Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HOW TO SURVIVE A FRIEND BREAK-UP....

About six months ago I quickly scribbled a bunch of thoughts I felt inspired to share on a piece of paper, then I folded it in half and stuck it behind a box for a time I was ready. I found it tonight, so I think it's time. It's probably going to be long.

They say that breaking up is hard to do... there is a wealth of information out there on how to deal with the end of a romantic relationship, divorce or a separation with a lover. But what about when something goes wrong in an important friendship? It's a topic that I haven't seen a lot of talk about. I am ready to talk about it.

A friend break-up can be just as traumatic as the unraveling of a romantic relationship... we are left with a lot of loose ends, and the end of a friendship can dramatically change the landscape of your life, particularly if you live far away from your family...


where you will watch the superbowl...
who your kids play with...
who you will run with on Saturday mornings...
who you call when your baby has a high fever and you don't know what to do...
who you sit with at lunch...
or even who you follow on instagram and facebook...

It also has complexities, as it often leaves mutual friends in the awkward position of choosing sides, or changes the dynamic of a once tight knit group... 

A loss of a friend can be like a death, leaving you with a large void, one that takes time to fill, one that must be grieved, one that has to be healed, one that has to be learned from.

I would love to tell you this has never happened to me... and yet, beyond my efforts to keep all my friendships healthy and whole, I'm sorry to say, it has happened.  It has been some of my life's deepest sorrows to lose a good friend, for reasons that in some instances that have been beyond my control, or whose fate led to lives leading in different directions, and though it's hard to own, have been part of my own doing a particular time or two.

There are many reasons why a friendship crumbles. There is pride, betrayals of trust, competitive and jealous tendencies, there is neediness or co-dependency, negativity, unkindness and a lack of respect, spreading of gossip... true and untrue, dishonesty and on and on.  Some situations might be of a much more complicated nature. Perhaps two people can no longer be friends because of associations to other people, family members, spouses, close associates etc. And other times, there may be friends that have a toxic interaction, and they just don't bring about the best in each other. There are millions of individual situations and scenarios, but whatever the reason of the down fall, whether it was mutual, whether you were the defriend-er, or the defriend-ee, it is hard and heartbreaking.

If you have never experienced a falling out with a friend, I want to congratulate you! (Please inform us on how you have managed to do so in the comment section below;)) However, I have a feeling that most of us, at one time or another have gone through such an experience. We're humans, we're complex and complicated, co-dependent, emotions run deep, feelings get messy, we're insecure, self centered, self-conscious and imperfect.

As I sit here and type, please know this is a vulnerable topic for me, as I attempt to write with honesty, from the heart. I write in hopes to give someone struggling a portion of hope, a little peace of mind, to know they are not alone, and that there is a light at the end of the friend break-up tunnel, and perhaps to offer a few thoughts that have come to me in my own experience.

Maybe not particularly in this order:

1.) GREIVE: It hurts... our hearts, our minds, our fragile egos. I think it's necessary to allow ourselves the permission to feel our feelings. To cry it out, feel sad, mad, bad, broken, confused, pitiful or empty. Write it down, scream it out, punch a pillow, eat a carton of cookie dough ice cream. I've given myself a certain amount of time to dwell on it, I've even tried to give myself a deadline "pity party it up for an hour then get on with it". Perhaps you have to do this over and over again. I find supressing emotion is counter-productive, and yet I also find rehashing and constantly dwelling in the pain of the past can also keep us from moving into the light. Like all things, we have to find a balance between the suppression and the dwelling... difficult. Good luck...

2.) REFLECT HONESTLY: Think about it, reflect, do your best to be honest with yourself. This part may be difficult initially, but in time you may find it easier to be subjective. Most situations are rarely one sided, "what is my part?" Is a question I have asked myself. What issues, behaviors or situations did we bring to the table? And if you can, or when you can, try to put yourself in the other persons shoes. There are two sides to every story. Try to see the picture from their perspective... how would it feel to be them? I have found this very effective in finding compassion, especially in times of anger. Remember "in the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see". I love one of the seven habits taught by Stephen R. Covey "Seek first to understand and then to be understood". 

