The end of a friendship, like the end of most things, can be a deeply troubling event in our lives. Depending on how the friendship dissolved, whether it ended in an abrupt explosive fight or whether the relationship just fizzled out and you grew apart, the death of friendships may be confusing, hurtful, and devastating. Psychologists equate the dissolution of friendships similarly to the dissolution of marriage. But when friends divorce, we have to ask ourselves if the relationship was a good one in the first place. Sometimes friendships are one sided and one person gives, gives, gives and the other takes, takes, takes. These are toxic relationships which are unhealthy and typically one sided. These are not true friendships so the end of these types of relationships is inevitable.
However, any ending is hurtful, and we must grieve and process our emotions so as to not let them build up inside us and damage us even more.
When our friendships end, we need to seek out some sort of closure with the person, but most importantly with ourselves.
So how do we get through the pain of losing a friend? The main thing in any grieving process is finally achieving closure. This does not mean that the pain will suddenly go away, but we need to find some resolutions and close the chapter in our lives.
Some of the things you can do to find closure when a good friendship ends:
- Talk to the person. Let them know how you’re feeling and how they’ve hurt you. This may be hard to do but letting your feelings known is the first step in healing the hurt. If you don’t have the courage to say it in person, put it in a letter. Sometimes, you don’t even need to mail the letter since the act of writing it is enough to get our emotions out on paper.
- Know that this person will always be a part of your life. And accept it. If you were close friends, you share memories, life milestones, vacations, secrets, and now that’s gone. Think of the good times you had with this person and be thankful for them. Accept that people change and life takes us in different directions.
- Decide what you will tell-or not-your common friends. There will be rumors and gossip and you should never bad mouth or trash the ex-friend, especially among common friends. Whatever you say will be sure to get back to the person, so it’s better to keep the “silence is golden” rule. You need to be the better person.
- Forgive in your heart. Give yourself permission to forgive your ex-friend and to forgive yourself. After all, “it takes two to tango” and things don’t just happen in a vacuum. The relationship fell apart because two people could no longer make it work–whatever the reasons.
- Leave the door slightly open. Sometimes friendships that have ended may find a way to mend fences and patch up their friendship. Time heals everything. Time is the great forgiver, eraser of hurts, burning out the flame of anger and resentment. With time, your friendship may rekindle. If this is the case, you must take it slow but be open to receive the new gift of friendship that has come back to you.
All in all, getting over a broken friendship may leave you feeling lonely and depressed, but with time, you can learn to be thankful for the person who was in your life and taught you so many life lessons for life is a journey and everyone we meet along the path is a master: teaching us lessons, some good, some bad.