How to Accept That a Friendship Is Over

It can be difficult to let go of a friendship that is no longer working.
... Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you've spent innumerable afternoons chilling out with your friend, watching movies and discussing your love lives, it's going to be hard to accept when the friendship is over. While you may hear the term "life-long friends," the sad reality is that many friendships don't go the distance, for a variety of good -- and bad -- reasons. Once you're able to accept that your friendship is over, you'll be free to move on with your life and get busy creating new friendships that are a better fit for you.

1 It's a Common Situation

Realizing that discontinued friendships are common can help you to accept that your relationship is over. When people and their interests change, it's normal to develop new friendships, says psychologist Irene Levine on "The Friendship Blog." Let go of the idea that either of you is a bad person because the two of you no longer connect. Allowing the friendship to die a natural death may be the best course of action you can take.

2 Friendship Components

Friends laugh, trust, share and have common interests, says psychologist Philip McGraw on his website. If you and your former friend no longer do these things, that's a sign that there is not much left to support a relationship. Friendship cannot be forced, and if you and your friend simply don't connect in the way you used to because you're going in very different directions, you may already know that the friendship is over.

3 Feel the Pain

Be willing to sit with uncomfortable feelings. Know that they won't pass as long as you try to deny or get rid of them. It's normal to feel sad about the loss of a relationship. When people hurt, a common instinct is to seek to relieve the pain. Sometimes people do this by attempting to jump back into a relationship, even a friendship, that's not right for them. Resist the urge to chase after a dead friendship by remembering that the pain you are currently feeling will pass.

4 Make the Effort to Move On

Avoid ruminating, advises Levine in Psychology Today. Sometimes friends simply have irreconcilable differences. In this case, the best thing to do is to move on with your life. Every time you feel the urge to attempt a reconciliation, choose to do something that will help you move on from the relationship instead. Pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't connected with in a while, or ask the girl from your running group if she'd like to meet you for lunch. After a while, you won't miss your old friendship as much.

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.