then your turnout for this friendship is going to end up being really messy.
- If it’s a toxic friendship, end it/be glad that it ended. I’ve had my moments with toxic friendships; I think we all have. The last toxic friendship I had ended long before it officially ended, and I promise that many of you may feel like that with a friend right now. If deep down you believe that there are more cons in the friendship than pro, chances are that person isn’t really your friend in the first place. Toxic friendships can be just as damaging as a toxic relationship. Toxic friendships cause you to act out of character just to fit your friend’s perspective of you. They cause you to act differently to your other friends by singling them out of your life one-by-one. They cause you to feel different things that you are not used to, hence changing your traits and personality. If you can admit to yourself that your friendship with a person is toxic, end it immediately before things are too late.
- Know your guidelines of friendship from that day forward. Because I used to keep around a lot of toxic friendships, I’ve learned to set a certain guideline for myself to see if a person is just an acquaintance or an actual friend. One of my guidelines of friendship is that no matter long or short you’ve know me, I demand support and respect from you and I’ll give you the same. People will manipulate you and say that they support you and respect you, but nothing speakers louder than a person’s actions. If their actions don’t match up to what they’re saying, then they aren’t really there for you. These guidelines will help you weed out who is truly on your level, versus those who don’t stand tall enough to be on your level.
- Know your worth. A person who has a friend that constantly comes back after endless arguments or who doesn’t think for themselves will take advantage of their friend. That person will view you as simply being the friend “who always comes back”. I always say that the first time you go back is perfectly fine, the second time is okay, the third time is questionable, and the fourth time or beyond is too many chances. I say this being a person who was taken back more than four times, and it all depends on the person who is taking you back. Some people may drop you the first time shit gets rocky, and others will take you back the 10th time before they end the friendship. My preference, definitely three strikes and you’re out. If you keep forgiving the people who are constantly hurting your friendship, that person isn’t gonna think that much of you. And that’s when toxic friendships develop.
- Lastly, be open-minded about new friendships. After ending almost all my high-school friendships during college, I had a problem making actual friends most of my college career. Despite not having a normal college dorm life, I never trusted anyone enough to actually reach out and have an actual functioning friendship with them. Most of my college years was just me doing my thing in order to graduate on time, and I guess once I started to be more open-minded about people, I began to make some friends in college, preferably in my Acting classes during my senior year of college. Some of those friendships aren’t as strong as they once were, but I still got the chance to call them my friends, those who have supported me and respected me as a person since we all met. Because of me being open-minded about new potential friendships, I connected with a person who I never thought in a million years I’d be friends with, Tori! Sometimes, you need to just let old things go to let new ones come in. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but if you know who you are as person, have guidelines for what a friend is to you, and if you trust yourself enough to start new friendships with new people, then allow yourself to do so! Take the risk knowing that life goes on, you grow out of old friends, and make new ones who fit the person you currently are!
Overcoming something like this doesn’t happen overnight. It could take you a couple of weeks, or it can take you a couple of years like it did for me. Your friends are an extension of who you are, so be friends with people who are just as awesome and supportive like you!