3.) DON'T OBSESS: Right after I say reflect, I will also say this, do your best to not obsess. Perhaps you are one of those people who washes their hands clean of the person, and can say good riddance and move along completely detached of emotion (or denial of emotion), again, I would congratulate you! For the rest of us, when the situation is fresh, and we sift through our initial reactions and feelings, this is especially challenging. You may feel defensive and want to speak your mind to the person, resist. We may try to fix it, change it, control it and we will find that those efforts often make things worse.   Replaying the events of the fall out, things they said or did, things you said or did, things you wish you wouldn't have said or done. Often our thoughts become like a hamster running on a hamster wheel, repetitive, exhausting, leading to no where... stuck. I know sometimes I over dramatize things on the stage of my brain. Also I have learned, it is best to never assume. If there is something you don't know, you don't know! Try not to construct imaginary details... accept unknowns. Often times we want to know WHY?! We want a reason, and yet we may never find reasons or answers that will satisfy us. Like Demi says "give your heart a break" and give your mind a break, be conscious of your thoughts. In the few situations I have been in, I have found that I have really had to develop self control and awareness with my thoughts. I have learned to question the validity of my thoughts. My mom would always tell us to ask ourselves "is that thought true?". Thoughts are powerful and often dictate our life! 

4.) UN-FOLLOW: This one goes hand in hand with "don't obsess". With social media at it's peak, we are constantly aware of what each other are doing, with updates happening every hour. We may be tempted to "stalk" or check out what our old friend may be up to. I'm suggesting that it's not the best idea. Whether you are feeling particularly raw and tender about the situation, Or you may have made progress with moving on... seeing a picture on instagram or a status update pop up on your feed from your old friend, or friends hanging out with out you will likely feel like a little stab to the heart. I have experienced this before, and sometimes it would derail my day, or would take me a few hours to shake it off. Maybe I am overly sensitive, probably. If you are too,  do yourself a favor and as high school-ish as it sounds, unfollow or de-friend the individual (or individuals) on your social networking platforms that trigger heartache or propel you into a funk. Don't make a scene, don't do it to be catty or hurtful to the other person, but to protect your heart, and your thoughts and your efforts for progress... To help you move forward, and let them move forward. 

5.) HAPPY TOOLS: My grandma always told us to "find our happy tools" when we were sad. Happy tools are anything that help you turn your frown upside down. For me music has always been a happy tool, playing the piano has been my therapy through out my life. Or dancing in my living room or taking a drive, rolling down the windows and blasting a pop song like "party in the USA". I also love a good project that requires focus and invigorates my mind without wearing it out... painting, styling a shelf, re-arrange furniture. Pulling weeds, gardening, cooking, hanging out with kids, giving service, getting a pedicure and yes, trips to Target and shopping are all helpful little pick-me ups when we are feeling blue from our situation. Figure out what your happy tools are, write them down on a list, refer to them when you are bummin' out. 

6.) PRAY OR MEDITATE: I'm a pray-er. I am one of those people that prays about almost everything. And in the instance of friend break-ups, I have found prayer to be one of the most comforting and relieving remedies to my soul. If I have a moment alone, I especially love to pray out loud, speaking honestly and earnestly with God, expressing my struggle, asking for understanding, asking for healing, asking for the ability to let go, to forgive, to move on and find peace, and to try to find gratitude for the lessons I am trying to learn from the trial. And when I am unable to pray out loud, I pray on the inside, whenever or wherever I am. Somedays it feels like I am praying all day, and like I'll never be ready to say amen. Some situations may be beyond us, and we can't do it alone. I can't. I would highly recommend prayer. However, If you aren't into all that, then meditate, find quiet moments to give your struggles to the universe, or to find serenity in nature, walk, drive to the ocean, swing on the swings in the park.  Personally I do both, pray and meditate. Yoga is also a very peaceful practice that can also sooth and center the anguished spirit.

