There is something special about a good friend. Research shows that friendships are important for our sense of vitality, social support, comfort and continuity in our lives. Just like a romantic relationship, sometimes a friendship can end – either with a falling out or simply from growing apart. J. Maria Bermudez, Ph.D., LMFT, Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at The University of Georgia, shares with us how to recover from losing a friendship.
Recognize the Loss
Like any relationship, recognizing the loss is an important part of the healing process. “The more your friend meant to you, the stronger your feelings will be,” Bermudez said. “If you had to part ways, then know that this grief is just as legitimate as with other forms of loss. It’s ok to be upset and grieve the loss.” So just as you would with any break-up, take the time to grieve by staying in your pajamas, eating a pint of ice cream, and watching your favorite shows if needed.
Understand Why the Friendship Ended
When a friendship ends, many of us are left wondering “why?” Taking the time to think about where your relationship went wrong is an important part of your therapeutic process. “Accept your part in why things went wrong and learn from your mistakes,” Bermudez explains.
Try to See Things Objectively
There are always two sides to every story. While it may be much easier to place all the blame on the other person, taking responsibility for your own actions is important. “Sometimes we are blinded by our own perspective,” Bermudez said. “Seeing things from her or his perspective will help you have greater empathy, which in turn, will help you forgive and free you from the burden of holding a grudge.”
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
People make mistakes. As previously mentioned, taking responsibility for your own actions is important. However, make sure to remember that you’re only human, and nobody’s perfect. “There are many people that will come and go in your life and each one serves a special purpose and teaches you something about yourself, regardless of how long the relationship lasts,” she says. So make sure to go easy on yourself during this time of healing.
Don’t Foster Negativity
No good can ever come from focusing on negative things. Turning your energy towards more positive thoughts and activities will help foster restoration in your life. “Constantly thinking and saying negative things about your former friend will drain your energy and create more negativity in your life,” Bermudez explains. “You will feel more positive and energized if you bite your tongue and focus the other people in your life that bring you joy and peace."
Have you ever had to deal with a friend “break-up”? How did you deal? Share in the comments.