I swear that losing a friend is way more dramatic than breaking up with your boyfriend in high school. You consciously give a boy your heart; a friend just kinds of sneaks up on you and steals it without you quite realising until they’re gone and you feel like you’re missing your left leg. And, whereas your boyfriend will probably have had his own set of ‘guy friends’ separate from your bunch of supportive girlfriends to fall back on, when you lose your friend, you don’t have that support system.
Take it from someone who went to a tiny all girls school for seven years; friendship break-ups are tough on everyone involved. But, just like boyfriends, friends usually don’t work out to be forever. And we have to find a way to be okay with that!
1. Except that your mutual friends will be neutral
It’s difficult if you know that your friend has hurt you yet other people close to you are carrying on as if nothing’s wrong. I tend to take loyalty really seriously and take sides immediately with the friend who has been wronged, but that’s probably not the right way to go about things. It will take some time to adjust to, and it’ll feel really awkward whilst you’re trying to get to the point where you’re okay with it, but you have to accept that your mutual friends will probably still hang out with the girl who has fallen out with you. There are probably even going to be some points where you’ll both be in the same place at the same time because of those mutual friends.
2. …But don’t alienate those friends
It’s really easy to just remove yourself from any situation that involves your ex-friend. It’s awkward to have to sit across the table from her at your mutual friend’s birthday meal, but you probably need to just grin and bear it (or at least tell your friend why you feel uncomfortable being at her event!). If you start avoiding any situation with mutual friends where she’s invited, your friends will start to wonder if you’re angry with them and that can only lead to more trouble! You really need the support system of your other friends right now – make sure they know how much they mean to you.
3. Have a good cry and a vent
As much as you shouldn’t vent to those who are close to both of you, choose someone completely removed from the situation, like a family member, to just let out all of your frustration to. I’ve felt so upset about fallings out with my friends that I’ve kept it all bottled up and not told anyone what was going on. Not a good idea. If you just let all the feelings of sadness and anger fester, you’re not allowing yourself to move on. Just get the rant about how betrayed you feel out there, using it to expel all those negative emotions that were bringing you down from your mind.
4. …Or write it out
I’m a writer so I’m biased, but I truly think that just writing down how you feel really helps. Write her a letter that you never intend to send if that helps you, or just write a long stream of consciousness journal entry then rip that page into a hundred tiny pieces. Get everything you’re feeling out there on paper so that you don’t have to carry it around with you, dragging you down.
5. Reach out to other acquaintances
If you have a couple of friends who are outside of your normal friendship group, spend a little more time with them. Use this as a fresh start to develop less toxic friendships and to have a break from reminders of how hurt you are. It can never hurt to have more friends with a different perspective, right?
4. Give it time
It’s probably just as awkward for her to see you every day as it is for you, especially if she knows that she was kind of in the wrong. Smile at her as if nothing’s wrong when you pass each other in the corridor and be civil to her if you find yourself in a confined social situation. Back off from your friendship and give her time to reevaluate what happened from her point of view and maybe see things from your side.
5. Learn to not feel bitter
It’s really difficult to not look back over your friendship and just feel angry. It takes a lot of time and energy to make a true friend, and it feels like all those hour-long phone calls and constant facebook chats were just a waste. Don’t look back on those old messages. When you’ve moved on from that friendship, you’ll be able to bring up something from that time without feeling bitter. It wasn’t time wasted – everything that happened was for the best. Remember that.