7.) DON'T GOSSIP: Resist the urge to talk about the situation with everyone you know. We all need someone to talk to, but limit it to a trusted individual, a parent, spouse or someone removed from the situation, like a counselor if need be (I endorse healthy counseling). This can become murky territory, we sometimes think that it's our right or responsibility to share what happened with others indirectly involved or not involved, and sometimes we convince ourselves that it is our duty to spread the word, we even may tell ourselves that we are doing a noble thing. It's not. There are those delicate occasions when we do have to share, and it is necessary, and those situations require sensitivity. We have to be honest with ourselves about who really needs to know, and how much they need to know. I have been imperfect in this arena, and have regretted telling the wrong person the wrong thing, a hard lesson I have learned. RESPECT mutual friendships, try to not contaminate, recruit or ruin the relationships that your friends may have with the other person. If it is not between them, it's not between them. You may have to be prepared with a simple answer to questions you may get from mutual parties. And even though the friendship might be over, you may feel angry or justified, don't betray confidences the person previously placed in you, revealing secrets or personal information. There are of course, exceptions to every situation... but, try hard, don't gossip. 

8.) APOLOGIZE & FORGIVE: Wow this one can be hard. Forgiveness is one of those principles that is often both oversimplified and yet overcomplicated. I take this one back to prayer. There are times we feel we are unable to extend forgiveness, or we have yet overcome our pride or recognize that we need to say sorry for our part. We have to come to this place with sincerity for it to become effective. I find it takes time, a long time even. There is one particular situation I found myself in years ago where I had a falling out with a close friend, we didn't speak for two years. I didn't know if I could ever let go. I wondered if I would be able to overcome my feelings. I read books, prayed and sought for the change of heart. But it wasn't until I had received a heartfelt letter of apology and reconciliation from my old friend that my heart was softened, I was surprised by how much it healed me, I wanted to reciprocate with my apologies. We were actually able to repair the relationship and are friends again today. Now I am not saying that this should or would be the case for every fallen friendship, some things are meant to be over, but I will say that taking proactive steps towards forgiveness and acknowledging our part is something that will help us find closure and ultimate healing. If you are able, perhaps after the passing of time, and emotions have settled, a simple heartfelt note of apology or forgiveness can do wonders. Of course, as I mentioned before, every situation is different. If there is a risk to potentially re-open a door that should remain closed or cause further pain by sending the wrong message, then maybe you can write the note without sending, as a way to find expression and peace within yourself. 

9.) LET IT BE: It's amazing how much peace can be found in surrendering to that which we cannot change or control. This is also difficult, but it can also be easier than we make it. I was counseled once by a very wise man about a set of trials that were consuming me. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I told him I just didn't think I could let it all go. He held up a pen, and then he quite simply, let it go. I watched it drop, I insisted that it wasn't that easy. He had me do it, I held the pen, and then I opened my hand and let it go. I felt silly. But suddenly I got it, I applied the same principle to the problem in my mind and suddenly, I let it go. It didn't necessarily change the situation, but then again, neither did worrying, obsessing, replaying and stressing about it all. But it did change me. Quite frequently I would pick back up the thing I let go of... I would just have to let it go and let it be, over and over again. Things will be what they will be. We do our part and then we must let it be. I have sung that song a few hundred times. It has become natural for me to sing and say each word with conviction, a message of faith "there will be an answer... let it be".

10.) GIVE IT TIME: Time is a healer. Nothing changes us and the situation quite like time does. Because as time passes and everything changes, so do we, things fade into the distance, other things become more important and demand our attention and energy, we gain clarity and perspective, and yet our memory becomes a bit foggy of the details that we thought we'd never forget... thankfully. Time proves our resilience and helps us turn a painful experience into wisdom. Give it time, and then give it some more time... things will get better.

