5 Steps for Getting Over a Friendship When You Don't Know Why It Ended

A friendship that ends unexpectedly needs to be grieved.
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Friends are an important part of your life, and the unexpected end of a friendship can leave you feeling bewildered, lost, sad and alone. Your friendship may have ended through direct confrontation or dead silence. No matter how it ended, there are ways to feel better, work through your loss and find closure. While there are no promises you won't experience this again, you will know better how to handle it should it arise again.

1 Grieve

Allow yourself to feel your pain and loneliness. While you don't want to ruminate over your lost friendship to the point of depression, it's okay to wonder what might have gone wrong. At the same time, avoid taking it personally. Remind yourself that when someone leaves a relationship unexpectedly, it is usually about that person. Just as you own your reactions to being abandoned, your one-time friend owns personal reasons for leaving.

2 New Activity

Try something new and, if possible, take a break from activities you might have done together. This can give you the much needed respite to gain your strength and get to know new people. Be polite, without appearing desperate, if you happen to run into your former friend. Despite what you might be feeling on the inside, a look of confidence and nonchalance will likely be enough to give you a small boost of confidence as you muddle through the awkward moment.

3 Write a Letter

As tempted as you might be to call your ex-friend to vent or beg for answers, it's not going to help you in the long run. Therese J. Borchard, associate editor at Psych Central, recommends writing a good-bye letter to your friend in her article "8 Steps to Closure When a Friendship Ends." Write about your friendship and include how long you were friends, all of the great times you had together and how much you miss having your friend in your life. Include things you didn't like about the person but put up with anyway, any angst you may still be feeling about being left behind and your thoughts on what your friend will be missing from you. Include all of your feelings and cry your eyes out if you feel the need to. Put the letter in a safe place.

4 Closure

Arrange an informal ceremony for yourself to officially end your friendship, as this can help you process your emotions, advises Borchard. Gather old pictures and mementos you may want to get rid of and then place them in a box. If you wrote the individual a good-bye letter or wrote in your journal about the ending of your friendship, then add that to the pile as well. When you feel mostly at peace, say good-bye and let it go as you shred or burn the contents of the box.

5 Future Plan

Plan ahead in case your former friend tries to rekindle the friendship. Keep your emotions out of it; doing so will help you to come to terms with whether the friendship was, in fact, good for you. Ask yourself what kind of friend the person really was and how you are feeling without this individual's influence in your life. You will find your answers within.

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.