How To Deal With A Friendship Break Up

We often put so much emphasis on romantic relationships that we forget friendships can be just as complicated. They can take a bit of work and communication, and sometimes they just don’t work out. If you’ve ever had a friendship breakup, you’ll know it kind of feels like taking a cheese grater to your heart. They’re the worst.

Maybe you’ve had a hectic falling out, drifted over time or had to mutually part ways. Here are some ways that you can survive this icky, gloomy gut-wrenching time.

Communicate and get closure

It’s entirely dependent on the situation that took place, but communicating with your ex-mate has the potential of mending a friendship or just giving closure when it’s time to move on.

Give yourself a cooling off period of even up to week and think clearly about how you can communicate effectively, empathetically and calmly.

If it’s evident the relationship is over, ending it with a screaming match won’t help anyone. Get closure by chatting through the breakdown if it’s at all possible.

It’s okay to self-care!

Your relationship was platonic, but that doesn’t mean the break up is easier than any other. If you want to pull a classic breakup and drink a whole bottle of wine through a straw and plough through a kilo of ice cream while listening to Bon Iver, go for it.

Give yourself time to grieve and sit in your sadness. The more you push it down, the more likely it’ll reappear and manifest in other ways later.

Find self care methods that you find helpful or soothing, and treat yourself to some you time. Being a sad little lump is so perfectly okay for now.

After you’ve given yourself some grieving time, aim to stay busy with things that you enjoy. Maybe it’s diving into work; connecting with hobbies or finally opening up that Meditation app you spent $13AUD on.

Don’t replace them, but reach out to mates

Having a support network during a friendship breakup is important to remind you that you’re not totally alone and un-friendable. Have a chat to your other friends about what’s happening and let them know they might be called on for last minute beers if you’re feeling sad.

Don’t fall into the trap of choosing someone to fill the space of your ex-mate. Remember that all friendships are unique and one shouldn’t replace another.

Chatting through the breakup with friends can help to ease the sting, whether it’s to get advice, solidarity or have a place to vent your feelings. You might not feel up to socialising, but being around people can really lift your spirits and even distract you.

Joining group hangs, taking pals out for coffee and having your friends check in with you every now and then is a great way of getting through this time.

Take the opportunity to connect with old or new friends

We’ve all got a few people in our lives who we’ve been meaning to catch up with for months. The “let’s actually get coffee this time” friend who you think is the best, but you struggle to find time for. Make a solid plan with them and get them back in your life!

There might be some older friendships that could use some tending to or re-connecting with; even people you haven’t seen in years. Strengthening these can take that yuck lonely feeling away.

Maybe there are new people you’ve met recently that you can reach out to as well. Someone you’ve met recently who you had a friend crush on, but nothing eventuated. That person could potentially be a really great mate, so shoot them a message.

Reflect on the breakup

Once enough time has passed, give yourself a chance to reflect and reassess the friendship breakdown. Be honest about the role you played in it and see if you can learn anything from it.

Even if reflecting means just accepting the pain and hurt from the friendship, it can really make moving forward easier.

Yes, friendship breakups totally suck. They can happen to anyone, and they definitely don’t mean you’re a horrible person who deserves no friends and no social interaction ever again.

Stick by your other mates, give yourself some sweet self care-time and focus on positive friendships and don’t feel bad if you need to cry in the bath for a bit to feel all better.

Dani Leever is a freelance writer from Melbourne. Working as the Online Content Assistant at Archer Magazine, Dani’s has had work published in SBS, VICE, Broadsheet and Pedestrian.tv. When not writing, Dani is a workshop presenter for PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against cyberbullying, hate and prejudice.