Friendship Breakups: How to Heal and Move on - The Ladies Coach

Friendship Breakups: How to Heal and Move on

by Nakia Austin

Friendship breakups can often times be even more painful than one with a significant other. Friendships play a vital role throughout our lives. In childhood, friends function as playmates with common hobbies or interests. During adolescence, friendships tend to deepen as we connect with people whom we feel comfortable telling our thoughts and secrets. When we become adults, friendships become even more sacred.

A friendship is a mutual relationship of trust, affection, and support between two people becomes increasingly important for our health and happiness. While some friendships come and go leaving behind no ill feelings, others are harder to move forward from.

So how do we heal and move on after friendship breakups?:

Validate Your Feelings

Naturally, the end of a friendship provokes a whirlwind of emotions like confusion, anger, and sadness. Before you can move on after a friendship ends, you need time to process the situation. Like romantic breakups, friendship breakups can be messy. You might be wondering where everything went wrong and what you could have done to change things. Sorting out your emotions is the first step to healing. Also, remember that it’s okay to grieve the loss of a friendship. While it might seem silly to mourn the loss of a friend, grieving is often an effective way to move past a difficult breakup.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

It’s easy to blame others for a failed friendship. Maybe you feel that your ex-friend didn’t communicate well enough or was not fully honest with you. No matter how things went down, avoid playing the blame game. Look at the situation from an objective third party and see how each side may have played a part in the friendship’s demise. Maintaining anger, blame, or resentment can make you feel trapped in a failed relationship and prevent you from moving on.

Take Time for Yourself

After a friendship ends, some people set out to find a new friend right away. While building new friendships is healthy for your well-being, don’t be in a hurry to make new friends. Instead, spend a little “me” time getting to know yourself and what you really want in a friend. You may also want to focus on your personal needs before focusing on someone else’s. Maybe you’ve put your goals on the backburner, such as losing 20 lbs. or working towards being debt free. Take this time to plan and work towards your goals so that you can later enter a new friendship feeling happy and confident.

Write a Goodbye Letter

Sometimes writing down your feelings is easier than saying them out loud. Sit down in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Write a goodbye letter to your friend, saying all the things you didn’t get to say in person.

Express how you feel about the friendship ending and the problems along the way that led to the ultimate breakup. Don’t worry – you can be completely honest, as your friend will never read the letter. Once you have let it all out on paper, shred or burn the letter. Disposing of the letter should symbolize letting go of the friendship for good.

Don’t Wait for an Apology

If your friendship ended because the person treated you bad, was dishonest, or betrayed you in some way, you may feel that you are owed an apology. While this may be true, don’t wait around for an “I’m sorry,” as it likely won’t come. Waiting for an admission of fault only delays the end of the friendship, leaving you to stew in your bitterness in the meantime. If the apology never comes, you’ll likely be more hurt than you were before. Be the bigger person and move on from the situation – apology or no apology.

Find Support Elsewhere

The end of a friendship can leave you feeling down or even depressed. Don’t go through it alone. Find support and understanding from other sources. Reach out to family members or other friends who will help remind you what being a true friend is all about. If you don’t have anyone close to you to turn to, seek help from a life coach or therapist. These trained professionals have experience dealing with friendship breakups and can usually help you to heal and move on.

Cut All Communication

Keeping someone in your life that clearly does not want to be there only prolongs the hurt. After a friendship has ended, do your best to cut that person from your life. While there’s no need to be rude or disrespectful if you cross paths, you do not need to go out of your way to say hello or chit-chat. Remember that keeping a line of communication open will likely only lead to more pain, especially if you or your friend decides to lash out. Delete the person from your phone and social media accounts, essentially eliminating them from your life.

Know That You’re Better Off

While losing a good friend hurts, consider the possibility that you’re better off. While some friendships end due to distance or lack of common interests as you grow older, others may end due to dishonesty or negativity. If it’s the latter, you’re usually better off without that person in your life. Consider how the relationship has impacted your life thus far and how separating yourself from the negativity will benefit you in the long run. Not everyone gets along with certain personalities and that’s okay. It’s important to face that it’s not going to work out and move on.

Reflect on What You’ve Learned

Instead of looking at the lost friendship as a negative thing in your life, consider it a learning experience. Reflect on what you have learned from the friendship ending and what you can do differently in the future to avoid similar problems. Use the situation to grow and become a better person and friend.

