When the besties are no more
What happens when a friendship breaks up?
Written by Jodie Kenny
Voices - Advice
Young people share advice based on their experiences.
Boyfriend drama, gossip and rumours, replacement friend, mixing groups, leaving school, the green eyed monster, just drifting apart – there's so many reasons why best friends can have a falling out. So you and your best friend have gone from forever to never – how do you deal? Here's some key codes of etiquette for when the gang is no more.
It's going to feel like a breakup
There's no way to avoid this! Think about it – all that time spent together, all the texting, the random meet ups, sitting together in classes, eating lunch, calling around to each others houses – having a best friend is a big relationship. They're the one person you've always relied on, always gone places with and the first person you tell when something exciting happens in your life, it's great! Only now, it's gone. This can feel like a breakup, because it sort of is. You'll find yourself going to text them about something you used to talk about all the time, or you'll see random things that will remind you of them. There's no way to avoid this stage, and the time taken to get over this will depend on you, and also how close you and your bestie were. Not to mention if things ended badly, this can just make things worse! It's sad and it really sucks going through this, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. You're going to miss them like mad sometimes.
Loyalty is a quality that I think is so important for everyone to have. Just because you and your best friend aren't on good terms, doesn't give you the right to go spreading all of their secrets. It doesn't matter what they did to you, or if you feel you've been wronged – stay loyal. By stay loyal, I mean don't share things about them that you have no right to share. Things they've confided in you, embarrassing stories you have of them, old crushes, family life, none of this is your business to share. If they resort to rumour spreading or sharing gossip, don't lower yourself to their level. If you hear that they've been talking badly about you to others then by all means stand up for yourself, but don't use old things as ammunition. In the end you'll come out on top, and you'll have kept your credibility and decency. Things can get catty when people so close fall apart, so be the bigger person and walk away.
This also applies to giving out about whatever it is you're fighting about. Venting is good for the soul, but make sure if you're giving out about what your old bestie did, that you're not giving out to the gossip of the year. Tell someone you trust, and try to avoid saying thing you'll regret. Don't rant in groups or crowds, someone could overhear and it could lead to all sorts of problems. It can be an angry, confusing and frustrating time, but try to remember that once you were best friends. Don't smear your own name in an attempt to smear theirs.
Maybe your best friend did something that to you is unspeakable, there's no coming back from it. I'm really sorry about that, I know how devastating it can be. What I've found though, is that forgiveness is a key aspect of healing. I'm not saying that you have to be okay with what your friend did, or that you have to accept someone treating you badly. What I'm saying is that it's in your best interests to try find it in yourself to forgive them. You don't have to find excuses for them, you don't have to let them know you've forgiven them, you don't have to stay friends with them, you don't have to ever speak to them again if you don't want to. For your own sake though, forgive their actions. This way you won't spend all of your time dwelling on it, you won't fill with anger and bitterness over the spoiled friendship, and you won't grow to resent them and everyone they interact with. This will stop you spreading false gossip, acting out or losing other friends, and you'll feel a lot better about yourself by being the bigger person about it all.
Just like after any break up, there comes a time when you need to move on. Stop dwelling on your old friend, start making new ones. Join clubs or societies in your school or college, join a sports team, start interacting with more people. You're not on the hunt for a new bestie, it's just nice to make new friends. Plus with all the time you've got free now, finding a new hobby and hanging around with new people is the best way to spend it.
When you see them
After falling out with a best friend, seeing them again can be awkward and unavoidable. Don't make a big deal out of it! A quick smile or a friendly hello could be all that's needed in an interaction, and will ease tensions of other people. If you go on the attack and start calling them out, or on the defensive and completely ignore them, then you're making the situation bigger than it needs to be, and you're probably making people around you both uncomfortable. The best thing to do is simply acknowledge they're there, and keep going about doing whatever you were doing.
You and your best friend probably had some brilliant times – concerts, events, parties, nights out, just laughs day to day. Don't let this fight ruin them, they can still be good memories! You don't have to look back at them with resentment or sadness, remember the joy you felt at the time doing them and remember that instead. Just because you're fighting or fallen out doesn't mean you have to lose great memories.
Falling out with a best friend can be really hard, and it's not a fun thing to go through. Don't blame yourself or your friend though. People change and people are unpredictable. Just remember that you'll find so many more friends, and that things will work out for you in the end!