broken friendships

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By Request, 10 Ways to Heal a Broken Friendship

Published June 17, 2013 by Maryanne


When I wrote of a broken friendship a few days ago, a fellow blogger asked if I’d write a post about how I’m dealing with it, as a way to give advice to someone she loves who is dealing with the same thing.

I said that I’d write something once I heal a little, but truth be told, once you care about someone deeply and that bond is broken, you may never heal completely. But you can do things to make yourself feel better (as well as things NOT to do because they will make you feel worse). So, here is a little list of I’ve come up with. If anyone wants to share their ideas too, please do so.

1. Be honest, if you need to break away, do so, but do it gently. Everyone likes to end things differently. Some like to fade out of a friendship that may have become toxic. Me, I like closure, so I went for it. But do so in a loving way. Let the person know that you care and always will. Leave the door open for reconnection if it’s meant to be. People do change for the better. If something isn’t working out right now, there’s always hope that it can again someday. If not, you will just have to deal with it as a way of life, as some people are stubborn and not very forgiving.

2. Get your feelings out asap. After you let your friend know why the relationship needed a break or wasn’t working anymore, do share with a few close trusted friends, as well as your partner or significant other. Now, this does not mean gossip. It just means that you need to vent, that your side of the story needs to be heard by someone. Get it out, and trust me, you will feel a lot better. Especially when your other friends see your point. And that there is nothing to feel guilty about. You aren’t a bad judge of character. Your friendship was once a good one, you’re both just in different places right now. Hey, it happens.

3. Do not slander. Don’t trash your ex-friend on the internet using her name. Someone did that to me once, years ago, using my full name, and I haven’t had the heart to face this person again even after she apologized. I forgave her. I’ll chat with her on the phone. And who knows, maybe some day I will see her again. But that is something that is pretty unforgivable. So don’t do it to someone else. It may feel good at the time, but please keep it in the back of your head, there is always the chance that you may become friends again, so keep the hurt to the other person as minimal as possible. Plus internet slander is libel and it’s considered cyber bullying. Don’t be an asshole, no matter how much you are hurting.

4. Embrace your other friends. While the loss of a friend, especially if it was a best friend and she was around you a lot, creates a void in your life, pay attention to how God (or a higher power or the universe) is opening other doors either to make new friends or strengthen the bond of your other friendships. Interesting, two days after my friendship ended, I heard from another friend I broke up with about six months ago. I also got some really great surprises that made me smile to high heavens. There are a lot of great people out there! And me, I’m not a people person. I truly believe that 90 percent of people I meet in the course of life are boring, rude, self-absorbed and not worth being friends with. Perhaps one percent of people I may like but they don’t like me. So that leaves me with nine percent of people that I DO like and that like me back. That’s a pretty small percentage of people — but WOW, what a percentage they are! Those I connect with never cease to amaze me in how great they are! And I thank God for them on a regular basis. Whenever I am totally down, I think of these nine percent of the population and it immediately lifts my spirits!

5. Do something really nice for someone and don’t tell them. When you do something nice and keep it a secret, you’ll have this incredible high inside you that lasts for days on end. I’m a reporter, so it’s unnatural for me to keep quiet, but when I do, it’s incredibly precious. A few times I came across, by accident, nice things that were written about me on the internet. A few times before I had my own business, people in work left presents on my desk over the years and I never found out who they were from. A few times, I heard through the grapevine that someone I admired defended me for something. No matter how much you are hurting over a lost friendship, the worst thing you can do is believe all people are evil. Just continue being the amazing person you are, it will help you move on. But definitely do this secret thing because there’s some special magic in doing good for another without telling them.

6. Look forward to making up. A true friendship can survive a rough patch. I am friends with a wonderful girl that I’ve known since my 30s. We once had a misunderstanding, didn’t talk for months, then all of a sudden I received a most beautiful letter from her in the mail. She was willing to give our friendship another chance and to this day we are still friends. In fact, now our friendship is better than ever because we are both in such a great place. Perhaps that can be you and the friend you just broke up with. Life is amazing in it’s possibilities and miracles.

7. Was it Buddha or Confucius who said it? I don’t know someone said it … “It’s better to walk a lonely path than be in the company of a fool.” If you’re in a predicament where no one else can take your ex-friend’s place, perhaps it’s time for some alone time. I spent years alone without a good friend, without a love, and believe me these times were super fun. I used to have my Maryanne Days where I’d spend an entire Sunday in NYC, eating in healthy restaurants, buying clothes or CDs or art, going to movies I wanted to see, plays, concerts, etc. Being alone does not mean “loser.” It means the opportunity to fall in love with yourself! I always loved walking many blocks through NYC having these awesome conversations in my head. Sometimes I’d come up with comedic routines I do not have the guts to share with anyone (except maybe my husband). Do not underestimate the power of being alone, it’s a time for major growth. Go for it!

8. Do acquaintances. I used to have a saying, “I don’t do acquaintances.” Which meant that if a friendship wasn’t deep, it wasn’t worth it. I changed my mind. I’ve learned to embrace acquaintances. While a best friend may be a diamond, several acquaintances can be a bunch of little gems in your life that fill a void from time to time. They might not be there through thick or thin. They might not get you completely. They might be annoying. But they do like and enjoy you. And who knows, maybe someday an acquaintance can turn into a friend.

9. Write tips on how to heal a broken friendship. Put your thinking cap on and think of creative ways how you can heal the broken friendship, and then share the tips with others. It’s a win-win!

10. Cry about it. No shame in that. Healing begins once you start getting it out. A good cry is healthy and healing. No need to be pseudo tough — that’s goofy anyway. Whoever said tough is cool was wrong 🙂