How to Best Handle a Friendship Breakup

Thursday, August 3 2023

All of us go through changes in our lives, and one of the hardest changes can be the end of a friendship, especially in our teens years when a lot of change is already going on. When a friendship ends, it’s entirely normal to feel hurt, upset, or confused. Friends can be a massive support system, and — without the right coping skills and support —  falling out with a friend as a teen can take a toll on our mental health and well-being. 

If you’re dealing with the end of a friendship, know you’re not alone, and professional mental health support is available if you need it. SonderMind can connect you with a licensed mental health professional who can help you get through this challenging time. 

Read on to get tips for how to navigate the difficulties of falling out with a friend, get support for your mental well-being, and move forward in a healthy way. 

Tips for getting through a friendship breakup 

1. Know your feelings are valid 

The first thing to do when experiencing any kind of loss is to validate your feelings. It’s okay to feel sad, hurt, disappointed, and even angry after a friendship breakup. You likely have shared many happy memories with your friend, and it’s understandable to mourn the loss of the relationship. It’s okay to give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions you’re experiencing and know that they’re valid. 

2. Understand that friendship changes are normal

It can be easy to get caught up in trying to understand why a friendship ended. You may wonder if you did something wrong and want to find a way to fix it. It’s normal to feel this way, but it’s also important to not blame yourself. People change, and so do their relationship dynamics. It’s common for friendships to evolve and to start making new friends or pursue different interests. Sometimes, friends outgrow each other, and that’s okay. 

3. Seek support from other strong relationships

Leaning on others you have strong relationships with can play a big role in helping you heal from a lost friendship. Reach out to other friends to talk to and get support, and, if needed, look to a parent, teacher, or other adult whom you can trust to help you get the professional support you need. 

Sometimes, just spending time with those you care about and who care about you can help you feel empowered. Moving on after a friendship takes time, but staying social and engaging in positive activities with others can help boost your mood, provide distraction, and help you cope. 

4. Avoid isolation

Feeling overwhelmed or sad over the loss of a friendship can cause you to feel lonely. It’s normal to feel this way. However, if feeling lonely causes you to isolate yourself from others and disengage from social activities and other hobbies, it may take a toll on your mental health. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also cause these conditions to worsen. 

Try not to distract yourself with too much screen time and social media activity, either. Even if scrolling through Instagram or TikTok makes you feel more connected to others, studies have found that social media actually makes the effects of loneliness even worse. That’s why it’s important to make in-person social plans, even when you don’t always feel like it. Join clubs, play a sport, volunteer, or continue participating in whatever social activities you enjoy. Focusing on your social wellness is key to avoiding isolation. 

5. Speak up if things turn sour 

Sometimes friendships fallouts are the result of a conflict or argument. Often, these can be resolved in time, and the friendship can be patched up. Other times, conflict results in the end of a friendship— and hard feelings. This is a normal part of life sometimes. 

That being said, it’s never okay for a friendship fallout to result in the mistreatment of others. If you’re experiencing bullying due to a conflict you had with a friend or the loss of a friendship, know that it’s not okay and that you can speak up. Bullying includes: 

Saying or writing mean things such as: 

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Hurting someone’s reputation or relationships, including: 

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling others not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Hurting a person’s body or possessions, including: 

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

If you’re experiencing any of these signs of bullying, tell someone you trust, such a parent or teacher, so you can get the support you need to put a stop to it.  

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help right away. Call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or find other suicide prevention resources here

6.  Consider therapy

If a friendship breakup is poorly affecting your mental health and well-being, therapy can be a great tool for helping you cope and feel better. Talk therapy can help you put your feelings into words, understand and regulate your emotions, and see things from a new, healthier perspective. Working with a mental health professional can help you feel supported and teach you coping mechanisms, so you let go of negative feelings and feel empowered to move forward. 

Easily connect with a therapist through SonderMind 

If you’re having difficulty navigating the loss of a friendship and want some extra support, SonderMind therapy can help. SonderMind therapists are licensed and specialized to help with many mental health needs. What’s more? You can use your insurance for therapy and meet online or in person. Just answer a few questions to let us know what you’re looking for in a therapist, and we’ll connect you with a licensed professional who meets your unique needs and preferences within 48 hours. 

Remember, you’re not alone and therapy can be a big support in helping you through difficult friendship changes. You’ll get through this! 

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