Live Through This

Breakup Breakdown

A guide to navigating the end of a friendship.

3. Group therapy.

Some of the toughest friend breakups are the kinds that take place among more than two people. Maybe you’re trying to slip out of your group of friends, or you don’t like a member of your group with whom everyone else still wants to hang. Either of these situations can be totally insane-making, since you’re not just dealing with your own feelings—you have to respect everyone involved, even if what you really want to do is just start freaking out and yelling GOD ENOUGH OF YOUR DUMB OPINIONS AND ALSO FACE GET AWAY FROM ME ALREADY at the person or people in question whenever you see them. As a rule, that is never really a good idea, just so you know.

In the first situation, you might want to start exploring other friend groups for any number of reasons—you think your current pals exclude, alienate, or are rude to people outside the group, you find yourself no longer interested in the stuff you all do together or talk about, you start developing different opinions from the ones you all used to share, etc. and etc. and etc. These are all valid motivations to not want to hang as much or at all. Leaving a group is one of the only cases in a friend breakup where I think it’s OK to start by doing a slow fade (usually, I think it’s better to try and talk it out first, except in extreme situations)—just start gradually spending less time with your original group of friends. Sit with other people at lunch a few days a week, or go to different sleepovers on the weekends. If your old friends ask you about it, you can tell them that you feel like you haven’t been socializing with other people enough lately. That’s reason enough. Eventually, the old group will get used to doing things without you, and it probably won’t be as hard on them as it was for you, because they all still have one another.

OK, but what if YOU don’t want to leave your group, but you really want someone else to do so? One of our high school Rooks is finding this REALLY annoying right now: “I am currently trying to break up with a friend but it’s sooo hard because she’s good friends with my core group. It’s one of those situations where we’ll be hanging out and I literally can’t relate to her at all and she says these things that are totally against my philosophy. She’s also super-ridiculously pretentious. I don’t even know why I am/have been ‘friends’ with her.”

If you’re in a situation like this, is there someone in the group with whom you’d feel comfortable discussing how you feel? Tread carefully, though: By “discussing,” I mean “being honest about your reservations about this person while respecting that your confidante might not feel the same way,” not “goading your friend into a smear campaign against this person that ends with you two instant-messaging her that she is ugly.” I’m actually very serious about this—no matter how bad a breakup can be, no matter what this person has done or does to you in the process, DO NOT BULLY PEOPLE, not even a little. Take it from us, you will feel HORRIBLE about it later in life, if not immediately.

If your confidante agrees with you of their own volition that the person in question is bringing down your collective friendship, boom, you now have someone to support you in moving away from that person. Another Rookie who is in high school and at the tail end of a similar situation breaks it down thusly: “It’s so helpful [to talk to others] because we feel exactly the same way about some of the things [this girl] does, and it makes us feel like we are not going mad. You are not alone and you won’t have to feel torn between two people like I was before [I talked to my friend about it]. There is a line that you have to be careful not to cross in terms of gossiping about her/him or actually being mean, because it’s not about payback, you know? We’ve talked about it a lot and gotten a lot of how she made us feel off of our chests, and now it’s good to not even mention her and to stop dwelling on it.” Word to exactly all of this.

4. Being the dumpee.

What happens when you find yourself on the other side of all of this—when you are the reluctantly broken-up-with person? Oh, man. I am so sorry if this is the case, because it can be so, so heartbreaking, whether or not your friends mean for it to be. What you need to realize, though, is that happens to EVERY SINGLE PERSON at one point or another, for real. Most friendships don’t end because you are defective in some way, which is sometimes what people think after it happens to them (I know I did)— it’s just what happens, eventually, to every person at least once, especially in middle and high school. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend anymore, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you—it means you are a human being.

