Over the years, as I’ve written for the blog there have been many posts that just felt right. They were an extension of a conversation I’d had or a message I just felt needed to be in the world for someone else. And today’s post is a bit of a mix of both. As I female, I’ve spent years working and continuing to unlearn the behaviors I was taught about female friendships as a child. So when you find yourself examining a best friend breakup, it’s a lot to unpack.
But today I want to try. It’s rare that any breakup is easy. We are forced to look at our habits and sometimes we feel completely disoriented because a pillar of our lives has been removed. My hope is that we can process this one a bit together. And as always, we can move forward having learned something but with a bit more compassion for the future.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO MOURN
So much of the season I’m currently in is about creating space for the things I’ve never mourned. Friendships I’ve lost. Dreams that were torn away. And when it comes to a best friend breakup, we often forget it can be even more painful than a romantic one.
Grief has phases for a reason. There are the little things you’ll notice right away that make you feel more isolated. Maybe it’s not having that person to call when you need to rant or you feeling like no one you have to share goodness with. A best friend breakup can feel like losing a limb and it takes some serious time to adjust.
Give yourself that time. Acknowledge that it sucks. Make space for that pain. I was once advised by a psychologist to set 5 minutes for whatever you need to feel. Sit it in. And then move on. Let yourself go through the mourning process so that you can come out of this even better and have more amazing friendships in the future.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PART
Years of gaslighting have taught many of us to examine everything through the lens of what did I do wrong. And tbh I don’t think any of us are ever completely guilt-free. But we also aren’t always completely aware of the full story.
During a conversation with a girlfriend a few months back I had a light bulb moment about the trauma pattern I’d repeated for years in friendships without realizing it. Something I’d experience in childhood had taken such a stronghold in my life. But I hadn’t had enough space or found a time where I felt safe enough to see it. I’d subconsciously sabotaged relationships without even realizing it.
Listen I will never show up to the party thinking only one person is to blame for the fight. There is always an opportunity to walk away. Nevertheless, there is also always the opportunity to grow and to learn. And in the case of repeated friend breakups, it might be time to take a look at the trauma you’re trying to solve with these new relationships.
Yes, it may have been your fault. It’s certainly been mine once or twice. But until you can create a space of understanding, you won’t be getting off this merry-go-round any time soon.
RELEASE WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL
A few years ago I was ghosted by someone I’d considered a close friend. It happened rather suddenly and I was at a loss for what happened. Did I do something wrong? Potentially. I can most certainly think of things I could do better. But in this situation, I had no control. The only thing I could do was control myself and respect the space I was clearly being asked to give them.
I think it’s easy to believe that friendship is something we just get to have without work. When one friend doesn’t work, we just cut them out and move on. Occasionally that’s necessary but sometimes doing the work with said friend is even more powerful. You get to grow together.
But when you’re not given that opportunity, it’s a time to compartmentalize a little bit. You can certainly do the work on your but you can’t control someone who has chosen not to communicate with you. And maybe you don’t need to.
Maybe the universe is trying to remove this from your life for reasons you don’t know. But remember that everything is working for your good and in your favor. If this is happening and you have no control, take a moment to sit in gratitude for what you know you’ll learn a few months from now about why this happened.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED/EXPECT IN A FRIENDSHIP
Whether we realize it or not, it’s easy to get caught in a friendship pattern. But if we aren’t taking a second to step back, we won’t realize that we’ve chosen the same toxic friend over and over again. It’s time, to be honest with yourself about who you’re surrounded by and where you’re looking to go in life.
If you’re on a journey to heal your body & mind, it’s probably not going to be ideal that you spend loads of time with people who never eat vegetables and only complain. So get honest with yourself about the type of people you need and want in your life.
My list looks something like this:
Friends who seek to find gratitude in their everyday life
Creative (a plus)
Able to have discussions without ego (if you can’t be open to someone else’s story, then I have a tough time being friends with you)
Foodie (this one is almost essential)
Enjoys living a healthy life
Here’s the thing: I’ve spent years being the bright light that draws everyone in. And as a natural leader, it happens. But I’m not here to fix my friends. I’m here to support, encourage and challenge them to be their best selves. I hope they do the same for me. It’s also important to me that they are there to help hold me up when maybe I’m not having the best time. If I’m drowning in a constant sea of their negativity, this won’t work for anyone.
Be Open To New, Better Friendships
One of the ways we become better versions of ourselves is through other people. We spend time with the people who are eating healthier or focus on the positive and suddenly it becomes a habit for us. Now we can do this in a lot of ways. A big part of my overall growth in 2018 was through the content I consumed and the YouTubers I watched. Those shifts were great for giving me everyday encouragement to becoming a better version of myself.
But we also need the people we can spend time with in real life. Things like meetup, taking classes and dinner parties are a great way to meet new people. And if you’re like me and find meeting lots of new people at once overwhelming, I’d recommend taking a class where you can make it a point to get to know one person per week.
However, you have to be open to these new friendships. You have to believe you’re worthy of being support by incredible women. And you also might need to add in some natural distance with those already in your life. It’s okay not to know how to make a new friend. It takes me ages to really let someone in. But if we’re never open to the possibility that there are more amazing people in the world that want to support us, we will never truly grow into the beautiful humans we’re destined to be.
Alrighty, friends. I hope today’s post helped you as you walk through this season of letting go of a best friend. I know a best friend breakup can be so so challenging. But you aren’t alone. And I’m so glad you’re here.
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