We’ve all been there. It could be that you and a friend drifted apart, or you had a blowout argument. Either way, losing a friend feels ugly, and it hurts to no longer have someone on whom you relied for comfort, advice, and fun distractions in your everyday life suddenly absent. You might be angry, sad, guilty, or anything in between.
Amy Poehler said, “Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb.” If you’ve realized your friendship is toxic and you are making a conscious decision to remedy the situation by ending it, you should be proud of yourself. If you and your friend had an argument that shattered your friendship and you were in the wrong, consider making an apology, or amends that fit your level of comfort. If the person you’re apologizing to doesn’t want to forgive you, you may have to accept that and live with feelings of regret for a little while.
Losing a friend is hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Here are some tips to get you through these tough times:
1. Don’t be hard on yourself. You are only human. You may have said the wrong thing in the heat of the moment, but you know who you are and how you deserve to be treated. If you stood up for yourself and set a boundary, be proud of yourself. If you said the wrong thing, or you were triggered into a response that you don’t identify with or doesn’t meet your values, take the opportunity to learn from that moment. You are allowed to make mistakes. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love very much. Use “I deserve ______” statements: I deserve to be communicated with in a healthy way. I deserve love and understanding… Whatever it is that your friendship lacked, recite these types of statements to yourself.
2. Take a Step Back. It’s important to gain a new perspective on a lost friendship. You may realize that behaviors that seemed perfectly normal within your lost friendship were detrimental to you — your health suffered, you didn’t get enough rest, you had bad habits, you became judgmental and rude — anything that made you feel less than your best self is worth parting with. A little distance from a toxic relationship can go a long way.
3. Rise Above. Do not participate in any games played against you. This is especially important in the days of social media. Don’t leave negative comments publicly, do not ask a family member or a friend to leave negative comments publicly. If they post something that is intended to make you feel bad, either delete it or ignore it. Blocking them is always an option. Don’t give them the reaction they might very well be seeking. If someone you aren’t close with asks you what happened, do not gossip. You can simply say you don’t really see eye to eye, or that you just aren’t that close. If you do need to talk to someone about what happened in order to process the loss of your friendship, make sure it’s not a mutual friend, and make sure it’s someone you can trust not to gossip about it.
4. Write Them a Letter. Just write it, you don’t have to send it. You probably shouldn’t send it. Use the letter as a tool for catharsis. Often times during a conflict, it is difficult to use clear communication. You might find yourself obsessing about what you should have said — or, what you shouldn’t have said. Taking the time to address these feelings can be therapeutic. If you feel like you want to send it to them, send it, but only if you are sure to speak openly and honestly without placing blame. Sometimes, it’s best to wait or have someone you trust read it first to make sure you don’t say anything you might regret.
5. Focus on What You Have. Pour energy into your existing friendships and relationships with family. Focus on being a good friend to those you have. Tell them you appreciate them. Praise them for the ways they make you feel supported and understood. Feel grateful for their love and support in your times of weakness, pain, and frustration. No matter what happens in your life, there are always people who can support you in the ways you need. Reaching out is important to help you feel less burdened by feelings you can’t control.
6. Let it go. What happened, has happened. There is nothing you can do to change what was said, and the best thing to do is to try and let it go. If another person believes something about you that isn’t true, there is nothing you can do about it. If you are having issues letting go of anger and resentment, you might want to consider meeting with a professional counselor to help you work through it.
If you find that this happens to you often, it might be time to take a long hard look at how you treat friends. If it does seem to be your actions perpetuating these situations,, it’s important that you don’t wallow in blaming yourself. Try your best to learn from mistakes. You’re human. You can’t be perfect. Being kind to others starts with being kind to yourself.
Love and healing to you from The Girls Girl Club.