There's a lesson to be learned from every breakup. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that the universe knows what it's doing when people come and go from our lives. Breaking up with a friend, especially one you've had for a longtime, is never easy. Sometimes it all ends so messy, and other times, you just know that it hasn't been healthy and take charge of cutting the ties yourself. What we forget to remember is that it's still a loss — and we'll have to go through the emotions and memories just the same. Our besties can be our soulmates and our shoulders to cry on. Leaving that behind isn't easy, and if you're breaking up with a friend for the first time, you might need some advice on how to cope from real women who have been through it all, too.
Take a day to cry. It's a breakup, after all, and processing all of your feels will help you get a fresh start. We all know that relationships aren't always that easy, and you've probably had to handle some pretty sticky situations before finally calling it quits.
Your bestie was irreplaceable — or at least, so it seems. Truth is, this is now the time to love yourself, learn what you want out of a friendship, and build a life with much less drama. Turn your focus back onto you, and know what you deserve, or where you made mistakes. Coping is tough, and you might feel a little lonely, but women like you can help you through it. These nine stories take all different perspectives on friendship breakups, and get real with how to deal.
She learned how to create her own happiness.
When I started my freshman year of high school, I walked into biology and sat next to a girl with bright red hair and olive skin ... What started as small talk in class turned into every Friday and Saturday nights spent at either of our houses, eating so much McDonalds, and learning the dance routine to the final song in Pitch Perfect. She came on vacation with my family, her mom was my emergency contact for school, and she truly became my sister. In our junior year, she got into her first serious relationship, and that took priority. I had gotten her two sets of concert tickets for Christmas ... On the day of the Hoodie Allen concert, she said she couldn’t come. The next day, she told me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore, and she didn’t give me a reason. It was the first time I ever experienced heartbreak ... Getting through that pain is honestly only something that time will completely fix. I surrounded myself with my other friends, spent so much time snuggling my dog, and I worked every shift that opened. I needed to distract myself and not dwell on the loss ... I wrote a lot, took time to be selfish, and learned how to take care of myself and how to rely on myself for happiness, not someone else.
— Libby Calder
She focused on other friendships.
In my sophomore year of high school, I started dating a boy. He was my first love and I fell hard. Though our relationship was low-key, I told [my friend] Caroline everything. When the relationship took a turn for the worst months later, so did my best friendship with Caroline. The boy broke up with me for another girl — another one of Caroline’s best friends. This new girlfriend became jealous of me and it put a strain on my relationship with all of our mutual friends. I didn’t say much to people about the situation, so no one knew my side. Except Caroline. Regardless, when each of these mutual friends started cutting ties with me, Caroline did, too. I was heartbroken ... I felt betrayed, because I had been there for her through so many of her problems and I had trusted her with mine. Nonetheless, I found myself in a position where I needed to branch out. Though I missed having Caroline in my life, I strengthened my relationships with people I had previously taken for granted, and was able to value their friendships so much more.
She lost a longtime best friend, but reminded herself that what's meant to be, will be.
I don't think I'll ever get over my first real friendship breakup. Looking at the person I am now compared to the person I was, I'm not surprised the breakup happened. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen sooner. There's something so powerful about having a best friend when you're growing up. You do everything together. But you also grow up and grow apart. You're figuring out who you are, what you stand for, what you value, etc. We spend this time growing together, just to grow apart which is super sad — but I guess it's just the reality of things. I envy the longterm friendships that were able to last through the tough times of change. The only way that I "survived" my friendship breakup was by remind myself that it was happening for a reason, and it was helping me truly figure out who I am as a person.
— Danielle Chylinski
She accepted that she needed to give her breakup wounds time to heal.
When my ex-best friend and I “broke up," it was devastating — to say the least. We met in 7th grade, and the rest is history ... [One time when] we were on vacation together, we got into an argument about something stupid. All I remember was her embarrassing me in front of her cousins, which led me to act[ing] like a bitch. When we got home, I decided to confront her about the way she had treated me. Down the rabbit hole we went — and fast. As the argument escalated, we both said things we probably shouldn’t have. It got personal and we ended up no longer talking. She stopped responding to my texts, so I showed up to her house to return her things and to get mine. It’s a year later now, and that’s still the last time I saw her. I’ve tried reaching out of a few times, but she's never responded. Losing my best friend has been one of the most difficult and painful experiences I think I’ve ever encountered ... I think about her all the time, and I wonder what it’d be like if we were still friends. I wonder what I’d do if I saw her in real life ... In terms of healing from this loss, I’ve come to terms with the fact that only time will help me heal. It’s gotten easier. I’ve had time to reflect on a lot of things about my life. But I’d still do anything to change it.
She was tired of being ditched, so she made the decision to cut the ties.
I have been friends with this girl since high school ... When we [made] plans (even in high school) she would flake and leave me hanging. I remember this specific situation where we were suppose[d] to go to a concert together. I had texted her the night before and during the day of -- she didn’t answer until an hour before the concert! [I] wasted money on tickets and [had] no one to go with. This happened again when I asked her to go to my sorority semi with me. She canceled at the last minute. Later, I saw on her Snapchat and heard from friends that she had spent the time with her boyfriend. That was my last straw ... I was tired of being her second choice. So, even though it was hard, I distanced myself. We ended up having a long talk over text, where I basically said that we couldn’t be BFFs anymore. I had to “break up” with her in order to be happy and move forward in my life. I couldn’t be BFFs with a person who always put me last, who I worried about all the time, and who was not working her way up (college, job, etc.) in life. Just because she was static didn’t mean I had to be. In fact, I couldn’t be.
— Pilar S. Adams
She learned how to stand up for herself after a boy got between her and her friend.
Around the time things were ending with [a guy I was seeing] was when I met Sarah. We texted 24/7 over winter break, and I quickly realized how much we had in common. [When] her birthday came around, me and my roommates had a party in our dorm for her, because she didn't like her roommates. After we got back from spring break she admitted that after that night she snuck downstairs to hookup with my old bae and is now dating him ... It's sad to think that a guy can ruin a friendship like that, but the way I see it in this situation is that she made a decision. She started dating him before I could even have an opinion about it, which meant she didn't care what I thought and was only worried about herself. It was weird seeing her around campus the next three years (only about six months of which were actually with him.) I know to this day she thinks me "breaking up" with her was petty, but I have no regrets. You don't always have to take shit from everyone. People always take advantage of me and I was sick of it. Looking back I'm happy I cut her out because it gave me the confidence to stand up for myself.
She focused on the friends she could trust, and didn't hold a grudge.
I️ experienced my most impactful friendship breakup in high school. I️t was my junior year, and my first serious relationship had just ended. My friend decided to hook up with my ex at a party. As if the betrayal wasn’t enough, the entire school knew about it before I️ did. I️ broke ties with this “friend” because I️ obviously couldn’t trust her. What helped me the most during this time was focusing on the relationships with my friends who I️ could trust. This experience really helped me realize who my true friends were. Also, I️ eventually forgave the girl who betrayed me. I️ felt like in order to move on from the situation, it was important for me to not carry the grudge. Our relationship wasn’t the same, but it was healthier to make my peace with the situation rather than to carry around the negative energy associated with disliking her so much.
Maybe sharing your story and talking about your situation will help you, too. Or maybe you'd rather practice a little self-care and keep your other friends close. Whatever your situation may be, I hope you know that you won't be struggling forever. The universe knows what you truly need out of a friendship, or decided to change your course. Friendship breakups are rough, but you're also so tough. Real women like you are strong, and now it's time to just cope and keep your head up for all the future friendships to come.