If you really examine your behavior—did you do anything resembling the stuff we mentioned above to your friend(s)?—and find that the answer is no, you’re probably going to feel pretty confused and hurt for a little while. Luckily, there are ways to come out of these painful times gracefully while growing into an even better person than you already are in the process. It might be hard to believe right now, but these experiences will help you EVOLVE, like a beautiful and strong Pokémon who can only level up after a battle (god, I am such a poet sometimes). The result of most friendship breakups is this: You end up happier than you would be if you’d stuck with these relationships that no longer fit, no matter how difficult it can be at first. I can personally vouch for this.

In the meantime, you are going to be hurting a lot, and you might be tempted to cling to your ex-friends even though you know they’re not invested in the relationship anymore. Don’t do this, babe, really. (A) It doesn’t work. (B) It’s a misuse of your energy. (C) It distracts you from making new and better friends. (D) It’s…well, embarrassing for you. Really.

How do I know? Well, oof: In the eighth grade, my friends pushed me out of our group. They started ignoring me completely, as well as making fun of me online and spreading nasty rumors about me. It came out of nowhere. I was suddenly completely alone, and so I freaked. Instead of accepting the situation and trying to move on, which would have started my ~healing process~ much sooner, I threw myself at the nonexistent mercies of the person I was once closest with in the group by writing her a three-page letter. In it, I apologized over and over (for what, I didn’t and still don’t know), and was just generally like, “WHATEVER I DID I CAN CHANGE I CAN BE WHOMEVER YOU WANT ME TO BE PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.” Yikes, right? Years later, I’m still kind of cringing about it.

No matter how painful it is when someone ends a friendship with you, what’s even worse is when you GROVEL like I did with that letter, which of course received no response at all. This kind of desperation doesn’t have to take the form of a letter, and your friends don’t have to have been as mean as mine were, to make a similar, too-clingy misstep. Maybe you keep trying to sit with your ex-friends in class, or calling them long after you’ve drifted apart, or writing on their Facebook walls even though you know it’s no use. Stop doing these things immediately, because what IS useful is being a gracious and strong person who is able to realize that even though some people might not want to be friends with you, there are plenty of people out there who do, many of whom you already know.

I began coming to terms with the split by starting a conversation, funnily enough, with someone else my old friends hated. I fell in with her and her friends, who were, thank goodness, infinity times more fun and intelligent than the old group. They became my best friends throughout high school. That never would have happened if I had stuck to writing insecure letters to a person who thought it was awesome to joke about the fact that my family was poor. Instead, KEEP IT MOVING and I promise you will be so much happier, so much sooner. If it’s difficult to make new friends right away at school, get involved in organizations outside of it, which I found hugely helpful as well.

5. General helpful addenda to apply to any/all of the above.

The internet is basically the devil in any friend break-up sitcheation. You might want to do a little Facebook stalking after the break-up at first, and that’s understandable, but try to keep it to a minimum. As Anaheed says, “You should try to limit your internet stalking to, let’s say, 15 minutes a day, then 15 minutes a week, then you realize you forgot to internet-stalk her for a month, and you know you’re over it.”

Don’t be passive-aggressive. Tell someone honestly how you’re feeling whenever possible, because manifesting your frustrations in ways like muttering “YOU WOULD” under your breath while your friend is telling you about their weekend doesn’t actually accomplish anything besides making you look like a whispery weirdo.

There can be a certain awkward variable that I like to call the MOM FACTOR in some older friendships: Maybe you are close with your ex-friend’s parent, or your parents are also friends. Be as respectful and friendly as ever to your ex-friend’s parent(s) if you still see them occasionally. If you ever have to field questions like “Now, what’s going on between you girls??” just chirp, “I’m just so busy with school and stuff lately!” and then, like, bustle off. It’s not rude—you totally have homework to do! You just explained that!