11.) MOVE ON: Try oh try to move on. Learn from the situation, from your mistakes, write things down that you would never do again, and the things you will do differently moving forward. Create new boundaries for yourself, for your friendships. Be open, but go slow as you re-open your heart to new people and new friends. Believe that there will be other people, that will be better suited for you, and you for them, that will be healthier and better friendships, that will support you. Try to be positive, adopt optimism over pessimism, and exude that energy with the people that you meet. Be authentic, be you! Be a good listener, be the type of friend you want to have. Resist dragging your old baggage into your new friendships. You may feel scared, you may feel like you want to hyperventilate into a paper bag, you may feel like hiding under the bed like a little kid. Of course, you may feel vulnerable in social situations. I do, at 30 years old I still get that nervous feeling in the pit of my tummy when I throw a party, or invite friends over to my house, or send a text, wondering if the person will respond. That's just the scars... it's ok. 

47 comments:

  1. This post is helping my heart heal. Thank you so much for sharing your words. A friend and I had a falling out related to my wedding and it's been very hard to "let go". It's been a year and a half and I'm still trying to work myself through it. It seems that I'm in one of the situations where the friendship can't be repaired, but I really want to get all of those hard feelings out of my heart. Thank you again. :) -Alexandra www.simplyalexandramyfavoritethings.blogspot.com

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    1. Alexandra, I am sorry. It is hard, I feel for ya. I really hope over time you find some of the peace you seek after, I understand it takes a while to rid ourselves of the residual negative feelings that build up in our hearts. I hope the best for you. thank you for reading and for taking a second to share what you are going through

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  2. This is a fabulous post...one I needed a LOT today! Thanks for your wisdom and candor! I have applied several of your suggestions, but the reminders were powerful and peace-provoking for me today. Thank you, Brooke!

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  3. Oh, Brooke...this post could not have come at a better time as I am going through a "friend break up" myself. I recently wrote a post about it too, and can relate to pretty much everything you outlined here. Thank you for sharing. Miss ya, lady. <3

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    1. Liz my friend, man I am sorry you are in the throws of the friend break-up, it really can bring ya down. I will have to go read your post. I sure hope that things start feeling a little better for you one day at a time. Great to hear from you, miss you too! hugs x

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  4. Brilliant article. You are a gifted writer and your comments really hit close to home for me. Thanks.

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  5. i've had some "Friend break-ups" in he past and though i worked threw those and know they weren't good friends. i've recently had a "friend break-up" that hurt and stumps me..

    we came back for a moment recently then just .. broke again? that mixed with "life issues" i've had a hard time dealing the last 6 months. .. hell year i guess... I know when we first cracked I realized and took some blame. sent a "i'm sorry for my part and i forgive you" note.. i know after this 2nd round of "silence" started.. I tried to get a hold of them .. drunk o.O... and did spin the wheel over and over (can help it) and then later down the road someone told me "it was okay to grieve and give it time" that i was "not acting crazy".. and that really got me through a REALLLY hard moment. .. .. i did realize that what happen happened and what was was.. (however i think a part of me was putting a front). i did crack with everything .. this and my other life stuff just recently and cried but i said what i had to stay in the truest unguarded form .. and how a little of this mixes with a little of that. ... i guess now time is my friend.. i realize i have my scars with new people and have to get over that.

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    1. p.s. i'm 29 so right there with ya :)

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    2. so sorry to hear about your friendship and life stuggles. you know my 29th year was one of my hardest too. But here I am at 30, and I think I've finally started to turn a corner, so don't give up hope! yes, grieving is healing, and yes so is time, and absolutely you will never be the same. Life is hard, hang in there, thank you for sharing!

