I’ve had to let go of a friend that I’ve grown up with. We knew each other for decades, but our friendship didn’t last. What allowed me to let go and move on without regret was how I dealt with our friendship, especially during it’s final breath. This article is going to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to let go of a friend you love.
You can’t control what other people do, but you have control over how you respond to them.
If you live by a code of ethics that honors your values as a person, regret will pass you by quickly rather than run you over like a freight train.
When my friend treated me poorly by dismissing my feelings, avoiding an honest conversation about misunderstandings, excluding me from hangouts, and gaslighting me about removing me from social media, I didn’t retaliate.
Instead, I tried to be forgiving and respectful of him and myself. I did this by focusing on problem solving rather than the problem itself. I wasn’t interested in being petty or childish about it. But, at the same time, I was not okay with being disrespected and treated poorly.
My attempts at resolving the issues we had were met with insincerity from him. At that point, I had to accept that this friendship was no longer serving me or him.
For the sake of my happiness and well-being, I had to let go of him.
You may be wondering, “Do I really need to let go of a friend?”
Yes, you do, and here’s why. You are the sum total of the five closest people to you. If those people do not possess the characteristics, attitude, morals, and mindset that will enrich your life, a close association with them will negatively affect you.
The influence they have on you may be one that drives you towards a version of yourself that isn’t good, kind, smart, productive, healthy, trustworthy, positive, or strong.
If you want to grow and thrive as an individual, it’s very important to curate the content and the people in your life.
When I was conflicted over this issue, I had to remind myself that I deserve the caliber of a friend who reflects who I am as a friend.
I take great pride in being loyal, helpful, supportive, honest, and kind as a friend. If that’s what I bring to the table, it’s okay for me to expect the same. If someone is not willing to match my energy, I have every right to let them go to make space for someone who will.
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Steps To Take When Letting Go Of A Friendship
Step 1: Reflect On The Why
When making a difficult decision, having a strong motivation or reason can produce the necessary commitment needed to endure the pain and suffering associated with loss.
I want you to grab a piece of paper and make a list of all the reasons why you feel like it’s time to let go of a friend you love.
While you’re at it, describe what you believe is a good friend. Then, ask yourself whether this friend matches the criteria you have in mind. This little activity can provide clarity that you can refer to whenever you’re doubtful or overcome by emotion.
Sometimes, the friend in question does match your criteria, but they no longer have any time or investment in you.
In that case, the reason for letting them go boils down to prioritizing people in your life who actually want to be in your life.
Step 2: Give Yourself Time
I will never sit here and tell you that letting go of a friend you care about is easy. It hurts, and you will be inundated with nostalgic thoughts when you least expect it.
But that’s just the nature of life.
Loss is something that everyone has to endure, and there comes a time in life when you have to make a difficult decision for the sake of your happiness and wellbeing.
You will experience anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, confusion, and loneliness. It’s normal to feel these emotions after a friendship ends. But feelings alone should not deter you from doing what is right.
Give yourself ample time to feel these emotions without wallowing in them. Don’t try to force yourself to move on or forget your friend. That will only reinforce the thought of them in your mind.
Just accept that this situation will stink and that you have to let time heal your wounds.
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Step 3: Create Boundaries
In every relationship or friendship, boundaries must exist. It is the only way to ensure that people respect us in the way that we need them to.
Once you’ve made the choice to let go, you have to set certain boundaries to avoid unnecessary drama and to help you move on.
This might mean limiting your contact with them, removing them from social media, and asking mutual friends to consider the situation before involving you in something that pertains to them.
Step 4: Fill The Void
When you have to let go of a friend you love, there’s going to be an emotional and time void. Trying to fill that void with the wrong things will only make you feel worse.
Rather than trying to replace your friend with someone else, I would suggest spending more time focusing on yourself.
Find a hobby or skill that you can focus on during those periods of time when you used to be hanging out with your friend.
At the same time, channel all those emotions into energy that is directed toward that hobby or skill.
Self-care is extremely important during any type of grieving period. Be gentle and kind to yourself, seek support from other friends and family, and be patient with yourself.
More often than not, we are our own worst critics. Don’t let that voice harass you over the loss of this friendship.
If it’s not helping you grow or recover, ignore it.
Step 5: Celebrate the Lessons Learned
Whenever I’ve struggled with the loss or failure of something, I’ve ruminated and suffered endlessly. But once I learned to find meaning in loss, the process of grieving improved.
This should be one of the greatest takeaways from this article.
When you seek out lessons from an issue in life, you give meaning to your suffering. Attaching something of worth to hardship is one of the most effective ways to generate the willpower and strength required to overcome these challenges.
I also like to view loss as an opportunity for me to hunker down and develop self-reliance.
Mastering the art of being by yourself can provide endless benefits in your life. It eradicates desperation and neediness, allows you to curate your thoughts and beliefs more positively, teaches you to calm yourself, and empowers you to seek out better people and things.
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As much as it’s difficult to let go of a friend you love, I believe that there are ample lessons and wisdom to be gained from enduring something as difficult as loss.
I like to remind myself that God is looking out for me and that there’s a greater plan at play. Perhaps letting go of this friendship will lead me toward a better friend or a better path in my life. It may even save me from something bad that was bound to happen down the road.
Believe me when I tell you that a positive attitude that seeks out the silver lining in bad situations will save you from feeling like a hopeless victim.
Everything is going to be okay.