All told, no friendship breakup is going to be a perfectly clean split, even if you’re really mature and awesome about it. Sometimes, you’re just going to miss the person who isn’t in your life anymore, and that part really stinks. Although, as we pointed out, these kinds of breakups are really different from the ~romantical~ ones in most ways, there is when it comes to getting over them, the process is the same. You need distractions from your hurt feelings, as well as a way to express yourself. Do you draw, or write, or make awesome collages out of tabloids in your spare time? Well, now is the time to do all those things, and more. You can cry, for sure, but also make time to put together all-new playlists (they can even be about the ex-friend, that’s fair), put pictures of flowers on your Tumblr, or work on an actual garden! Most importantly, spend more time with or talk more to your other friends, or work on making all-new, non-terrible ones. They’re out there for you. ♦

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53 Comments

  • Fortune_Goddess April 11th, 2012 3:17 PM

    About a year ago, I had to break up with my best friend who I had been close to for only about six months. I did it in a kind way (I thought so) by slowly saying I didn’t want to do things or not hanging out as much or not being as enthusiastic with her as usual. I couldn’t be her friend right then. She was much too dependent on me and I couldn’t deal with it. Even now, it hurts me and makes me feel so guilty. I feel like I did the wrong thing, maybe. We’re friends again now, but she has another best friend. Did I do that right? A lot of people at school hated me for a while and I didn’t have very many friends for a while after that because everyone liked my ex-friend so much that they thought I was a heartless bitch for doing that to her. I was actually told that I was a heartless bitch several times. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do but it needed to be done. I still feel so guilty about it, though. Maybe I was a bitch. I just know that I cried over it a lot and I hated myself a lot for it. I still do. I’m terribly sorry for it and I feel like a terrible person.

    • Anaheed April 11th, 2012 3:20 PM

      I don’t think there’s anything heartless or “wrong” about what you did. What’s the alternative? Continuing to be best friends with someone you don’t want to be around, pretending that you do? And letting her drain you of energy? The fact that you asked this question proves that you are far from heartless, anyway.

      • Fortune_Goddess April 11th, 2012 3:23 PM

        Thank you. She was just so completely loved by the entire grade that people assumed that I had made it happen completely, that it was totally one-sided.

    • Emmie April 11th, 2012 4:54 PM

      there are some things that you have to do.. having a sucky friend who you don’t really like is worse than having an uncomfortable “break-up.” I think it’s important to realize that your needs and stuff matter also.

  • havefun April 11th, 2012 3:30 PM

    I really love Cynthia’s artwork. Is there a blog or a website that she has where we can look at it? Thanks. (:

  • tinklebot5000 April 11th, 2012 3:33 PM

    AHHH!!! Thank you for writing this! This was so helpful and relevant to my liiiiife. There were some great tips in there <3

  • Maddy April 11th, 2012 3:34 PM

    ack, I didn’t read the whole article (skimmed some) but it was definitely honest and relatable. I sort of starting splitting with my best friend probably in 8th grade. Last year I really didn’t like her because she hung out with mean people and would jokingly make fun of my lunchbox or my academic enthusiasm. Now she occasionally sends me FB messages saying hi, and I felt compelled to add her back into my “Close friends” list even though I haven’t seen her in ages. I really, really love her family though, and I spent wonderful summers with them. I wish we could go back, if just for the summers (like last year) to how we were. We don’t have much in common in interests, but we can just coexist well, like sisters. I don’t think she’ll invite me on vacation again this year. Even if she does, I’m not sure what I’ll say. I might feel guilty for “mooching” or I might reconnect for a few warm days. Is that even possible?

  • missblack April 11th, 2012 3:37 PM

    Agh this is so true! I love these sort of articles.
    My bestest friend and I have been friends since ffith grade and up until a couple of years ago we were, like, superclose, and then we got kind of different from each other and we got different friends and we like never hung out, and I thought for sure we’d never be good friends ever again – BUT THEN we started hanging out again and, like, even though we have totally different interests and we don’t even hang out that much we’re still really good friends because, well, because. It’s like she’s family, you know, because you love your family even if (and perhaps because) you’re all totally different people.

    Little&Trivial

  • Narita April 11th, 2012 3:46 PM

    I used to be really close with a friend until we got into a fight in which we both told eachother to die. Due circumstances that we both were in, that was a really bad thing to say. A few weeks ago, I.tried to get back in touch with him. This is what he said: “I don’t need you anymore. I’ve got friends now and I’m quitting antidepressants soon. Bye.”

