Friendships play a major role in one’s life. They’re something that connect you to the world and help you experience new things. Multiple studies link friendships to one’s well-being and happiness. What sets them apart from romantic and family relationships is that a person can have several friends at once. Friendships can come from everywhere at different times: childhood, school, college, work and other places.
But what happens when a friendship ends? How do you go about dealing with the situation? While there are no official statistics on the amount of “friendship breakups” there are, these tips can help you cope with the situation.
It’s going to hurt.
Like with any loss, the end of a friendship is going to hurt. The period after the “breakup” can bring a variety of feelings. It may feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself, especially if it’s someone you’ve known for years. You might feel angry, sad, shocked, or more. It’s important to know that these are normal feelings to have, and that it might take time to get over it. Everyone processes the situation their own way.
Think about what could have caused the end of the friendship.
There can be many reasons why a friendship dissolves. Did you have a fight or a misunderstanding? Did you just naturally drift apart? Figuring out a reason can help you better approach the situation, and if possible, help with a potential solution.
Consider whether it’s worth trying to fix the friendship.
This ties into figuring out what went wrong. If it was a fight or misunderstanding, you might just need time to gather your thoughts before reaching out again. But if it’s something more serious, than being cautious might be the best choice. The type of friendship it is can be a major factor. For example, if you had a dispute with a friend who is also coworker, working towards reconciling may be the better option since it’s something that could affect not just your personal life, but your professional life as well. This is a different dynamic than a childhood bestie that you might have just lost touch with.
Another way to look at the situation is considering whether the person was a positive force in your life. Was being friends with them exciting, or did you feel exhausted or tense around them? There is such a thing as a toxic friendship- the people you get along with but can constantly bring you down with their pessimism or personal issues. Helping a friend can be good, but if their negativity begins adversely affecting your well-being and life, then it may be time to take a step back and consider whether it’s worth being a friend with that person.
When it comes to childhood friends, realize that it’s not unusual to grow apart from them.
Just about everybody had those childhood friendships where you said you would be “’friends forever.” That’s not always the case. Life is a different story when you’re five, fifteen, twenty-five and so on. People grow up, go their separate ways, move away, get jobs elsewhere and start new lives. However, growing apart doesn’t mean that all contact has to cease. Facebook and other social media offer ways to keep in touch and update each other on what’s going on. It also doesn’t hurt to grab a cup of coffee or a drink while you’re both in town during the holidays or another time. It may not be the same as when you were younger, but catching up with an old friend can bring back some great memories and offer a fresh perspective on life.