One minute, you’re best friends, the next, you’re cut out completely. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, friendships don’t always last. There are a number of reasons why friends grow apart—time, distance, new friends, change of values—but when you break up with a close friend, it always hurts.
In a lot of ways, getting through a friendship breakup is similar to getting through a romantic breakup. There are certain dos and don’ts you should follow that will help you through it. Here’s how to proceed:
1. Allow yourself to mourn the breakup…
Friendship breakups hurt, plain and simple. It’s okay to wallow and sit with the pain of it. If you need to take a few days to cry on the couch, do it. If you need distance from your friend group for a while, take it. Whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better—do it.
2. …but don’t be too hard on yourself.
Feeling sad, angry, or abandoned after a friendship breakup is completely normal. Although it’s easier said than done, try not to beat yourself up about it. Sometimes, things just end. Even if you played a part in the breakup, you’re only human. Try to forgive yourself.
3. Take the high road.
After a friendship breakup, it can feel good to out the other person, but don’t. Don’t trash talk them to others, don’t detail what happened on social media, don’t send snarky texts. If you need to let it out, go see a therapist, talk to a friend (preferably one who doesn’t hang out with your ex-friend), or write about it in a journal. Be an adult about it. You’ll feel better about it in the long-term.
4. Don’t make your friends pick sides.
Chances are, even though you broke up, you still have friends in common. I’m not going to lie: It’s going to be uncomfortable for a while. But as long as you don’t make them choose sides, the awkwardness will eventually fade, and you’ll get to a new normal.
5. Avoid Facebook stalking.
It will be tempting to look up your ex-friend on social media to see how they’re doing, who they’re hanging out with now, or whether your mutual friends excluded you from something. This won’t make you feel good, I promise. Consider unfollowing or unfriending them if the temptation gets to be too much. If that feels too drastic, you can always change your news feed settings so you see less of them.
6. Reflect on your contributions to the break.
So, you broke up. Now, figure out why. Friendship breakups aren’t always black and white. Once you’ve mourned the split, it’s important to take some time to reflect on your contributions. Moving forward, how can you be a better friend?
7. Take your time.
Unfortunately, there’s no magical amount of time that will automatically heal everything, and the pain won’t suddenly disappear, either. But with time, it’ll get easier, so take as much as you need. It might not feel like it now, but one day, you’ll see a picture on Facebook or hear a story about their vacation abroad, and it won’t sting.
Ending a friendship is never fun. Sometimes, it hurts more than a romantic breakup. These tips won’t cure you, but they’ll help.