    I think he’s a, pardon, asshole. But I still miss him.

  • emilybelle April 11th, 2012 3:56 PM

    Last year, I had my 1$T eVr r3aL Bf * and it really took a toll on the longest best friendship I’d ever had. Everything just sort of blew up and to this day, we haven’t had a very honest conversation about what happened. I’ve apologized of course, but she really seems to have moved on, and now I’m bestfriendless… I miss my #1 :(

    • shelley July 11th, 2012 6:25 PM

      exactly the same as me! I was always the single friend who was there whenever, and at first I struggled getting the balance right once I had a bf, and now I’ve lost my two incredible best friends.

  • deemary April 11th, 2012 4:02 PM

    i was the dumpee in eighth grade myself, and unfortunately six years later i’m still in the process of being ok with messing up. if there’s anything i wish i could tell myself back then is to completely avoid internalizing the opinions of friends who made the mistake of becoming bullies. its really important to distinguish former friends from people who want to let you go with a lot more pain than necessary. thank the stars i found my current best friends. they show worthiness of my very special company. also, small groups of friends are ideal in high school but branch out after graduation! sometimes best friends get boyfriends or turn 21 before you!!!!

  • s_rose April 11th, 2012 4:26 PM

    I’ve been at both ends and I’ve founded both suck. I started drifting away from a friend whom I had been friends with for about ten years and I think she felt it too but didn’t have anyone else she was close with to turn to. I felt I was a bad person by not wanting to be friends with her so I drifted slowly away. I wish I explained what was happening rather than just silently shutting her out of my life since I know how it feels. It made me extremely happy when I saw she had made new friends at university.

  • poppunkgurrrlx April 11th, 2012 4:34 PM

    thanks for this article! I really needed to hear the part about moving on. stop trying to be friends with people who don’t want to be friends with you. make friends with new people, or realize your old friends were the best ones and stick with them :)

  • KinuKinu April 11th, 2012 4:40 PM

    SO PERFECT…..even though I have 0 friends at the moment this might come in handy ONE day-hopefully.Ok,I sound incredibly desperate but seriously this is amazing.THANK YOU

  • A Fox In The Snow April 11th, 2012 4:52 PM

    Thank you so much Rookie, it’s like this article is adressed to me! I have been friends with this boy for like, whole my life, but the last year I noticed he ignored me and didn’t like me anymore, but then other days we were super close again. Well, the point was that he was making me terribly unhappy. He wasn’t a good friend: he made me feel bad about myself, he said rude things about others and so forth. And it seemed impossible to dump him because sometimes we did normal to each other again and we had the same circle of friends.
    But then one day we had a little fight about something and we never made up. That was ten months ago.
    We still don’t talk to each other and it’s not always simple because I still see him everyday and he’s being super annoying and rolls his eyes whenever I say something. But I am finally able to be happy and like myself!

    I want to say that when you notice you’re not feeling good because of a bad friend, don’t wait to dump (or have a good talk) with him or her. It gets so much better afterwards!!!!!!! Not perfect, but definitely better. I promise.

    So, sorry for writing this long comment, but I just NEEDED to write this down.

  • Emmie April 11th, 2012 4:59 PM

    I remember in jr year my best friend, who i had hung out with exclusively since kindergarten, started making other friends and branching out. I sent her a series of emails being like “i miss you stop hanging out with other people” which are making me cringe thinking about. We’re still best friends and I’ve figured out that just because friends make new friends, it doesn’t mean they’re abandoning meeee. I don’t see her as often cause we go to different schools, but every time we hang out it’s as though no time’s passed since we last saw each other. yay happy endings~

  • mire April 11th, 2012 5:12 PM

    I’m in the middle of trying to decide how to break up with a friend whom I’ve known for 6 years but with whom I have NO affinity whatsoever, no interests in common, nothing at all — however she still considers me a close friend. She’s a great girl but she lacks vitality She’s not even shy, she just likes her telly and her Uni and that’s all. I have loads of energy and opinions on politics and feminism and music and clothes and she’s just too mellow and… well, unlike me. How do you tell someone who’s essentially a good person and loves you like crazy that you don’t want to be their friend any more??

