One of the most painful breakups you will ever experience will come when you realize that your best friend isn’t your best friend anymore.
I met my best friend in Kindergarten, and lost her somewhere between sophomore and junior year of college. Clocking in at around 16 years, our friendship was easily the longest term relationship I’ve ever been in, so our falling out was the most painful breakup I have ever experienced in my life. To this day, I’m honestly not sure that any breakup with a significant other will ever be able to top that for me.
Having to let go of someone can be soul- destroying; it can feel like your whole world is ending, because in some cases, it is! — Jessica Johansen, GenTwenty
If you’re ever experienced anything like this, you know there are many factors that can play into it. Maybe you have a new best friend. Maybe one of you moved away. Maybe you realized you don’t have anything in common anymore. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above.
No matter how close you are with a person, there is always the chance that there will come a day where you don’t have as much in common as you once used to.
As you both grow up and have new experiences outside of each other, you may find yourselves drifting further apart until it almost becomes awkward and forced to hang out/catch up with them.
Related: Navigating the Loss of a Friendship
You can do two things: be the person that keeps the friendship going, or accept that you aren’t friends anymore and move on.
Fighting to Keep the Friendship Going
- Be the person who reaches out. Instead of waiting for them to get in touch with you, be the one that sends the first text to check in and see what they’re up to. Make it a priority to see the person on a consistent basis, whether its once a month, once a year, or whatever else works for you. Don’t cancel on them. If you make plans, make it a priority to keep those plans. When I lost my best friend, it’s because the two of us stopped making it a priority to see each other. Once we realized that we were canceling more plans than we were keeping, it ended our friendship entirely.
- Become an active listener. Sure, they’re going to have new stories that you’re not going to understand the background for. Learn the background. Learn who the new key players are in their life and how they play into things. When you see them, ask about these people. Show you were listening.
- Keep up with them on social media. You don’t have to talk to them every day, but check in once a week and see what they’re up to on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Send them random Snaps of things that remind you of them.
- Bring out the yearbooks and scrapbooks. Invite them over for a glass of wine and get lost in the memories.
For many friendships, a little TLC is all it needs to get things back on track.
However, it’s almost equally important to recognize that there are some friendships that just aren’t worth it to keep going. Some friendships are toxic and not worth pursuing.
Accepting That You’re Best Friend Isn’t Your Best Friend Anymore
- Mourn the loss. Like any breakup, you should take the time to mourn the loss like you would a breakup. Take time to really understand all of the feelings you are experiencing. Spend the day in bed crying, watching movies and eating ice cream.
- Try to understand their position. Maybe they realized that you guys were drifting apart and wanted to end things instead of drag them out.
- Write a letter to them. But don’t send it. Write out everything you are feeling, what factors you feel led up to the breakup, and how you feel about it now. Save this letter, set it aside somewhere were only you can see it. When you miss your friend, pull it out and read it.
- Just let it go. When you’re ready, take them off of your social media pages so you don’t see them and think of what could have been.
- Look around you and appreciate the friends you still have. Take time to really appreciate them and the things they do for you.
The loss of a friendship hurts, and that’s because it mattered. You’re going to feel this significant loss in your life, and that’s okay.
You’ll wrestle with the little things — what to do with all the framed pictures, or how to acknowledge her birthday. You won’t want to throw away the photos or ignore the birthday, but you also won’t want to do what you’ve always done, acting as if everything is normal — because it’s not. — Beth Leipholtz, Huffington Post