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  6. I would also add from experience to be always be courageous it sounds odd. Why would you need courage after a loss of a friend. I did and after what i refer to as the divorce..( long story,but Involved both the husbands and wives) they decided to alert the world of our separation. My husband and i kept the loss of our closest friends to ourselves. It seemed like a good idea no gossiping, or forcing friends to choose sides. Which as you stated can be toxic. They chose to speak about it to everyone... causing hurt, and rumors. I became afraid of activities where mutual friends may be. Friends parties, gatherings, even the grocery store on Saturday night, church outings, and school activities etc...i was treated unfairly.
    After 2 years of what i consider adult bullying. ...yes it exists. I took back my courage for i had given it to them. It was harder than alot of things ive done in my life. Still 3 years later ive only told our side of the story to only a few people, but sadly most dont belive it now. Its ok...we know the truth, and i now go where i want when i choose.
    Thank you for your words and tender feelings. I dont even write on...especially strangers social outlets, but felt i would like add courage to your wonderful list. It is one thing i needed and over time gained. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. wow, I am so sorry to hear of your very unfortunate situation. Thank you for sharing both your story, and your addition of courage. I can relate in some ways to your experience. You are absolutely right, at some point we can't allow people to control our lives, bully us into living a fearful existence or steal our happiness and right to move on. Good for you for taking your courage and your lives back, it's no easy task, but a lot of growth can come from it! someone tweeted me this quote, I thought it was well said "knowing who you are is the best defense against who they think you are". hang in there!

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  7. Brooke, this is a wonderful post. About a year and a half ago, I was dealing with a difficult friendship. It was breaking my heart to the point that I got very sick. I searched and searched for articles, advice, or books about friendship break ups and found very little. I did find one book that helped a bit, but it wasn't exactly what I needed. Ultimately, journaling was the thing that helped me the most. Just writing out my feelings seemed to relieve some of the pain and burden I was carrying. It was almost as if by writing down exactly how I felt was like leaving the issues on the paper. It was therapeutic and I was grateful. The friendship is still complicated today and it certainly isn't the same, strong friendship we once had, but I've got a new perspective and different expectations which is helping me to move on. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about this!

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    1. so sorry to hear of your heartache. I would have to agree with you, writing is incredible healing and therapeutic, hence my writing this post:) It really does help to sort things out doesn't it? I appreciate you reading and sharing Marilyn, I wish you the best of luck as your continue to move on!

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  8. Brookie- thank you for sharing this! I recently had the experience of being the offender (horrifying and completely unintentional). I decided to express my gratitude to my friend fro wanting to talk to me about the offense, for trusting me enough to believe and hope I was mature enough to understand and work on the problem and then I whole-heartedly apologized and gave no excuses. I determined that although when I looked at it, there were circumstances and reasons the offense had occurred, in the end she was hurt and I owed her an apology. I did follow pretty much all of your steps and we were able to work it out. We are still friends, which I am very happy about. Also, I did a lot of reflection and tried to file away ideas for how to prevent this in the future. I also hope that I will be more understanding of others in the future, especially because it is difficult to truly know what anyone is going through at any time, even when you are good friends. Thank you for being such a good friend to me. I hope that you are doing well!

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    1. Michayle you are amazing and humble. This was inspiring to read. I am impressed with your ability and courage to just work it out, and even though it was not your intention, not make any excuses and just truly listen and apologize, those are some true friendship skillz. You have always been an authentic and sincere person, and though we hardly see or get to talk, we are soul sisters, love ya Michayle. You're awesome.

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  9. Brooke, this was an amazingly well-thought out entry. I will admit, I sobbed a bit (I guess I'm still in the grieving stages) but I appreciated how you poured your heart out so much so that I don't feel alone in such circumstances. And I don't feel bad for crying or even feeling like I'm making this a big deal or being overly-dramatic. We're all entitled to feeling what we do and though I'm trying to find my balance between suppression and dwelling, it's not easy. I pray a lot too. I ask God for guidance and help; I ask for support and at the moment He's shown me a path where I just need to focus on myself and work hard at what I want. Through all the hard work, I have been blessed with those who have come into my life and that helps with the pain. I feel like for every one person who leaves, a whole bunch more come in and they become an amalgamation of everything that missing friend filled for you. Of course, that being said, no one is ever really replaced because we're all so different but we do get close. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you're doing well and taking care!

    // Tania (@westlifebunny on Twitter)

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  10. Had this experience a few years ago and it still hurts! One thing I did that helped was write a very long letter to my friend in which I wrote everything that was in my mind and heart. I had been terribly wronged and my heart was broken and I was angry. Because of the circumstances I was questioning many other relationships and doubting myself on all fronts. Needless to say, the letter was not very nice, but it helped me sort through my thoughts and emotions. After I finished writing, I burned the letter and threw the ashes into the wind. It helped, but I'm still healing.

