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How to Cheer Up from a Friendship Breakup
Coping with the End of a Friendship
There are many factors that may lead to the end of a friendship--distance, lack of mutual interests, or even negative emotions like anger or jealousy may come into play. If the friendship is a casual one, the cut ties probably won't affect you much; if the friendship runs deeper, it might be more painful.
You're not alone, though--almost everyone will cope with the end of a friendship at some point in their lives. Sometimes it's personal, and sometimes it's not. However, if you're feeling blue as a result of a friendship breakup, consider the tips in this article as a way to cheer up and move on.
Have you experienced a friendship breakup?
Definition of and Reasons for a Friendship Breakup
A friendship breakup is the parting of two friends, either voluntarily on both sides or initiated by one side. It can be amicable or filled with emotion, an easy decision or a hard one.
Sometimes we break up with a friend just because we've moved on to a new stage of our lives--perhaps one person has children and the other doesn't--or because the friend is a toxic drain on our time and feelings. Or, perhaps we are the friend being broken up with!
If it's a long-term friendship, a breakup of the relationship can be devastating no matter the reason. However, it's actually a fairly normal part of life.
According to the article "It's Not Me, It's You: How to End a Friendship," psychologists see the dropping of friendships as "an inevitable life stage, a point where people achieve enough maturity and self-awareness to know who they are and what they want out of their remaining years, and have a degree of clarity about which friends deserve full attention and which are a drain." The process even has a name: socioemotional selectivity theory.
If it doesn't make you feel better to know it's been studied and is fairly common, keep reading for more tips on how to cheer up in the face of it!
A Toxic Relationship: One Reasons Why Friendships End
Understanding Why the Friendship Ended as a Way to Cope
Every relationship ends for a reason, and not just under a "well it wasn't meant to be" logic. Behind every relationship's end there is a real, psychological motivation.
If a friendship breakup is causing you pain, whether you are the one who initiated it or the one who was on the receiving end, spend some time reflecting on why the relationship ended. Even if it doesn't make the pain of losing a friend less, it may easier to resolve your feelings more quickly if you understand the why.
Was your relationship based merely on past shared experiences, rather than current commonalities? Was one of you too much of a taker, rather than giving and taking in the friendship? Was the friendship based on mutual respect and support, or on competition?
Once you pinpoint the reason the friendship breakup occurred, you can move on--and not make that mistake the next time around.
Focusing On Other Friendships and Hobbies as a Way to Cope
Another way to cheer up after a friendship breakup is to focus on strengthening your remaining friendships and focusing on hobbies to take your mind off any confusion or loneliness you might feel.
Moving on from one friendship can open to the door to a broader, truer friendship with another person, and all you needed to do was spend more time with him or her. Building new friendships can also introduce you to a wider range of acquaintances, new hobbies, and new experiences.
Developing a new hobby or throwing yourself into an existing one is also an excellent way to cope. Engaging in activities that you know give you pleasure will raise your mood and likely be a way to meet new people (unless your preferred hobbies are solitary ones, such as reading or writing).
Once you begin doing activities you truly enjoy and cultivating other friendships, you will see that losing the other friendship was not the end of the world--and you can still be cheerful and happy with a full life.
Books on Coping with Friendship Breakups and Finding New Friends
Moving on After a Friendship Breakup
A friendship breakup can be very painful, yes--but it's not the end of the world. Focus on your family, your remaining friendships, and your passions, and the pain will fade in time.
If you've made a choice to exclude someone from sharing in your life, you likely did some soul-searching and have a good reason, so don't feel guilty for making a choice that was right for you at the time. If you are the friend who has been excluded, realize that your self-worth isn't invested in just that one friendship--you have other rich friendships and relationships to cultivate and enjoy.