Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Dalhousie chapter.

Breakups are universally dreaded and considered some of the most painful experiences of our lives. These periods can be isolating and they leave you feeling stuck. The most effective heartbreak cure is seeking love and support from friends. Calling a friend, hearing their kind advice, or even just having a laugh with someone can be a light in all of the darkness. But what can we do when the heartache is coming directly from the friendship that has always been that light? What do we do when the person we cherish most becomes a stranger? Friendship breakups are as emotionally excruciating as romantic breakups, but they are even more lonely. We don’t often hear songs or see movies that depict the empty feeling that comes with losing a best friend, so it often feels like personal failure. The reality is, people change and grow endlessly during their lifetimes. When you are constantly evolving, you inevitably outgrow relationships that were once a perfect fit. I’m here to assure you that you are not alone in experiencing this. As someone who has been in this exact scenario before, I want to offer my advice to cope in the best ways possible. 

First and foremost, it’s important to identify the reason for separation. There are many different factors that play a part in every breakup, but locating the main reason is key to healing. In my personal experience, there hasn’t been a large conflict that necessitated confrontation but rather a slow accumulation of events that caused a wedge to grow between us. In some situations, no one is at fault; others can be more black and white. Do your best to take accountability for your own actions, so you can properly learn from the entire situation. Choosing forgiveness will give you peace in any situation. It is possible to forgive someone without having them in your life. If you’ve been hurt by a person, holding onto any sort of bitterness will only affect your healing negatively. Most importantly, forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, but choose to be kind to yourself no matter what. 

Talk it out. When you’re not sure what exactly you’re feeling, try to explain the situation in your own words. Explaining your emotions in depth can give you the clarity you need. Try writing your thoughts down on paper for yourself. Write a letter to your ex friend without ever sending it, and say everything you never could. If you feel as if you have unanswered questions about the relationship, write them down; try to answer these questions for yourself. If you’re not in a writing mood, take a video diary on your laptop or your phone and just vent to yourself.. When talking to yourself, your unfiltered thoughts can flow without any feedback or confrontation. Sometimes you’ll find the best advice can come from yourself. 

A friend breakup is especially complicated if you two have mutual friends or share a friend group. If you need to seek advice, opt for an uninvolved third party. Reach out to your long distance friend, your cousin, or just anyone who doesn’t know the person you might talk about. Stay open minded: even a stranger sitting next to you on the bus can offer life-changing insight. The worst thing you can do is go to your mutual friend and speak about the situation. Not only could it get back to your ex friend, it could also make the mutual friend uncomfortable if they want to remain neutral. What you say could also get misconstrued in translation, and cause miscommunications. Overall, if the split was mutual you should try your best to take the high road and not talk badly about your ex friend. Of course, every situation is different and calls for a modified approach. In most cases, it’s best to try to speak about them in a way you would want to be spoken about. Save the more unfiltered conversations for your most trusted inner circle, or your journal. You will never regret being the bigger person.

Feel through it. Remember to treat this like any breakup. If you need to watch sad movies for an entire weekend or get out of town for a change of scenery, be my guest. You may be feeling a multitude of emotions, and confusion as to why. Try to feel all of them separately. Give yourself the time you need to process how you feel. If you feel sad, let yourself. If you feel angry, let yourself. If you let yourself go through the motions of experiencing the breakup, you will eventually be able to accept the situation for what it is. No matter what way you choose to express yourself, take time to let it happen. 

The final stage of grief is acceptance, and so is the final stage of friendship breakups. Platonic heartbreaks hurt most because they are the least anticipated. When you form a friendship with someone, you don’t usually expect the possibility of an ending. Some friendships last a lifetime, and some only last a season. The friendships in our lives form who we are. They are some of the most valuable connections and they shape our perspectives and hearts in so many ways. Even when the relationship ends, the love can remain. There are some people I haven’t spoken to in years, but still have tremendous amounts of love and respect for. Even if it’s for the person they once were, or the person you thought they were. Try not to discredit the times you had together, and the beautiful memories you keep. When you are able to hold the good times in your heart without feeling like you need to try and recreate them, that is when you know you have healed. Even though we may try to keep them, some relationships are not meant to last forever. Take what you’ve learned from the hard times, and move forward on to the next. You will find your people, they are out there. 

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Emily Conohan

Dalhousie '26

first year journalism student at university of kings college:)