  • SiLK April 11th, 2012 5:14 PM

    Sometimes I think Tavi really does live under my bed. Just mulling over my attempts to move away from a group when I looked on Rookie and presto! Our school could totally do with your help guys! So far we have been submitted to a speech where a lady that supposedly helped celebrities with friendship trouble seemed to drill into us something along the lines of “Don’t have a best friend! It will result in suicide!” Thank you Rookie team!

    • Anaheed April 11th, 2012 5:21 PM

      OMG I would die *without* my best friend.

    • Tavi April 11th, 2012 9:54 PM

      It’s cuz I DO live under your bed.

      Also that’s so weird that celebrities have their own special friendship couples counselors!

  • starcollector April 11th, 2012 5:38 PM

    Thank you thank you thank you Rookie. I really needed this right now, what a perfect time for this article, at the end of the school year. I am one of the only people I know staying home, so I’ll be losing a lot of my friends… because unfortunately it’s often “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” for me when it comes to relationships.

    http://china-lily.blogspot.com/

  • lyss April 11th, 2012 5:40 PM

    After a recent split from my best friend since fourth grade (who friend-dumped me because we’re going to different colleges next year), this really hit home. Beautifully written and so relevant to EVERYTHING EVER.

  • VanyaTheDinosaur April 11th, 2012 5:58 PM

    Pfft~ I FEEL HORRIBLE FOR RECOGNIZING BOTH SONG QUOTES.

  • mayaautumn April 11th, 2012 7:10 PM

    this has been pretty (well,REALLY) helpful, y’know! thankyou much:)

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • taste test April 11th, 2012 7:28 PM

    “…you and your friend don’t have to be the exact same person with the exact same interests in order to have an awesome relationship.” YES. THIS. if I had a dollar for every friend I’ve lost because “we just don’t like the same things!” I’d… um, have a few more dollars. still. it happens a lot and it always makes me sad because most of the time, the relationship is fine and the other person just feels slighted because they can’t discuss all their favorite things.

  • meels April 11th, 2012 8:14 PM

    thanks for a post about this. i had to deal with breaking up with my best friend around the end of last year and i finally cut her off about a month ago. i actually consulted hellogiggles for help which really helped so i’m glad that this topic is being covered more on the internet. we can all help eachother with our experiences. honestly i thought i was the dumper but after reading this i’m thinking i was the dumpee long before and i never got the memo. it sucks when people and circumstances change but so far life has been a lot better without the stress and anxiety of worrying over a broken friendship. thanks for the article =)

  • kitterfly April 11th, 2012 8:22 PM

    I’m so thankful for this article…
    I’ve been trying to build up the courage to break off a really poisonous friendship, and this article… makes me feel like that’s okay, like everything will be alright and I don’t have to maintain something that isn’t good for anyone.

    We’ve never had anything in common, and became friends in the first place because we had mutual friends and were in the same place at the same time. Our entire relationship is based off of very minimal amounts of “history” and nothing else…

    We’re at the same school and have a ton of classes together, and were default best friends for a while because navigating a new environment is TOUGH.

    Lately, though, we’ve been going through SUCH a rough patch… too similar to all the problems we’ve had in the past. We have very different senses of humor, and I’m a very… jokey, goofy person… But my jokes are on the sarcastic side, and she always interprets them as insults.

    I know I need to figure out a way to just… end it, before we get any more hurt than we already are. We just… aren’t compatible at all, but it’s so hard because of how often we’re pushed together.

    Well, thanks for being my therapist, Rookie.

  • artistrees April 11th, 2012 9:46 PM

    My best friend from high school and I had a giant, awful falling-out the first semester we were in college, and we’ve never recovered from it. I’ve trained myself not to remember we were ever friends because what happened was just so painful. It took me more than four years to realize it, but she was a toxic friend and had been constantly taking advantage of me and making me feel guilty for who I was, so it was all for the best, but I clearly have unresolved issues. This article dredged up a lot of long-hidden emotions and made me realize how angry I still am, a year and a half on, despite the fact that I keep telling myself I’m at peace with everything that happened. Rookie, thanks for jerking me out of denial, because I needed it.

