Quality over quantity—that’s what our parents have been trying to teach us for years, right? That could have also been one of the causes of the disagreements you had with them when you tried to explain how you needed that 57th cheap T-shirt from Target that would fall apart after the third washing.
You’ve now realized “quality over quantity” applies to aspects of life beyond the desired condition of your wardrobe. For example, people. You’re now more sure than ever that it applies to people. You’ve mingled with dozens of peers in your elementary, middle and high schools, in college, at work. At some point you were surrounded by more people than your social schedule could have handled, but you liked it that way. You had different types of people to turn to when you wanted to party, or take a walk, or cry on someone’s shoulder and receive valuable advice. Some of them were there for a season or two, and some of them stayed much longer, developing a long-lasting relationship with you.
In fact, they were so strong that you thought they would last forever.
People change, however, and while they grow, sometimes they grow apart. You know it makes sense, because you are not the same person you used to be 10 years ago.
Still, when it comes to close friends you parted ways with, it feels strange. It feels sad. Sometimes you’ve seen it coming, sometimes you haven’t. Either way, you’re probably not happy about it.
How are you supposed to deal with a friendship breakup?
Firstly, you need to acknowledge what you actually know in theory. This doesn’t mean that either of you is bad. It doesn’t have to mean you’ve done something bad, but even if a certain betrayal was made, you need to understand: people change, and they grow apart. It’s natural and normal. Music you like changes over the years, you change your preferences in outfits, why can’t you change preferences in people? Or why cannot someone else? There’s nothing wrong with it.
But—you may whine—why would they change preferences about you? The second thing you need to do is realize that, most of the times, it’s nothing personal. In those instances when it is, ask yourself this: is the person who doesn’t want to be your friend anymore because something’s changed really worth your time? And as they would say in every teen magazine: if someone doesn’t appreciate who you are, just the way you are, why try and make them?
Parting with a loved one is always hard, whatever the nature of your relationship is. When you build a relationship, you never think about its ending. But it happens nevertheless, and the best you can do in the situation is gain the strength to move on.
Be productive. Focus on your job and hobbies. Declutter your wardrobe. Focus on anything.
Talk it through, if you need to, with another friend, or a family member. But don’t do it over and over again. After a while, you’ll bore people—or fall too deep in your wallowing to find your way back out.
Accept it as it is: a natural life event. Yes, you’d invested in a relationship, and didn’t want this to happen. Don’t let that discourage you from other social investments because really important people will stay. That doesn’t mean the person who left wasn’t important, but they left. The best thing you can do now is focus on the people who stayed.
After a while you might feel tempted to ask ex-friends for a coffee. If you think that might help you, do it. Just make sure you don’t meet them with any expectations. Sure, maybe they’ve changed their mind and realized how valuable you are or they could still be stuck in the same place.
Be happy with the people you have around you and, most of all, be happy with yourself. There’s no way of preventing breakups from happening, but the healing can take a month or a year. That part is up to you.