Sure, breakups with romantic partners are bad, but have you ever broken up with a best friend? It’s arguably worse.
Some best friends last a lifetime, and some don’t. That’s just the way of the world. And when it’s time to say goodbye to one of those friends (willingly or not), it’s always hard.
Friendships can end for so many reasons — maybe time apart naturally ended the relationship, maybe your friend did something unforgivable, or maybe you’re just going down separate paths in life.
Whatever the reason may be, we’ve rounded up eight healthy ways to deal with losing a friend so that you can heal properly.
Take a look:
Acknowledge your pain
First, know that your grief is normal. The pain from breaking up with a best friend is just as real and valid as any other breakup.
If you were friends since the beginning, then you probably shared everything together — experiences, laughter, joy, tears, sadness, you name it.
Whether the friendship was ended on purpose or not, it’s still painful when all of that communication and closeness just abruptly ends.
So acknowledge your pain and know that it’s 100% normal to be feeling sad.
Don’t force closure
Although closure probably seems like the healthiest thing to seek right now, it can’t be forced.
Closure has to come naturally, when both of you are calm and the storm has passed.
It’s too difficult to talk things through when it’s the midst of a dramatic friend breakup and both of you are angry, so let things settle where they’re supposed to.
Keep yourself distracted
It’s okay to just be alone and cry at the beginning of the breakup, but you can’t cry forever. Eventually, you’re going to have to move on.
A good way to make the process easier is by finding activities that take your mind off the situation. But don’t do activities that will just remind you of your friend — find something that you like doing on your own.
Whether it’s running, doing yoga, going on walks or even starting a new TV show, finding something to distract yourself is a good way to cope with the absence of a friend.
Meet new people, but don’t pressure yourself
If the friend you lost was the person you spent most of your time with, then it may be hard to find comfort in your other existing friends at the moment since you feel like they can’t match up.
The desire to fill that void in your heart can be strong, so if you want to open yourself up to meeting new friends, that’s never a bad thing.
But remember, strong bonds usually happen organically. Don’t go crazy with friend speed dating — find the right person for you at the right time.
Have a game plan if you have mutual friends
Having mutual friends can make a friendship breakup a lot harder, so make sure you have a game plan for those situations.
Since possibly seeing each other at a mutual friend’s party (or whatever it is) could be really painful, sometimes the best option is to just avoid the drama entirely.
It is perfectly reasonable and normal to need time away from all of your friends after a friendship breakup, and real friends will understand that.
And when you do see those mutual friends again, come up with a phrase you can say to everyone when asked about the situation, like “she and I don’t really spend much time together anymore.”
Adjust your social media if needed
Sometimes the reason why friends break up is because one of them does something incredibly hurtful towards the other. In cases like this, it can be smart to simply unfollow that friend on social media.
There’s nothing worse than seeing the ex-friend who wronged you having fun with their new group of friends on Instagram, so unfollowing them is a good way to make the split easier on you.
There’s no need to block them (unless they’ve done something absolutely unforgivable), just simply unfollow them so that you don’t have to see their stuff on your radar.
Sometimes even deleting your posts with them helps too — fresh starts are always healthy.
Accept that you may never reconnect
If things ended badly, you probably never want to see them again. Or, you could be holding onto hope of reconciliation (especially if they were a best friend).
Both feelings are normal, but it’s important to know that you can’t count on anything happening. Moving on is essential — maybe you will be able to rebuild your friendship in the future, but for right now, you need to move on.
Forgive them and yourself. Don’t worry about the future just yet.
Try to learn something from it
You can learn valuable things about yourself in the process of a breakup.
Try to think about the reasons you broke up with that friend and try to see similarities in any other possibly toxic friendships you have. Are there any patterns?
Everything truly does happen for a reason, so if you’re going to learn anything from a friendship breakup, it’s exactly that: you were meant to drift apart for a reason.