Friendship(s) Break-ups & Survival Guide

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Over the past few years, I have had my fair share of friendship breakups.

Obviously, I will not list any names, to protect their privacy and mine. However, nobody really talks about what happens after a great breakup among your circle of friends or your best friend. 

In my opinion, having a friendship breakup is a lot more painful than a romantic breakup. Having a close circle of friends or a best friend is one of the best things about life. They are your support system and sometimes...even your rock. But, what happens when that support system breaks?

"Women are raised with the idea that friendship is supposed to be forever, and they are often judged by their ability to stay friends, so there is a lot of stigma involved with friends who break up," Levine says. - Woman's Day

Here is what I always tell myself: There will always be another day.

This means that despite heartbreak and losing a close friend/group...there will always be another day. Your heart is still pumping, your lungs are still breathing and you are still living. Despite feeling sadness or depression about a friendship(s) breakup...you're still on this Earth. The world is still turning and everyone is still going with their life. 

The histories and memories you share with that certain group/person will always be there. Those pictures and silly videos that you make together will always be there too. Certain people deal with breakups a certain way...they either delete everything and throw everything away of the things that remind them of that certain person or they look back at the memories and smile at the people who were in their life at that certain time period. 

I am a bit of both...I either throw away or donate the physical item and put the pictures/videos in a memory box. For a certain time, that person/group has been a great time period of your life. They were the ones who made you laugh and created beautiful memories. However, they were also the ones that caused a great deal of pain in your life. You can't have the good without the bad. This can be applied to either friendship or romantic breakups. 

Here's the thing...why don't we have conversations about friendship breakups? Our society has made amazing progress over the past decade about accepting and discussing everything and anything. The reason why we don't talk about it is there is no social expectation for it. Friends do not go to couple counseling. There is no talk about how can a friendship be worked out just like a marriage or business partnership.  

The frustrating part of it all is...you chose to spend time with this person/group. In a friendship, the relationship does not have any domestic expectations, sexual expectations, property, financial concerns and/or the influence to give your opinion on their relationships with certain people. Without any of these concerns that are generally in marriages and businesses, the only expectations are emotional and mental support. When that certain someone/group starts to want nothing to do with you...it's hard to accept. 

We do not choose our friends by status, hormones, attraction...we choose our friends based on connection and similarities. This goes into how we might be friends with a childhood bestie or a certain group that is going through the same issues that you might be going through. When you start to drift away from your friend(s), it might be because of distance, new chapters in life, interests or even just life in general. We all know that we cannot expect to be friends with someone who we were friends with when we were 5. There might be some friendships that can/will be the exception...but that goes far and in between. 

My own personal experience: A close friend in high school was one of the most important people in my life...at that time. We were inseparable and seemed to be attached to the hip. Over the course of high school, we both started to change and started to have different interests in certain things. We thought we were going to be close friends for years to come; move-in together, raise our families together and be each other support systems. However, we both started to change into different people. Senior year was the year that we both knew that our friendship was done. Trying to fight for a friendship with another person who was not interested in this friendship was just tiring. I tried and tried to hold our relationship together. Our mutual friends saw how we both changed throughout the course of a year. It was hard and it did break my heart...but my heart healed in time and in tears. I'm not the one to usually cry as I am not as sensitive to certain issues but it gives you a natural outlet for sadness. 

People might think it is a sign of weakness if you cry...but I think it is a sign of strength. When our friendship broke...I had a mourning period. I constantly wondered why our friendship broke and if there was anything to repair it. At the end, after so many tears and heartbreak...I pulled myself together. I let my sadness out and cried as much as I could. After that...I placed the pictures away and removed any social contact online. I slapped myself straight. 

My thoughts?

'This relationship didn't work out only because that is just how life is. Now, pull yourself together and get your shit out of the fan. You are and always have been an amazing friend. It is their loss and your gain. Never let someone make you feel less important than you really are.'

With those thoughts in my head...I pulled myself together and started living my life again. 

READ THIS! You'll thank me. - 4 Common Causes of a Friend Breakup

Survival Guide to Breakups

1. Cry it out.

The pent up frustration and sadness is not going to go away. Keeping it bottled up isn't a good thing either! Have a mourning period! Cry by yourself or hug a pillow. You need to let your feelings out! In the end, you'll feel a whole lot better. 

 

 

2. Accept it. 

We all know the last step of the mourning cycle. Accept things as they are. 

"Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing." - PsychCentral

3. Live your life

You will not start living your life of you keep on holding onto old memories and emotions with that person/group. Even if your friendship breaks with this certain friend/group...you will have more room for new friend and new experiences. Go out and start having adventures/experiences with new people. 

4. Dump those items!

Having pictures are great sometimes. However, if it's depressing...then it's not always that great. Delete or place those photos somewhere where you'll forget about them. These items/photos are just baggage that just clump to you. Getting rid of that baggage will give you a piece of mind and might give you more storage/data!

5. Social Media - No, no!

Do not bother looking at their social media pages. Stalking them is not going to make you feel any better. It is also not going to make the healing process any easier. You need to live your life for yourself and not for posting pictures to just show the world how you live. Meaning, don't post pictures or statuses just because it might make the world look at how you're doing in life. Post because you finally start to live for yourself and only yourself.

6. Secrets are not yours.

Despite the frustration, anger and sadness that you might feel...the secrets that were shared with you...were and are for you! Be the better person and don't bother sharing these secrets. It will only prolong this drama and frustration. You don't need that in your life! Drop it and move along with your life. 

7. BYE FELICIA!

That person/group is not insignificant in your life. They are not relevant and no longer hold any value in your life. At the end of the day, you know who you are as a person and a friend does not get to dictate how you are as a person. So...bye Felicia!

 

Links:

Woman's Daily - Surviving a Best Friend Break Up

PsychCentral - The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief

Greatist - How to Deal-And Heal-When a Friend Breaks Up With You

Thank you for reading! 

Lillian