  • andrea April 11th, 2012 10:13 PM

    omg :( i really dont know if you have like a magic ball or whatever but this THIS REALLY REALLY comes in a good time, just perfect timing and i… thank you, for real.
    ps: tearing since point 5, snif, but thanks!

  • intreatment April 11th, 2012 10:26 PM

    This article was super relevant and interesting. I have had so many friendship breakups, and each one was harder than the last. One was so bad that it made me super depressed for years. Have you guys ever considered writing an article about someone who has survived a suicide attempt and is doing better, something similar “The Year of my Eating Disorder” article?

  • Vicky Hellhound April 11th, 2012 10:45 PM

    Yes! Yes to all of this! So far I have been a lurker here and have admired greatly the content provided by you wonderful Rookies. I wish I had you a decade ago before I made every single misstep listed above!

    For those who, like me, have resorted to bullying and are trying to grow strong and be an ally, I highly recommend listening to the Kimya Dawson song “I Will Never Forget”:

    i haven’t forgotten the times that i teased you
    and everyone else pointed at you and laughed
    permanent damage was not my intention
    but i could not foresee the aftermath of my actions

    i was so small
    wanted to grow in the eyes of my enemies
    for awhile i felt tall
    but they knocked me back down now i’m here on my knees

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzQz2U_va6o

    much love and healing to all you rookies going through these incredibly tough experiences. stay strong. you are beautiful. <3

  • Rarity April 12th, 2012 1:37 AM

    ROOKIE ALWAYS HAS THE BEST TIMING. I almost cried while reading this; it is so relevant to my life right now. I’m having the hardest time relating to my “friends” and have considered just not hanging out with them any more. They don’t really see the disconnect, though. I feel horrible because I don’t really LIKE them and being around them has started to irritate me. I’ve been pulling my hair out over this and feeling so lonely. College life hasn’t turned out great for me, but articles like this have been helping. Thank you, Rookie.

  • iloveflohan April 12th, 2012 1:38 AM

    wow this article makes me feel so much better about myself! i had to break up with a group of friends last year after i couldn’t deal with all the gossiping/back stabbing/catty girlness and i definitely felt like a betch for the first few months afterward, but you’re right, it definitely gets easier. now i’ve got new pals who don’t talk crap and we even have stuff in common. for anyone considering a friend breakup, just try and be as nice as possible about it so it won’t be super awks when you see them buying bananas at the grocery store (first hand experience, fyi).

  • Yellie April 12th, 2012 1:46 AM

    This is half of why two years ago i just gave up on friendships
    LOL…i’ll just become a monk or nun or something

  • dianeisnotmyname April 12th, 2012 4:25 AM

    Earlier this year, I had to take a “break” from my friend. Well, actually, it was a mutual break, because she didn’t wan to deal with my problems (understandably) and I didn’t want to deal with someone who wanted to avoid my problems. I was going through a pretty difficult bout of anxiety and depression and she essentially told me that it was my fault, and that “therapy and medication won’t help me”, and that I was making her miserable.
    And, the truth was, I was definitely making her miserable. I was a pretty horrible and selfish friend to her, but at the same time, she wasn’t very supportive, and unloaded all of her feelings on me after avoiding me for the weeks when I needed a friend the most.
    I think people with depression or mental illness might say that one of the hardest parts of dealing with the illness is losing people who were once close to you. I felt abandoned, but I also felt guilty. And helpless. I knew I was being a bad friend, I knew that I needed to change, but I didn’t know how.
    For this, I realized, it was best to take a break. I got my issues sorted out, and I guess we have a happy ending. I’m friends with her again, and it’s pretty much back to normal. We don’t hang out as much as we used to, but we’re more open.

