A big part of growing up is losing and gaining friendships.While making a new friend is a fun and exciting experience, losing one can be really painful to go through, and losing a whole group is even worse.
Relationships are learning experiences. People in relationships grow, shift, and evolve over the course of the friendship. But just because you should expect some of your friendships to ultimately end, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when someone chooses to end a friendship with you — or when you feel that you’ve been pushed out of your entire friend group.
A major reason some friendships end is because friends don’t talk about their issues with each other. Unfortunately, when we bottle those feelings up without sharing them with our friends, blow-ups can occur that the other friend never saw coming, which can result in the end of a friendship. Sometimes people can choose to cut you off in an attempt to feel powerful, as they may feel helpless in other areas of their lives. In some sad situations, it may be a matter of bullying or using exclusion to punish or emotionally abuse a member of the group.
Here is how therapists recommend you should react when your bestie or your group ditches you.
Give them space.
The first thing you should do if a friend or a group of friends has ended their friendship with you is take some time to let the situation cool down. You must respect that your friend may not be willing or ready to hash the situation out with you when you are. If that’s the case, wait until they’re ready to talk and then have the conversation you need to have.
While sometimes you just simply grow apart from your friend, usually when someone abruptly ends a friendship it’s because of a specific reason. The reason could be something on their end — such as your friend being a bully or doing it for seemingly social status reasons — but sometimes it’s because you’ve actually done something to hurt their feelings.
If you are interested in trying to salvage the friendship and feel that you have wronged your friend, it could be helpful to consider owning up to your mistakes and apologizing.
Sometimes you may feel that you haven’t done anything wrong, but if your friend is upset about something you did, it’s important to apologize if you’ve hurt their feelings. Try not to make your friend feel that their feelings should not be hurt. As human beings, we are all different and react to the same situations in different ways. Your friend is entitled to feel their feelings, whether you believe they are justified or not.
Talk about why you broke up.
If you realize you’ve done nothing to wrong your friend, you probably still want to have a conversation with whoever has ended their friendship with you. If they feel comfortable doing this, it could be helpful in terms of their own closure. For instance, you could say something like, ‘I understand that you think being friends with me makes you ‘uncool.’ I really valued you as a friend and I’m feeling hurt and sad about this.
In some cases, you may realize that talking to your once-friend may not be worth it because they’re not the type of friend you want to have in your life anyways. Take some time to stop and reflect on the qualities past friends have possessed. Are these the qualities you want in your friends in the future? If not, take the time to think about the kinds of friends you do want to have and then seek them out. And part of seeking out new and better friends is to let go of old friendships that aren’t working out how you want them to.
Act like the friends you want to attract.
Once you know what kind of friends you’re looking for, the easiest way to attract those kinds of friends is to be that kind of friend yourself. You also want to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are so that you can make true and lasting friendships. Examine what your definition of friendship is. Once you know how you want it to look and feel, you can easily tell the difference between the true friendships and the fake ones.
The best way to meet the type of people you want to become friends with is to put yourself out there in terms of joining clubs, groups, or hobbies, which could enable you to meet new people. You should also reach out to people you wouldn’t normally gravitate to because you could have more in common with them than you think. While it’s important to have something in common with your friends, seeking your ‘life twin’ is unnecessary. Instead, diversify the types of people you hang out with. By doing so, you will learn more about yourself and the kinds of friendships you want to have in your life.
Lastly, always remember that you determine your own worth.
While you want to have friends that lift you up and add positively to your life, ultimately, know that your worth and value is not determined by other people. If someone chooses not to be your friend, it is more often than not a reflection of them and not you. Don’t let someone else lower your self-worth because there are plenty of people out there who will love you and want to be your friend just as you are. You deserve friends who want to be in your life. You are worthy of love and belonging and you are enough, just as you are.