Friendship breakups can be confusing and painful. Fortunately, there are ways to move on from a failed friendship without carrying the hurt and pain with you. If needed, take some time to grieve the end of the relationship, but also celebrate new beginnings.

Coping with the loss of a good friend can be a challenge, but the experience will ultimately make you stronger.

Nakia Austin

about the author

Nakia Austin

Nakia Austin is a Licensed Counselor and Certified Life Coach. Nakia helps Trauma Survivors build their path to healing and recovery so that their past won't interfere with their future. She wants to help you move from hurting to WHOLE! Schedule your free Discovery Call today and let's journey together.

Samantha SAYS:

This is awsome Nakia! I love the idea of writing a letter and burning it! I have cut a few toxic friendships out my life after realising my self worth & some have automatically cut me out… so dealing with these emotions & loneliness is hard but im glad there are steps to take to heal and moooove on! Great article! ????

    Christal Fuentes SAYS:

    I loved that advice too! Its definitely a practice I do! XO

Barb SAYS:

This was a very empowering description of ways to move forward from thus type of situation; which is now in. It has really helped me have a better idea of how to manage it. Thank you 🙏

    Christal Fuentes SAYS:

    So happy this can help! Thank you for reading. xx

Patrick SAYS:

thanks for the advice. I am a guy and recently went thru a break up….i had written many emails and send it to a bogus email that i sent that goes unread. I had written many letters of such in the past. Thanks for the suggestion, but as for me, i rather keep the communication line open instead of cutting that person off from my life…i am being the bigger person because i think i can afford to. However, essentially its better to remove that person away from your life for good if the memory gives you pain and not consolation.

    Christal Fuentes SAYS:

    Hi Patrick, completely agree! It depends on the relationship. There are friends might just need space to grow (so hold space) and others that are toxic (which should be removed from your life). Only you know what is best for you but if they cause pain, there is no need to hold space. xx

Cynthia SAYS:

that was a very helpful article at a painful time – we were friends for 35 years

thank you

June O’Neill SAYS:

These are wonderful suggestions. It’s both interesting & super helpful to hear others going through this difficult & complicated situation.
I am at the stage of grieving that wants me to think & rethink the events that lead up to the fallout of the friendship . In my case there are 3 different relationships with 3 different women . 2 of them have moved closer together & I feel deeply alienated by their friendship . We share a common self help meeting & it has made it difficult for me , not them it doesn’t appear , to move on . I may have to quit hoping for it is very painful . Regarding your advise about learning from the experience , It has brought to this surface some areas that I need to heal . I have deep abandonment issues I thought I had wired through but they have rested their head again. Your suggestion about not running out to find new friends is funny because that is exactly what I’ve longed to do . I’m rethinking that now.
I need therapist ! But I need to be careful not to play the blame game.Iwant to blame &beat up on myself . 🙁

Alex SAYS:

I am a very sensitive boy and I just lost my best friend thx for helping me move on

Rufus Nell SAYS:

Confusing and painful definitely describes it well.  Five years and still hurts but reading this helped me so much. Someone I thought was a friend cut me out of their life unexpectedly. I was hurt I never received an apology or explanation,  but now see it shouldn’t stop me from moving on. Will write that letter and learn from an upsetting experience.

Menchie SAYS:

I call it a deep friendship once I had. Its been for 10 years. I was attached to her recognizing as one of my spiritual sister. But there were times that I did not notice that she is already controlling me. Her judgement to me was like condemnation if I don’t agree on it. Until the day I am about to marry where she strongly opposed and condemned me and my fiancee. Some warned me that she is a lesbian. I did not believe because I do not want to judge. I am married to the same man now for five years and she reminded back again the condemnation I felt from her five years ago. I had forgiven her then. But when she reminded it back, it seems that all the hurts, angry fear and condemnation had return the same as before. I asked her on her purpose on doing it again. Can I have your advise? Please…

Gopi patel SAYS:

These days, there is no value of a piece of content that is not interesting to read, that is not unique and that is not rich in information. I suppose, this piece of content has it all. It is well-written; it is interesting and definitely unique. The information that is given is more than enough for people to inform themselves on the respective topic. One more mention, I loved the headline too!

Penny Higgins SAYS:

Thank you for putting this out there. I agree with your opinion and I hope more people would come to agree with this as well.

Penny Higgins SAYS:

Was looking for some takes regarding this topic and I found your article quite informative. It has given me a fresh perspective on the topic tackled. Thanks!

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