  • sedgwick April 12th, 2012 8:19 AM

    so dudes i have a QUESTION!! I have my ‘best friend’ who i used to think i was so in sync
    with – now i just have to avoid her sometimes because i’m getting so annoyed at her and am afraid i might snap and be mean or even start a fight or something. A lot of her characteristics and little habits REALLY irritate me (she always has to be right, competitive with grades, and fond of backhanded compliments etc) HOWEVER at the same time i feel like i’m being unreasonable, disliking her for no reason and being a straight-up moody biiiiitch. Anyway is this normal, like i’m having to deal with people being not perfect? Are you supposed to get annoyed with people you are close to THIS MUCH? What if this happens with everyone i get close with, and end up like this best-friendless, one-woman-show for the rest of my life!?????? help.

  • loveyouforever April 12th, 2012 2:32 PM

    I really loved this article, but I have a problem: I want to make other friends because I don’t like my old group of friends that I hang out with since a year, but in our school it is very difficult to hang out with other groups… How can I make new friends??? (maybe you should write an article about talking to people and meeting people on rookie, haha)

  • folklaura April 13th, 2012 3:13 PM

    Right after graduation this girl who was basically my best friend wrote me on facebook to tell me my whole group of friends was going on a trip but that I couldn’t come and don’t blow this out of proportion or get all crazy. I expected something to make up for it when they got back, but things didn’t even return to “normal,” and they started doing things near by that I wasn’t invited to. I did that clinging thing, and would invite them to my things, and sometimes they would show and act totally normal. It was a new environment for me, and my friends weren’t being honest with me, so I was very confused, hurt, and lonely. I thought if they ONLY KNEW they were hurting me they would change their behavior, but it only gave then ammo to use against me: “you’re stressing us out!” “you’re not fun anymore!” Way too long later, after I’d sort of moved on and began making new friends (which was so hard because I’d internalized everything so much) I met that facebook message girl for lunch because I still thought it would make me feel better about myself to be on good terms. She said something that made me realize she had her sights set on not being close with me anymore, probably from before that letter was sent but at least at that point, and not only was she too cowardly to ever say anything in person, she never even really SAID it at all. Romantic relationships have the necessity of actually breaking up going for them… I hope anyone in the dumper positon reads this article and takes heed. An honest face to face discussion, no matter how scary and painful a prospect, is the best.

  • Shortbuslove April 13th, 2012 5:13 PM

    I had the most painful break up with my best friend three years ago.

    He was a wonderful gay man, 2 years older than me, and we’ve been best friends for 3 years. He had the keys of my apartment, We’d spent every day together, every week end, and every holidays. I knew his all family. We were like one person. Wich is not a very healthy thing when you’re a teenager trying to understand who you really are. (I’m french, sorry for the mistakes)
    But when he had boyfriends, I was jealous and possessiv, it was awful, and he was the same way when I was with other friends. When we were together, it was like I was finally complete, and each time he would leave any place without me, I’d become sad and paranoid, empty.
    So, 3 years ago, I had to spend a week in Berlin with my class, and I had a terrible feeling about it, I thought the bus will crash or something. And we had a fight the day before I leave but we fought very often so I didn’t care much (even if I was upset about it, it was usual) and like a punishment I didn’t give hime any news from my trip. But he had to come pick me up at the bus station for my return, he never did, I had no text, no call. I was all alone with my luggages. I sat on a bench and cry for 2 hours, because I knew it was the end; even though he didn’t tell me.
    I didn’t speak to me or answer my calls or look at me in the hallway for 2 weeks, I thought it was like a punishment but no, I’ve got mail. 20 lines in a email : “our relationship is toxic, blabla, goodbye and be happy”
    I was a mess, and didn’t get up from bed for a month. I cried all the time. 1/2

  • Shortbuslove April 13th, 2012 5:24 PM

    2/2 I had to see him in the hallway, ignoring me, for the following year (I think the worst year of my life). In 3 years, he emailed me, texted me just to say ‘Oh i’m in NY i can’t stop thinking about you’ THANK YOU. Just that. He never ever spoke to me again. Even though I ran into him many times in the streets. It took me, i think 2 years to really get over it. Now, I’m really a loner, I don’t let people get too closer to me. Anyway, that was my hardest break up.

