Whether it's a blow-out fight or a slow drift apart, a friendship breakup can be as gutting as ending a romantic relationship. I've had more than my share of girls I considered a best friend move out of my life and it's one of the most heart-wrenching feelings I've ever experienced. When you've shared tons of laughs, secrets, dreams, and fun times together, letting go of a best friend is tough! But guess what? You can get through it! The key is to let yourself grieve, distract yourself with other people and activities, and move on with your life. If you're going through a friendship breakup, follow our tips to feel better fast.
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Don't Blame Yourself
Here's the deal:
The first reaction when someone breaks up with you is to blame yourself. Don't! Many times, the problem lies with the other person. Your friend (or you, if you are the one breaking it off) may have changed what they are looking for from their friends, are working through their own emotional issues, or have developed new interests. Doubting yourself and your ability to be a great friend will only harm your current relationships. Remember that you're amazing and anyone would be lucky to have you in their squad!
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A friendship breakup is a good opportunity to analyze your relationships with your other BFFs. Did your ex-friend engage in toxic behavior that you notice in your other pals? It could be that you attract a certain type of person that you actually aren't compatible with. Consider chatting with a therapist about why this may be and how you can be a better friend. Check out this helpful video from Seventeen to help you figure out if letting go of a toxic friendship should be on your horizon.
Don't Ghost On Her
What is the number-one thing we hate that guys do? Ghosting! In case you've been living under a rock, ghosting is when you have been talking to or dating a dude who suddenly goes MIA. Things seemed to be going well and now he won't answer your calls, texts, or messages. If you plan to break up with a friend, please don't do this to her. Have some respect for your fellow woman! Saying you are always too busy to hang out or simply not returning her communication is a rude and cowardly way to cut her out of your life.
According to Deborah Tannen, author of You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships, lots of women of all ages have either ghosted a friend or been ghosted themselves. She says that women do this because we don't want to give any outright negative feedback to our friend and start a fight. Instead, we simply cut her off without reason, leaving her to wonder what went wrong for possibly the rest of her life. Nobody wants to have the actual breakup conversation, but be brave and do it. This girl was once your good friend and you owe it to her to talk it out.
Zen Out With Yoga
Chances are you have a lot of different emotions swirling around in your brain. Anger, sadness, confusion — they're all normal responses to being broken up with, especially if it was sudden and unexpected. If you're feeling overwhelmed, clear your mind and strengthen your body by doing some yoga. Focusing on moving with your breath and holding the poses keeps your mind occupied so you don't have time to dwell. One amazing resource, Yoga Download, has tons of options to help you move through whatever you are feeling.
Yoga allows you to both feel your emotions and let them go, so it's perfect for helping you deal with a friendship breakup. Choose a restorative practice to exercise both your body and mind without going too hard. This style of yoga will make you feel amazing but doesn't require a lot of energy so it's great for when you are feeling stressed and drained. Want to really zen out? A practice centered around meditation will help quiet any negative thoughts and get you past any emotional blocks you're feeling during this tough time. Check out the other chill classes Yoga Download has to offer here.
Have a Good Cry
One reason that many of us feel so upset during a friendship breakup is that they often are not acknowledged. When you split with a partner, family and friends are usually quick to offer kind words, quality time, flowers, and junk food to help you cope. Lose a girlfriend, though, and chances are you'll get a half-hearted show of pity and quickly be told to “get over it.” But just like any other breakup, taking the time and tears you need to heal your heart is key.
Melody Wilding, a Master of Social Work, explains that it's ok to not be ok after dumping a friend. She explains that living without your BFF may feel “lonely and embarrassing” so there is “no shame in feeling awful for a little while” after your split.
Pop in one of your favorite sad movies (my go-to is Les Miserables) and let it all out. If you're really feeling down in the dumps, nothing will feel as therapeutic as a good old-fashioned crying sesh. You've shared a lot of memories with your friend and it's ok to grieve about letting them go. After you've shed your tears, resolve to move on with your life as before. But if you still feel super sad (like you have no appetite or can't get out of bed) after two weeks, make an appointment with your doctor or therapist; you could need help with coping in a healthy way.
