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The one thing worse than a breakup? A friendship breakup

Breaking up, between friends, is an underestimated pain

The one thing worse than a breakup? A friendship breakup Breaking up, between friends, is an underestimated pain

Friendships are sacred. Your chosen family. Your ride, or die’s. Your day-one’s. They lift you up in your darkest times, support you through all life's good, bad, and ugly pitfalls, and are your biggest cheerleaders. Friends are the people who are there through everything. These are the people who helped you survive your relationship breakups, the situationship dumpings, and the one-night-stand anxiety. They’re there for you when your partner or family member can’t be. It’s an intimate relationship. They see a side to you that no one else does, where they choose to be your friend. 

What happens when we break up with a friend?

But when we have friendship breakups, we’re not given the same consideration as if we had a breakup with a partner or situationship. In a relationship breakup, there’s a grieving period, where no matter what, you’re allowed to do (pretty much) anything you want, but with friendship breakups, we’re expected to be fine and over it, even when those friendships can be the longest relationships we ever had. When Devrie Brynn took to TikTok to discuss the loss of her friends of over 20 years, she put it perfectly. "We are each other’s keepers. [And] this grief, there’s nowhere for it to go. I’m just expected to go on like nothing happened, and nobody notices that my life partners of 20 years are gone." Devrie’s tearful video conveys the immense hurt and emptiness these breakups leave in our lives, and with over 13,000 comments from other women identifying with her story, there’s more than enough proof that this issue is a common experience. 

@devriebrynn if a friendship breakup has happened to you, you are not alone. I see you. #friendshipbreakups #friendshipbreakup original sound - Devriebrynn

How to overcome the sadness

So, in the face of friendship breakups, it’s important to hold the friendships we do have close. Spend time nurturing your current friendships — loving them, and treating our friends with care.  Friendships are one of the purest forms of relationships. Understanding that sometimes our friendships aren’t forever is one way to cherish the friendships we do have. A famous poem by Brian A. Chalker states, "People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do." Meaning, some friends are meant to be our forever besties, others are meant to bring you a piece of knowledge either about yourself or the world around you, and others are just there for a moment in time, when you needed them, but not longer. As you cherish the friends you have, take a moment to think back about those friendship breakups, it might be comforting to look back and think about why they came into your life — what was the reason? What was the season? Did they help you grow? And what lessons are you taking forward into your next friendships?

Express gratitude and learn 

With the holidays approaching, there’s never a better time to be grateful for the friends you do have around you. Hold them close and let them know what they mean to you, and as we move into the New Year, wish those friends that have gone well and reflect on what they brought you. Maybe they weren’t meant to be lifetime friends, but maybe they did show you what you’re looking for in your life-long partners.