  • Sea goddess April 13th, 2012 6:31 PM

    My guy bestfriend and i broke up months ago after being real real bestfriends and it was he who completely changed he got new friends who are just so dumb. And well him leaving me hurt me so bad i couldn’t get used to not talking to him everyday because idk if it may sound wierd but he is the only guy ive truly loved that’s not from my fam. And well my friends told me he always liked me in m.s. , though he never told me. They tell me he stopped talking to me because he knew that i loved him but just like a brother and not in the same way as him….just wanted to share that yeah…

  • MissKnowItAll April 13th, 2012 6:35 PM

    I swear, it really is like Tavi lives under my bed. I faced with a dilemma where my best friend since 3rd grade and I are growing apart. I just don’t see her anymore and when I do, it’s awkward because we have absolutley nothing in common. This made that a lot easier!

  • phoenixfan April 14th, 2012 6:30 AM

    yeah you can at cynthiamerhej.blogspot.com @havefun

  • EmmaAmerica April 15th, 2012 5:12 PM

    Legitimately crying right now reading this… one of a million rookie articles that have made my life easier/make more sense/suck a little less

  • Jakeline April 22nd, 2012 11:08 AM

    I can totally relate to this. I’ve had friendship breakups here and there in high school and middle school, some friends I’ve missed more than others. The ones that have hurt and I’ve missed more are hard to get over, I still obsess on our good times together and what eventually made us grow apart. Thanks for the advice!

  • rhsiad April 24th, 2012 6:20 PM

    thanks for this – i would never usually comment on something like this, but i feel like i have to. it rox

  • carolpd May 12th, 2012 3:50 PM

    I think I’m having a break up with one of my best friends I had been close for SIX YEARS, it’s not easy and I’m pretty much feeling like garbage :(

  • all-art-is-quite-useless May 14th, 2012 5:29 PM

    I think I’m breaking away from my group of best friends ever since I was 9 after beginning to spend more time with another group, and my old group being really weird and possessive over me about it. Part of me wants to remain friends with them because in some ways I still get on with them but another part of me wants to break away completely and move on – I think this comes from being really scared that most of the people I’ve been hanging around with don’t like me. Its probably not true, but I feel really insecure – especially after falling out with my best friends – and afraid that I’ll be rejected. I feel horrible; I keep crying all the time. I’ve never felt so awful. I feel guilty now about a girl we pushed out of our friendship group a few years ago.

    Thank you for this article, like so many on Rookie, its helped me so much.

  • mustard July 6th, 2012 9:15 AM

    Thank you for this. My best friend from all through high school got a boyfriend the summer after we graduated and stopped communicating with me. Most anyone I try to talk to about it thinks I’m just jealous, but that is so not it. She -completely- stopped talking to me. I guess I can’t blame him for that, but that’s just not what friends do. “Sisters before misters” is how it is in my book (at least in regards to people our age), and it’s really hard for me to get close to someone who doesn’t agree.

  • CandyCaneChild July 6th, 2012 5:34 PM

    For someone who didn’t have that many friends in the first place, “losing” my closest friend sucked. Especially when you have no idea what happened and feel replaced a little. I can relate to number 4 a lot.

  • princesskitty July 9th, 2012 2:13 PM

    This was a great read! I have a similar dilemma, as i never really had very many friends either. I have remained friends with people I shouldn’t have because i didn’t think it was possible to make new friends. I also think of all the amazing things that the person has done for me in the past and i feel as though I owe that person my friendship forever.

  • awesomebeans June 15th, 2013 6:53 AM

    This really spoke to me! Thanks for it, I’m kinda in a weird friend breakup and the friend seriously doesn’t get shes hurting me and I know I sound like a jerk when I say she’s changing, but thanks for the great advice, I’ll try and keep it in mind next time I see her hanging out with everyone but me :)