I had my heart broken recently.
I received an email from my best friend telling me that after more than ten years of friendship they never wanted to see me again.
They weren’t nice about it either. It was a nasty email full of blame and name-calling.
To add insult to injury it was sent to my work email, knowing full well that it would shatter my concentration at work (on one of the most stressful weeks of the year).
I was gutted.
Regardless of whether you are friends or lovers the end of a relationship is hard. Being dumped sucks and it hurts like hell.
So how do we deal with such a painful upheaval? How do we deal with the end of a friendship?
Here are my thoughts and feelings (and I apologize in advance that they still are a little raw).
Important Note – I am not a medical professional or trained therapist, so if you are struggling with depression, anxiety or suspect you may have a mental illness, please consult a medical professional.
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Deal with your feelings
As much as I would like to say ‘screw you’ and actually mean it and never think of my friend again our hearts and brains aren’t quite wired that way.
Most people try to avoid their feelings because it’s painful. We naturally try to avoid pain.
But keeping it all bottled in isn’t healthy. Denial might help for a while but eventually, you are going to have to face your feelings and deal with them.
Trust me on this one, if you don’t deal with your feelings they will come bubbling up somewhere else.
So what am I feeling at the moment?
Anger, sadness, hurt, disappointment, a huge sense of loss, more sadness and to be brutally honest a lot more anger.
In the past when someone left me, I would wallow. I would go over every detail and conversation and try to figure out where it all went wrong.
A few years back I did a mental calculation of roughly how much time I had spent crying over someone who had left me (unfortunately they left me a lot more than I left them but that is a different blog post or two).
The outcome of this calculation was earth-shattering. I realized I had spent far too long crying over people who quickly forgot about me.
I realized it was time to toughen up.
Yet here I am feeling like I have a gaping void in my life and I’m not feeling very tough at all.
My girlfriend made an interesting point. She said give yourself time to feel crap and then move on.
Pick a reasonable period of time – deal with your feelings, talk things through with someone you trust (preferably someone who has little or no connection to the person that hurt you), write your feelings in a journal if that works for you, cry if you need to, then move on.
In other words, wallow a little but keep a lid on it.
I took her advice.
Unfortunately, we have no control over someone leaving us, but that doesn’t mean we have no control over the situation.
What we do have is control over our own feelings and emotions. Let’s not underestimate just how powerful that can be at a time we feel the most vulnerable. I had no control over my friend ending our friendship but I do have control over how I respond to it.
Speaking of responding, I never wrote back to the email and I have no intention of doing so.
Honestly, the old me would have written back. I would have stated my case, I would have denied the name calling. I would have gone in guns blazing.
But seriously folks what is the point of dragging out the ending. It wouldn’t change anything other than making us both feel worse. It only prolongs the pain.
My advice – skip that part, let it go and get busy with the healing.
You can’t make someone be your friend, just like you can’t make someone love you.
What you can do is focus on the wonderful friends and people you do have in your life. Focus on the ones still there, not on the one who walked away.
Since recovering from a loss is never a one-step process (ahh if only) you can also read my follow up post How to Deal with the End of a Friendship Part 2.
Dealing with the end of a friendship can leave us feeling vulnerable. It can shatter our confidence and self-esteem. If you feel like your confidence needs a boost, Udemy has a great online course Double Your Confidence and Self-Esteem Complete Blueprint. You can take this course in the comfort of your home at your own pace. Check out the course curriculum to see if it suits your needs.
If you got something positive out of this post or know someone going through a similar situation, please share it with your friends on social media.