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All relationships are challenging but one of the most challenging and least talked about breakups is the break up with a close friend. Many of us have friends we have know from high-school or maybe even older friendships our parents set us up with before grade school. We form close bonds with our friends as we grow up and believe that these relationships will last forever. Unfortunately the chances of your childhood friendships lasting is 1% according to a recent study by researchers from Florida Atlantic University. The reason that relationships started in childhood don't last is because we have not become who we are going to be as adults and neither has the friends we've chosen. As we grow up into adulthood our priorities transition from being a child whose life is about school and fun to careers and or building families for ourselves. Most friendships fall apart simply because they grow apart. Sometimes that growth apart can be a difference in maturity, priorities or life goals. Either way it can sometimes be a painful experience for both parties and can be difficult to move on from. Here are 4 ways to move on from a break up with a close or best friend.
1. Don't talk negatively about your old friend to others
If you friendship ended because of betrayal, lack of trust or misunderstandings there may still be lingering tension. Do not feed into the tension walk away gracefully and maturely. You only make the breakup worst for yourself by venting all over town, social media, and common friends about it. It creates unessary drama and hinders your personal progression of healing from the relationship.
If your ex friend does that to you do not participate. It can be hard for some people to deal with slander but it's just a part of life, and conformation that it wasn't a healthy friendship to begin with. You must look past what's been said about you to see the truth about the matter and have sympathy. If your ex friend is out there bad mouthing you its because they are still in pain. It's easier for people to be angry and act out, rather than admitting that they are hurt from the lost of someone they spent a big portion of their life attached to. The only way it makes sense to fight with someone is if you want to go back. It's not worth the time or energy fighting against something you have already left begin. If you have no intentions on returning to the relationship then do not engage in any interactions with your past. Eventually they will move on, and if they don't you will be so far removed from the situation it won't even matter.
2. Let go of replaying negative memories
Often when we become clear about how toxic a friendship actually was to our life we will continuously replay the negative memories of the relationship. This is unhealthy because sitting in negative memories will harden you to new friendships in the future. It will be difficult to trust someone new or open up socially because you will become distrustful and distant to avoid getting hurt again. You have to learn to trust yourself and the wisdom of the experience. You don't have to be afraid of repeating mistakes because your heart will never let you forget. You will take what you learned from that friendship naturally and apply it to how you select friendships in the future.
Instead of ruminating on the negatives things think of the positives and remember your old friend with love. There was a time that your old friend brought happiness and support into your life. You may have experienced a lot of amazing moments together that both of you will never forget. You can chose to be grateful for the good times instead. The base reality of the situation is nothing last forever with anyone. If you can get 10 or more years with someone and half of those years where good it is a blessing. Some people tend to look back on past relationships that have failed so negatively that they write off the entire time as bad. If you omit all of the good out of every relationship that ends you will struggle remembering being happy in your old age. Do not allow any relationship ending to harden your heart past happy memories.
3. Forgive yourself
Letting go of an old friend can be difficult because when we where younger many of us made vows and actual promises to be friends forever. We were too naive to understand that nothing last forever, things change and people change. As we grow up we begin to understand that our friendship may have become toxically codependent because of our beliefs about friendship. Most of us continue to commit ourselves to friendships we know we have outgrown just because we feel a sense of obligation. When we feel obligated to someone we stop hanging out with them because we want to and build resentment against them because we think we have to. Do not lock yourself to promises you made when you lacked the maturity to properly understand your situation.
You must learn to forgive yourself for releasing a relationship that ran past it's expiration date.
Also do not allow others or your ex friend to try and make you feel guilty for releasing the relationship. As much as we like to claim responsibility for each other unless you gave birth to your best friend or married them you are not responsible for them or bound to them in anyway . You are responsible for your own life and sometimes taking control of your life means letting go relationships you are just not happy with.
4. Forgive your old friend
Your friend may have betrayed you, talked bad about you or to you but there's no good reason to hate them even for the worst of things. Hate is a very uncomfortable and unhealthy emotion to live with. When we hate someone the person we hate is not effected no matter how petty we behave against them. The only person who is riled up in anxiety, resonating on past pain, and cannot move on is the person who hates. You have to forgive people who hurt you for you. So that you can move on past the pain and begin again with new people.
Another reason to forgive your old friend is because they are no more perfect than you. It's likely that you have had to learn how to be a good friend by making mistakes as a bad friend yourself. Children and teenagers are practicing relationship but they are not good at them. In most childhood friendships competition, jealousy and emotional abuse of each other continuously play out. Some people mature from these toxic behaviors and a lot of people don't.
The people who don't are the ones most traumatized from the experience. Friends who hurt and betray us as adults usually feel like they never accomplished to come out on top of these situations as an adolescent so they continue to play them out into adulthood. It may not be easy but try to be understanding and less judgmental of people who have not yet healed from their past pain.
Now that you are out of the relationship with your past friend it's time to focus on yourself. Use your new found freedom and experience to make better choices in the future and to be a better friend to yourself and others.