My Advice on Friendship Breakups
The kind of break up that hits just a little different. The kind of break up that comes out of nowhere and leaves you feeling a little lost and confused. The kind of break up that can hurt for a really, really long time. A friend breakup.
Sometimes we lose friends for big reasons (i.e. watching people you thought would be your bridesmaids hurt you in ways you could never have imagined --- ouch), this usually happens pretty quickly and out of nowhere and leaves you breathless and confused.
Sometimes we may lose them for small reasons, slowly and overtime.
Realistically, the “big reasons” usually are a long-time coming. Most likely, the big reason is just the tipping point that makes the list of small reasons overflow into a goodbye for good.
Sometimes, you actively have to make the decision to leave a friendship in your past- it’s a hard decision, but just like any other relationship in your life, you have to do what is best for your health and your growth.
Sometimes, you may not realize the list of reasons to leave someone behind until months, maybe years, have passed.
Maybe one day you wake up out of nowhere and think, “wait a sec…… maybe making jokes to someone about their trauma is inexcusable… hmm yeah maybe I didn’t deserve that??”
No, that is wack & should not be accepted.
At first you may not even see it as a big deal! Maybe it hurts but you don’t want to “overreact”. Standing up for yourself and expecting to be loved the way you love is never overreacting.
Then there are times where life makes the decision for you. When both parties are moving onto different phases of their lives, separation and out-of-touch-ness is normal and it’s okay.
Although, I believe that this specific article should be about breakups, specifically, the hard-to-navigate and hard-to-heal-from kinds of breakups.
Listen, I get it! It’s tough to cut people off, especially when you have so many memories with them, but some things you just shouldn’t have to forgive.
Say you’re going through a really hard breakup… and your friends start hanging out with and non-stop posting your ex?? Well, that’s freakish behavior that you shouldn’t have to tolerate.
I, unfortunately, had to pull from just a few of my own experiences for these examples (don’t come for me, I know how crazy they all sound) but I’m better for it and I have an even deeper appreciation for my current friendships because of it.
I know the feeling of losing close friends and I hope to be a bit of a guide and inspiration to those who are going through a tough friendship breakup.
First off, I’m sorry.
I know how hard it is and I know how much it hurts. I am here to tell you that your life is on the perfect path to greatness and you are shedding the people and the things that hold you back.
I am going to categorize the rest of this article by feelings…
What you might be feeling and how to move forward:
Anger/resentment: Anger: a natural reaction to hurt. I often feel my temper rising when I think of some of the ways I have been mistreated by others, and then I think about it a little longer- I realize that I cannot let my anger take over. I know that my feelings are valid and need to be felt, but I do what I can to channel it into something else. I have to channel it into my growth, my learning experiences and my knowledge of how NOT to treat others. It gives me a better understanding of who I am and what I look for in others.
Your time with these ex-friends was not a waste of time. It was a learning experience that has potentially catapulted you into a giant period of growth. For that, I say we thank them. “Thank you for showing me what I will not tolerate and what is not acceptable in my life. Thank you for showing me what I do not have room for. Thank you for pushing me a little closer to my greater good.”
To redirect the feelings of anger that come up: remind yourself that this is for the greater good, take a shower and wash off these feelings of anger (imagine them literally rinsing off of your body with the water), make a delicious snack, do something that will channel your thoughts into something creative or productive.
Sadness/Nostalgia: This one gets me a lot. I feel weak for missing them and for reminiscing on the fond memories that I have (middle finger to the snapchat feature that lets me relive them for a moment each day). Sometimes I feel myself giggling with a small sense of joy rushing over me as I reminisce, it immediately makes me think “fuck, I miss this”. The truth is, I don’t miss it. I miss the feeling and I miss being able to take little walk down memory lane with the people who were there with me, but I don’t miss it. This is because I know that my journey forward is so much brighter than the glance backwards.
It’s not necessarily easy but let yourself feel this. Feel it and then pick yourself up and realize that a loss as devastating as this will come back to you tenfold. Your energy is priceless and cannot be spent on people who have proven to be unworthy of it.
Call up a friend who is good to you and makes you laugh, watch a funny movie, take a cute pic, do what you have to do to feel ‘you’ and whole again.
Lost/Lonely: The feeling that almost makes you want to go crawling back to the people who’ve hurt you. You’re not wrong for feeling this way, but you need to remind yourself of what you’ve actually lost. You didn’t lose a friend. You lost someone who was posing as a friend, someone you’ve outgrown, or someone who had overstayed their welcome in your life. This is a good thing. The loneliness that you are feeling is leading you to bigger and better things!
When you start to feel this way, I want you to count the blessings in your life that are people who love you. If, at first, you can only think of one person and that person is you, that’s a great start. You will find your soul people. I promise, you will. You are growing into the kind of person that you want to be, therefore, the kind of person your soul friends want to have in their life, and they are out there doing the same for you.
“I am so much better than them”: No… you’re not better than them. Maybe you are better than the level they stooped to in order to hurt you the way that they did. That could be true, but you are not better than anyone, sorry to say it but hear me out. It is easy to constitute levels of awareness, empathy, consciousness and/or growth as “better” or “worse”, but that is simply not how it works.
We are all on a different path. We all grow and become open to the world around us at different paces. That’s life. We can be angry and sad and feel our feelings, but we shouldn’t condemn those who are just not yet capable of the level of self-awareness, empathy, or whichever characteristic is relevant to what we have.
It’s so hard to understand the “why” behind people’s actions or words, but that’s the thing… they may not even understand it either. So, this is where I suggest we practice our own empathy. “I hope they heal from their own traumas and continue to grow into a better person”. That is my personal daily prayer for my ex-friends.
“I deserve better than that”: Yes, you absolutely do deserve better.
You will find better than that. I’m sorry that it didn’t last and things didn’t play out the way you thought they would, but you are making so much more room for the “better” that is coming. It will be greater than you could ever imagine and your hurt is not for nothing. Acknowledge your worth and remember that when you come across people who are meant to stay, you will know.
It’s okay to let yourself feel emotions towards these things, no matter how much time has passed, but you also have to allow yourself to see the truth. We are all human, none of us are perfect and we all must be able to own up to our own errors.
I know the feeling of losing some to make room for the best people I could ever ask for. The funny thing is, for me, most of my soul friends were already in my life… I was just distant from them because I was focused on the wrong people. Life said ‘NOPE, if you’re not going to fix this yourself, I AM.’ I thank god she did.
I am new, I am better than I was before, I have a brand-new focus, purpose and overall attitude towards my life and the people I let in it.
Things happen, people change, people make mistakes and do things they shouldn’t, but it is not the end of the world… It just might be the start of yours.