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  11. Yep, this was exactly what I needed. I had a yucky "break up" with my three best friends from college about two years ago. I thought I was doing okay with it until one of them decided to invite me to her wedding out of the blue (we literally have not spoken a word in two years). Talk about reopening a wound...ouch. Part of me wanted to go to the wedding to rub in their faces how amazing I'm doing without them...but that was the jealous, hurt, sad part of me thinking. I've decided to not go to the wedding, because I know that opening the door with these girls (the other two are her bridesmaids) will cause much more hurt than it's worth. I'm going to be strong and move on! I'll definitely be using these tips to help me in the process.

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  12. Brooke, I first learned about you when I watched one of the family friend walmart movies, and said, " Mom she has hair like me just blond!!! And its super cute how she does it!!! And she has an amazing voice" YOu are an amazing lady. I love the values you follow and strive for. I am a latter day saint also and it is cool to see someone who is famous still holding to the iron road. Your a daughter of a king!!!
    Alexandra

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  13. I watched you on Idol, listened to all of your music I could, and it is true, I can not watch you sing and not smile. But, this is the most beautiful thing you have ever written. You are a gift from God.

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  14. Brooke, I would just like to thank you so SO much for this post...
    About 5 months ago, I had a fight with a very close friend of mine, and he was, and is still is, a very important person to me, so with him breaking off our friendship, it's been very hard for me; there would be times when I can finally feel that things are finally picking up, and then when I find something out about them, it just all goes back down to ground zero. I still find it hard to let go and move on.

    I have to be honest, I became very emotional while reading your post, but after reading it, I've realized that there are indeed things that I can try to do so that I can finally fully move on...yet the other half of me just doesn't seem to be somehow ready yet.

    I think one of the main reasons why it's hard for us to let go and move on is because we've always had hope: we keep clinging on to that short, thin string of hope, thinking over and over again that there's still a chance that things can be better or back to normal between you and the friend...

    But anyhow, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for such wonderful words. This is just exactly what I am in need of reading; I hope you know just how much people you've helped just by making this post.

    x

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  15. Thanks for write this, greetings from Peru :)

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  16. ...and sometimes friends just grow apart. Interests, activities and whole lives change. It is sad and you must grieve, but it is a part of discovering who you really are.

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  17. Loving the honesty about a topic many of us don't address as we get older. The part about controlling your thoughts really hit home- I get caught up in controlling what comes out of my mouth and my actions so much that I completely forget to reign in the inner thought process of the situation (which can often take over and leave me reeling all over again!) For me, this wasn't a friend 'falling out' but a friend with a different path at this point in her life and me finally giving up and realizing that a relationship cannot be only one-sided. It was a long slow process of realizing this and although I hate to lose a friend I've had for 10+ years, it is what it is. Finally I am coming to some closure but this post really helped, especially to know others are going through the same thing (at almost 30). Thanks again.

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  18. I thought I was the only one going through this at this point in my life. It's reassuring to know that i'm not alone in my feeling of emptiness and trying to understand why I feel so sad. I wish I could be back to normal and continue loving life. Right now, I just want to shut the world out and be anti social. The fear I guess of being hurt, hurting someone, or even loving someone because I feel like I can't offer anyone love at this moment. I am idle...I am cold....I am emotional and in a way, i'm ashamed of my sadness and lack of emotion.

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  19. I really needed this today. Going through this time as we speak. I felt as though God literally sent me this amazing friend and within a period of about 5 months I realize that I can't handle the negativity anymore. I keep looking to my husband for answers and I know I need to take it to God and just let it go. Completely. Thank you for this I really needed to read it! God bless you!

