Let’s be honest. It’s unrealistic to think you can get along with everyone, but when the dynamics in your friend group are shifting, it can be a little concerning. With the advent of social media, young people have a tendency to feel compelled to always be connected and available. It is exhausting. Make sure you take some time to yourself, don’t invalidate your own feelings because you feel you have to be there for someone else. Here are four tips for coping and preventing further damage to the friend group.
- Be Honest and caring
The two most important things to remember throughout a friendship “breakup” are to be honest and to be caring. Let’s address the first one: honesty. Again, Generation Z is the first generation to ever be this interconnected. We know everything that happens to our friends and family throughout the day. So please keep in mind that most of anything you say to someone is not going to be kept a secret for long. You might as well try to be honest with yourself and with the people around you. A friend group affects everyone, but it’s easy to get caught up in how it only affects you. Thus, our second tenet. Be caring. You have no idea how an experience can affect someone, they might not show you.
- Keep it private
Naturally, humans crave companionship and validation. We want to be able to talk about an issue to get it off of our chest and have someone else commiserate with us. Do your best to avoid the bulk of this. Obviously, you should talk to your best friend and those involved, but spreading it to people who are on the periphery, things tend to get messy. I always find it best to keep it “in-house.” Just be careful, it is easy to speak to a mutual friend and have it devolve into gossip because that is the last thing you want. I know how difficult that is, but distract yourself, join a new club, start a book or television show, and do anything you can from constantly talking and thinking about the disjointed friend group.
- If possible, seek closure
Society doesn’t emphasize how difficult and scarring a friendship break up is, the movies only show us breaking up romantically. Losing a friend is losing your person and it should be treated as such. If you can, have a talk with them. Make sure things are really over and get everything that you want to say out to them so that you can move on with no regrets. Get answers to questions you have so you aren’t left wondering what really happened. I will tell you from experience, they aren’t going to say or do what you want them to, but it’s important to remember you can’t control their actions, you can only control your own. Feel good about seeking closure because it’s something you wanted for yourself.
- Look inward
After a friendship breakup, you aren’t going to feel good. You need time to think, mourn, and grow, but you have to be ready to face shortcomings in yourself. Take time to be introspective and ask yourself how things could have gotten to this point. You still deserve friendship and you still deserve respect, but it is important to assess patterns in your behavior that could be leading to destructive outcomes. Ask yourself what you can learn from this going forward. Push the anger and the hurt aside and figure out what you need to do to make your existing friendships stronger and be a better person and friend to those in the future.
These types of problems are never easy, but following these four tips, it can make them slightly easier. It is a difficult thing to go through, but the friendships that survive will be stronger than ever. Just don’t lose sight of trying to preserve them amidst all the tension and cattiness that a fighting friend group can create.