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We Need to Talk... Navigating Friendship Breakups

A friendship breakup hurts… Even more than a romantic relationship sometimes. You may have experienced a falling out, drifted apart, or went through a difficult/challenging situation together. Whatever the case may be, it can cause a drastic change in your life and be a painful process to cope with. So, why isn’t it talked about more? How do you cope with this change in your life?

"Friendships can play a role in your overall mental and emotional health. When they end, it’s a big shift. Many people wonder how they’ll be able to cope without the support of that friendship." – Akua Boateng, PhD, Philadelphia-based Psychologist.

Here are some considerations when navigating a friendship breakup:

Allow yourself to grieve

Give yourself the time and space to grieve. Be honest with yourself and with other people in your life about what you’re going through. Grieving has no timeline, and everyone handles these situations differently – allow yourself to feel, and understand that you’re not alone.

Talk to someone

When you feel ready, consider opening yourself up to discuss the friendship breakup with a friend, family member, or a professional support, such as a therapist. Discussing the feelings, thoughts, and emotions behind the friendship breakup with others can help the coping process. There’s also good chance you may share a similar experience.

Give yourself some distance

Giving yourself some distance and space can help the process of moving forward. Whether this means avoiding certain areas or unfollowing/muting social media accounts, give yourself some time to distance and get accustomed to this new way of being.

Remember that you still deserve friendship

You are still worthy and deserving of friendship! Losing a sense of belonging and acceptance with that past friend can be a difficult process to navigate, but keep in mind that you’re not alone and that you can support yourself in overcoming obstacles.

Put time into new and old friendships

When you feel ready, consider putting energy and effort into other friendships. Connect with someone new in your class that you share a common interest with. Ask your childhood friend to meet up for coffee. Creating and building new friendships can help you feel connected and remind you that there are people out there who love and support you.

Other ideas to stay connected include visiting the Student Wellness Centre, attending on campus events/workshops, joining a club or group (check out UMSU recognized clubs and groups -, or exploring more ways to get involved on campus -

Take time to yourself

Place value and invest in yourself! Try a new hobby, go on a social media cleanse, go on a weekend trip… Give yourself some time to live and to process the new reality. Work on growing other positive relationships with others, and most importantly with yourself. Practicing self-care and participating in activities you enjoy are always healthy ways to take care of yourself, particularly during this time.

The process of a friendship breakup can be difficult and confusing. Give yourself the freedom to work through the grief, and all of the feelings, thoughts, and emotions attached to the lost friendship. Accept that it will take time to heal and that you’re not alone in this process. Lastly, give yourself grace and practice self-compassion – you’re only human! Let yourself feel and remember that grief doesn’t have a timeline. Stay patient, it’ll get better.



About the Author

Kayla (She/Her)

Hi! My name is Kayla, and I am the Health and Wellness Program Assistant. I am currently in my final year of the Bachelor of Social Work Program. I am passionate about promoting self-care and mental health awareness, as well as supporting and learning about students diverse experiences while navigating through university. Outside of work and school, I enjoy exercising, reading, camping, and spending time with my friends and family.


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