While there are a lot of articles on how to get over a break-up, there are very few out there that focus on the end of a friendship.
Processing the end of a close friendship is an ongoing process. It has taken me a year and a half to finally be at peace with the events which caused our friendship to decay. When I finally realised the friendship was over it was too late to try to repair it.
Every situation is different. For me, I felt I was living with a stranger. We had lived together for three years. We had visited each other’s family. Supported each other through dark times in our lives. Gradually she began to grow more distant. When I came home she was nowhere to be found. Invitations to spend time together were declined. Conversations became strained and short lived. She rarely laughed at my jokes. After 6 months of living like this it dawned on me – this wasn’t going to change.
The grief I felt at that moment was overwhelming. The realisation that she wanted nothing to do with me struck me like a chainsaw to the gut. We parted ways in silence. Graduations came. We shared a final moment on that day. We sat together for a few minutes and talked about our future plans. The air felt sad and heavy. Before she left I gave her a gift – a silly dinosaur figurine I’d painted the previous day. While we may never speak again, I hope she has kept it somewhere in her home and remembers me fondly.
If any of you have lost a friend I hope the following advice is some comfort through the grieving process.
- Accept that it has happened. Don’t hurt yourself by over analysing what broke the friendship’s back. If you have reached the point of no recovery don’t torture yourself any longer. Things may feel clearer as a result.
- It’s okay to be angry. I don’t mean scream at them, cause a scene, and throw a chair at them (although you may want to). Cry. Punch your pillow. Blow off some steam by going for an angry run or ranting to a friend or family member who isn’t too attached to this friend.
- Know that you will still have complicated feelings for this person for a long time to come. More than a year later I’ll still see a brand of chocolate she loved and feel a twinge in my chest. That’s okay. They were a big part of your life. You’re not weak for remembering them in a positive light now and then.
- Remember the friends that are still around. Strengthen these friendships. If you’re anything like me, the loss of your friend made you anxious the same would happen to the others. It won’t. Everyone is different and that was a unique situation. Don’t let it hold you back.
- If some of your friends are still friends with this person – accept it. Unless it was something extreme that broke this friendship accept the fact that they might be around from time to time. If you want to remove yourself from these interactions that is fine, but don’t force your situation on others. It will only increase awkwardness and feeling that they have to choose.
I am still in the process of forgiveness. I have always had difficulty forgiving people. I still hold grudges on the people who bullied me in school and that was a long time ago.
Depending on your situation, you don’t have to forgive.
For me…I felt it was necessary. To hold onto a grudge of this magnitude felt like carrying all of those negative feelings on my back. It was unbearable.
- If you never got a clear answer to why the friendship ended, or even if you did – forgive yourself. You are still worthy of friendship. You won’t ruin all your relationships like you feel you ruined this one. It happened. Forgive yourself for any wrong doing you may have done.
- Forgive them. This is the hardest part. What happened is in the past, even if you are still hurting. Personal problems sometimes get the best of people and they shut themselves away from people they were once close to. Depression. Family problems. Financial difficulties. Trauma. They make us all do silly things. They may still be going through tough times and hopefully they’ll recover. Think of the friend you once had and hope to yourself they’ll get through it. Even if it is without you.
I hope some of this was helpful to you.
Look after yourself,