The Breakup Blues: How to Recognize and Cope With Seasonal Friendships

By Nayja A. Williams

Friend: noun, a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

As we all may know, the use of the word “friend” grows more and more scarce as you grow and mature. On New Year’s of this year, I asked my God to reveal who was for me and who was not. I requested this because I was starting to feel pulled in too many different directions. I knew that everyone I had identified as friend in 2014 wouldn’t remain my friend in 2015. So, I decided to embark on the journey of pruning my friendship tree and hope that I wouldn’t get pricked by thorns along the way. I soon questioned my request when no more than a month had passed before a friendship began to dissolve. I was mindblown as to how quickly their true colors were revealed to me. I thought to myself, “What have I really gotten myself into?!”

By the time summer rolled around, my contacts had dropped significantly, and I thought the pruning process was complete. My little friendship tree had a small group of branches and roots that I thought would remain and be there in the long run. However, I soon found myself forced to let go of a relationship I was not quite ready to leave behind. I found every reason to still support them and revive our friendship even when I was the one who kept walking away with hurt feelings. In that moment, I understood what people meant when they said, “Losing a friend is like going through a breakup.”

I was hurt and upset because I wasn’t ready to give up but somewhat glad that we both walked away from the situation before more damage was done. Several months later, I appreciate that moment because I needed a wake-up call and reminder that not everyone I place in the “forever friend” section of my life belongs there. Sometimes, friends are there to teach you a lesson in a specific season and leave so that your new knowledge can manifest properly. They are there to catalyze the growth process, not hold your hand through the entire journey.

Throughout our friendship, I learned how to be more adventurous and open-minded while I taught her to become serious about her academic and business life. As we both began to disengage, I also learned to communicate what I want in a friend early so that I am not setting myself up for disappointment later. Even with this in mind, it is still hard to say goodbye to someone I grow fond of and spend time with, and I doubt that will ever change. However, I have found ways to let go, heal, and move forward effectively.

In sharing my own journey, I want to encourage you to take your first step back to you. If you are in a relationship/friendship that is constantly draining you, upsetting you, and holding you back, I am here to let you know that it is time to let it go. If the other person is the one to disengage or abandon the relationship, I know it is even harder to not want to hurt them the way that they hurt you, but believe me, it is not worth it. When you act based on temporary emotions, you will miss the beauty in the separation.

I would like to share a few things that have cured my “breakup blues.” Whenever you find yourself dealing with letting go of seasonal friendships, keep these in mind:

★ Cry and be upset. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind because your feelings and emotions about the ending of a friendship are not to be taken lightly or discredited. Our emotions are naturally all over the place when we feel rejected and abandoned by someone that we have developed an attachment to, so it is important to be kind to yourself and allow time for you to get yourself in order.

★ Write a letter and throw it away. Write a letter to the person you let go of and reveal all of your pent up anger, sadness, and any other feelings you were not able to effectively express. This is a productive way to receive closure in a situation without confrontation or escalating the situation.

★ Create a list of take aways. What did you learn from the friendship? In what areas did the friendship and its disintegration encourage you to grow?

★ Talk it out. Having a trusted confidante to talk to is also a great way to move forward and let go some of your pain.

★ Go out and mingle with other people!!! As painful as going through “breakup blues” can be, the show must still go on. Go out and socialize with other people. The goal is not to find a replacement friend, but to maintain healthy social skills and remind yourself that even though there is a chance of meeting another seasonal friend, the chance of meeting a forever friend is just as high. Don’t allow your temporary sadness to hold you hostage in the house or daily routine. Embark on a new adventure and have fun!

★ Fall in love with yourself. A majority of us treat other people way better than we treat ourselves. It is important to take a look in the mirror and really identify who you are. We change constantly, and that may very well be the reason a friendship falls flat. You are capable of transforming into someone completely different, and that’s awesome! Take the time to re-learn who you are and who you are becoming. The sting of a lost friendship hurts a lot more when we haven’t learned how to love ourselves in seasons of being social and in seasons of being alone.

The illustrious Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” It is my hope that we grow in loving ourselves and appreciating the process. Conquering the challenges of life is being accepting of change.

Photo: Shutterstock

Najya A. Williams is a social activist, spoken word artist and future pediatrician. She aspires to publish several books on her journey to self-discovery, healing, and faith. Najya hopes that her work encourages others to chase their dreams and reach beyond the celestial realm.

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