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  20. What a sweet and heartfelt post. I hopped over from Ashley's site today (I took her fam pics 2 years ago), and I must say, I've thought about how to write a post like this a million times. With my friends, I love hard, maybe too hard...I treat them like family, and sometimes I think they feel smothered. I've got life long friends, and I don't understand why my newer friends don't want to invest in a true friendship as I do. I'm often left hurt and confused, and don't understand how to treat the friendship without just completely letting go because it hurts too much too hold onto false hope. I have this need to be needed by my friends, but most of them have a sister or mother that they lean on...and just don't need me. I don't have that. I'm grateful for a husband that understands and supports me in this struggle, because friend relationships are one of the things in life that I feel way too much pain from, and I don't know how to escape it. I then try to re focus, brush off, and move on.

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  21. I needed this...thank you. The pain is too much sometimes especially when you think of the fun you had with someone but then you realize that you are hurting because that person just said ok I'm moving on and provides no closure....

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  23. ah brooke, i thought you wrote about this on girls with glasses but this is the real meaty post. it takes a lot of courage to have write all that you have and it is literally one of the most painful experiences i have been through. i love your tips. i love your honesty and rawness about the whole thing. and funny thing, i wrote a little bit about my experience an called it "let it be" because in the end, that was all i could do. great post.

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  24. I had a horrible friend breakup several years ago. My former bestie hurt me more than any man ever has. I could tell she was looking to move on, to that fun exciting party crowd in the neighborhood we live in. Just like high school! In addition, both our boys were the same age, and she is fiercely competitive. Our older boys always had a love-hate relationship, and one day her son punched mine in the stomach. I called her to talk about it and that was it. Over and done. I'm sure she was looking for an out, and this was her opening. But I was devastated. We were so close. To make things worse, we were part of the same circle of friends.

    Looking back, I was blinded by her over the top personality, her complements, her phoniness. Because all the attention was on me. After she moved on, I saw her "wooing" other women, much like she did with me. She has a new bestie, but I don't think it is as intense as our friendship because there aren't as many common factors, esp like we had with our boys.

    I've had a few "friend breakups" in my life, and they have all hurt, but none as much as this one--probably because I'm older, and though we've all moved on from superficiality. I'm much more cautious in my friendships now, and definitely don't give as much of myself anymore. I keep busy with my kids, work, and running. I guess I'm trying to protect myself from ever being hurt that much again. Thanks for posting this. I wish I had something to read like this when it happened. I felt like such a loser at the time. Seriously, people understand grief over a death or divorce, but a friend breakup?

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  25. wow, what a brave post. it is so hard, sometimes, to admit that we lose friends. and it is just like another breakup, and the process of loss and grief is important to acknowledge. i had a "close call" with one of my best friends in the whole world, but over time - with honesty and forgiveness - we were able to pull out of it. but i love reading this, knowing that it happens to other people as well. xo

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  26. Thanks for this Brooke. I am going through a break-up that I cannot understand. According to my now ex-friend, it was over some issues that I thought were resolved, because we talked through them and I apologized and asked her forgiveness... and the other issues to my mind were trivial, senseless and based on her suspicions.

    The balancing act of dwelling and obsessing is tough for me. I am so hard on myself for being duped all these years into thinking that she cared about the friendship as much as I had. From the beginning there were obvious signs of the kind of person she really is, but I chose to forgive and move past them.

    What hurts most is the callousness with which she can just de-friend me and move on...she seems to be happy and here I am miserable and lonely. How could I have been so blind and wrong? I don't form close friendships easily and this was my first really close friendship. Now it's over.

    As you suggested, I need to grieve and give it time- focus on other things that make me happy and on the potential friendships that may come knocking on my door. Thanks so much for your insight and candor. This really helps.