Avoid Lashing Out
Though it may make you feel better in the short term, try not to act negatively towards your former friend. Gossiping, forcing other friends to choose sides, and talking smack on social media will just make you look like a bad person. Instead, write down all the things you wish you could say to your ex-pal in a letter, then tear it up or burn it. Having a safe space to tell her how the breakup hurt you or even just to say goodbye feels therapeutic but doesn't make you out to be a drama queen. This way, you can express your feelings without hurting anyone.
The most important part of this tip is not dragging another friend into your breakup. This will only cause drama in your friend group. Allow your other friends to decide how they will deal with the split rather than trying to force them to take sides. Instead, turn to someone like your mom, partner, or sister for support. They will comfort you but they can also give you objective advice, which is just what you need.
Exercise is a great way to make your body and mind feel amazing. Lace up your sneakers and hit the gym to clear your head of any racing negative thoughts. There's nothing like a full-blown sweat to boost your endorphins. Not only will your mood be better, your body will feel stronger. Going for a run or hitting Pilates class is perfect for when you're feeling down because it lets you see what you're capable of.
The sadness you're feeling during your friendship breakup might have you down on yourself, so vow to run an extra mile, workout at your max heart rate, or up the resistance on your bike at spin class. Try wearing a Fitbit to see concrete proof of how amazing you did. When you see how strong you are inside and out, it will help you remember what an awesome woman you are! Grab an awesome wearable Fitbit tracker here!
Give Her Space
Whether you broke up with your friend or she dumped you, giving each other space afterward is key to moving on. Just like when you split with a partner, the best way to get over her is to cut her out of your life completely. You may have to see each other in class, at work, or at spin class, but try to resist chatting with her. It will feel totally weird at first, I get it! You two were used to sharing every little thing with each other and now you never speak. But keeping up lingering communication after your friendship breakup is just confusing to everyone involved. If you are truly committed to cutting ties with her, you have to set boundaries.
Try A New Hobby
Lots of friends become close because they have common interests. You may have met at work, in class because you had the same major in college, or on a sports team. But did you ever feel afraid to try something because your BFF wouldn't do it with you? Now that you've split, there's no better time to start something new! Taking up a hobby is a great way to help you remember who you are as an individual instead of one part of a duo. You will get to redefine yourself as a person, meet new people, and fill up your newfound free time. Don't know where to start? Try a book club, exercise class, dog-walking group, or community theater. Anything you love!
Focus On Your Real Friends
Don't forget about those who do love you when you're mourning the loss of a friend. There is nothing more disrespectful than someone crying that they don't have any friends when they are literally talking to a friend. The person you split with might have been your BFF, which makes the breakup hurt more, but you aren't alone. Those who stuck by your side when the other person didn't are your true friends and deserve your love and respect. Set up a sleepover, coffee date, or spa day with friends or family as a way to focus on all the supportive people you still have around you! Feel free to vent about your friendship breakup for a bit, then turn the conversation to something more positive. It's a surefire way to turn your frown upside-down!
Remember The Good Times
While it is natural to discount the entire relationship after a breakup (especially when friendships end badly), try your best not to do that. Holding a grudge and writing her off as a terrible person forever doesn't help anyone! Psychologist Irene Levine stresses that just because you are no longer friends doesn't mean your whole friendship was a waste. Instead, try to appreciate the role your ex-pal played in your journey to who you are today. For example, one friend I split with was a lot more outgoing than me. Though it became one reason we ended our friendship as teens, her pushing to get me out of my shell actually helped give me the sassy personality I have today.
But there's a catch.
Be sure to save this step for after you have emotionally moved on from your friend. Thinking about all the fun you had together when you were still friends will only cause you more pain if you aren't over the friendship breakup yet. A good way to test if you're ready is to look at one of your favorite photos of the two of you. If it makes you smile nostalgically instead of burst into tears, you have probably healed.
Friendship breakups, regardless of how and why they happen, are a brutal part of life. The closer you were to your former bestie and the longer you were friends, the harder it is. Moving on with your life can be a long and difficult process but you can do it! Focus on being your best self and appreciating the people you do have in your life and you'll feel better in no time. Want even more best friend breakup advice? Check out the video below.