BFF Breakup: How do I process a friendship that just ended like that?
At the age of 24, I’ve somehow already been through a lot, what friendships concerns. In addition to many beautiful moments and experiences with friends that I will never forget, I unfortunately also had to experience things that, to be honest, hurt me a lot. In the last year, a person who was very important to me and who I had been friends with almost since childhood just disappeared from my life disappeared. I couldn’t explain the whole thing to myself, and all that was left of our long-standing friendship were many question marks in my head, disappointment and pain – and quite a bit of it. And while many tend to think of a breakup and heartbreak as the end of a romantic relationship, the seemingly groundless end of a friendship is definitely not without its consequences. How I learned to deal with it and what helped me to do it accept, you can find out here.
BFF Breakup: When your best friend suddenly becomes a stranger
It’s funny how life works like that sometimes. One moment you’re spending a wonderful afternoon with the:the BFF, rolling over with laughter at the dumbest joke ever and thinking nothing could ever break you up. The next moment you look at your cell phone, scroll through old chats and realize that you haven’t had contact with this person for months. Maybe you just developed in different directions, maybe der:die Freund:in just stopped responding to messages at some point – but why?
Sure, sometimes it’s just the natural course of things. Very few people still have a close bond with their childhood friends even as adults (if that’s the case with you: good for you!). But when the BFF simply disappears from life and you can’t explain what the reason must have been, it’s even more painful. Often one blames oneself and convinces oneself that one has done something wrong. However, it is totally normal to fall into a mourning phase, similar to the end of a relationship, with this type of separation. After all, we lost someone who was close to us and counted among our loved ones. At this moment, simply accepting that the former BFF is now like a stranger is a very long way off.
BFF Breakup: How do you deal with something like this?
There really are enough tips for dealing with the end of a relationship. But what about a BFF breakup? How do we process the pain in order to eventually come to terms with it? Let me tell you: It wasn’t easy. My process of processing was not necessarily linear and has not been completed to this day. Nonetheless, I want to share my experiences with people who are going through the same emotional turmoil and what has helped me to keep going.
1. Never suppress your feelings
No matter what it is, there’s no point digging into your emotions and ignoring them. The earlier we deal with our feelings, the faster we can process them. At first I always thought I was overreacting and that’s why I never really dealt with my emotional world. The result: the whole thing simmers inside you, growing bigger and bigger until some chance encounter or comment explodes it. This has taught me not just to swallow the pain, but to feel it – even if it wasn’t always easy. But every emotion has a right to exist and should therefore never be ignored.
2. Find a valve
Depending on how you and your BFF broke up, you are either still in contact or you lost contact. I was ghosted and left with all my questions. I had so many things on my mind that I wanted to say to this person because I didn’t feel like I was being treated fairly or heard right now. However, I didn’t have the impression that that would change anything about the situation. So I started writing down the thoughts that were on my mind.
The result was an incredibly long note on my phone that I could add to at any time of the day if I remembered something. So, despite the fact that this person would never read those words, I felt like I had said my part, which always made me feel a lot lighter right away. However, this valve can look different for everyone. Maybe it’s the exchange with others or even an expert. As I said, the most important thing is not to eat anything into yourself.
3. Don’t downplay your pain
Yep, I did that too in the beginning. I was sure my reaction and pain were completely exaggerated and not appropriate to the situation. After all, none of them died – but somehow they did! Going through a period of grief is like losing that person, much like a bereavement. That’s why it’s totally natural to feel similar pain. When I finally started allowing my reaction and not constantly downplaying it, I felt like I was making real progress for the first time. By allowing myself to be disappointed, angry, sad, and more, I finally took the first steps toward processing.
4. Be thankful for the beautiful moments of your friendship
Even if it didn’t end well, every relationship should be honored and grateful for. After all, there were also beautiful moments that made the friendship something very special. Even if it is difficult not only to see the emotional end in the pain and grief, it helps a lot to remember the good times. This makes it easier for me to close this chapter, knowing that we had a good time together that has just come to an end.
5. Realize that life goes on
To get to this point of processing, you have to be quite far. If someone had said to me shortly after my BFF breakup, “Life goes on! Get over it”, I probably would have lost a bit of my composure. As I said, I’m still in the process myself, but I realize that life actually goes on like this. At some point you learn to find your peace with this ended friendship, maybe meet new people or appreciate the time with yourself all the more. Whatever happens, the world keeps moving and the thought of it makes me accept things as they come.