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    1. I'm going through something very similar, some time ago I knew a guy and we became best friends or at least that's what he made me think but now he pushed me away because he said I demanded too much and that I am very dedicated to my friends and he could not be like that, and this came up because we had a discussion in wich I told him, I didn't feel he was being honest to me and that he didn't care for me as a friend.
      but the thing is, it really hurts because I truly consider that I've done too much for him, I always looked after him, and I always were there for him when he needed me and now he just said it was too much and he needed to stay away... but that we were not going to stop being friends but only things would change. and now I'm so mad at him because I don't consider fair to have just a piece of what it used to be, just a little bit of my old friend, just in some cases or what does that mean?
      but on the other hand I really love him and I am afraid to loose him.
      right now I feel very confused and don't know what to do =(

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    2. I'm going through something very similar, some time ago I knew a guy and we became best friends or at least that's what he made me think but now he pushed me away because he said I demanded too much and that I am very dedicated to my friends and he could not be like that, and this came up because we had a discussion in wich I told him, I didn't feel he was being honest to me and that he didn't care for me as a friend.
      but the thing is, it really hurts because I truly consider that I've done too much for him, I always looked after him, and I always were there for him when he needed me and now he just said it was too much and he needed to stay away... but that we were not going to stop being friends but only things would change. and now I'm so mad at him because I don't consider fair to have just a piece of what it used to be, just a little bit of my old friend, just in some cases or what does that mean?
      but on the other hand I really love him and I am afraid to loose him.
      right now I feel very confused and don't know what to do =(

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  27. Thank you for this, I am recently going through this and it is like killing me and stabbing me in the heart. I break down a lot because of it and I know I haven't been dealing with it in the best way, very unhealthy. But your blog gives me hope that I will see the light in the end.

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  29. Thank you! This is helping me understand.

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  30. Thank you miss white! This post has helped me understand more. Me and my bestfriend had such a huge fall out over a guy that it seemed like things would never get better. In fact, it feels like I'm putting in more effort than she is. But today, I'm going to follow your advice and just let it be. I've done all i could and now i think I'm slowly beginning to let go of the past.

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  31. Thank you so much for this article. One of my closest friends ended our friendship about 7 months ago after a conflict. I was so devastated. I can't believe how hard and heartbreaking this experience has been. I have replayed everything, apologized for my part and more times then I can remember I've given it to God (only to take it back). I've never experienced someone once so close being so cold and basically saying my family and I are better without you and your family in our lives! I know I need to move on and I'm working on it I'm happy in my life and exciting things are happening for my family. Sometimes though exciting and happy times makes it harder. I'm 8 weeks pregnant and I've thought so many times about wanting to call or text and share my excitement. But I've stomached all the rejection I can handle and as much as I miss what was I know I can't get it back. Anyways thank you for the advice and re-assurance! It's so very appreciated!

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  32. So many comment and so many stories :( I am so sorry that all of us have experienced such pain.
    When I was reading the first few sentences, I was shocked cause those were exactly my thoughts and to see someone with the same feelings is so rare nowadays, especially when someone who has been your closest friend doesn't have a single common thought with you now.

    I don't even know why I am writing this comment. I just can't help it. I feel like I need to spill it all out.
    My way of working through the break up was trying my best to fix it, cause the person who turned me down was way to close to me to just lose her. I knew she could be offensed of me and I tried reaching out to her several times, apologizing every single way I could. I got obsessed with apologizing even for things I never did. It was my way of fighting for her.

    But she just told me straight: we can't ever be friends.

    I feel like a teenage girl who has be dumped by her boyfriend and who is writing cheesy loveletters :((

    I am lost now. I saw her yesterday and in spite of her fake politeness and kisses, I felt so offended myself after all my struggle. I felt there was nothing left between us but awkwardness...

    There are even no more tears to cry out...

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  33. Thank you for this article. I think I'm in this situation, but what hard is we're living in the same house. It's hard that we're seeing each other but we're not talking. I love her and I don't want to lose her. It just happened that I got jealous with one of our friends, because the closeness and sweetness that she's showing to me before are all gone now. And I see that she's doing that with our friends, and it really gave me a stab in my heart. It hurts..soooo much. I told her that she don't care about my feelings anymore. And I learned that she don't want me to be too attached with her. But I don't know how to let her go. Actually I don't want to do it. But it seems that she already gave up on me. I'm still wishing that she will talk to me again. It's really hard for me, away from my family and living with my bestfriend and her family in abroad. I feel so alone. :(

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