The Breakdown Guide

The guide to me handling problems in the way I do.

Sometimes there are things in life that happen which we feel are way out of our control, and because of this we are then lead to believe that we have no control over our own reactions to these types of situations. I want to tell you right here, right now, wherever you're reading this, you are not alone. 

I'm not sure whether it is a thing to do with human nature, or just something that people have picked up from films, TV shows, and other impression giving medias, but so many people isolate themselves when they are going through a difficult situation and feel as if there is relatively no one on the planet who would be able to understand fully, or relate to their problems. 

I'm telling you now, that is one hundred percent untrue. There will always be someone who can understand and relate to whatever problem you have. Though don't assume they'll come running along like Knights in shining armour. They themselves are most likely ordinary, (I mean they could be extraordinary... I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket.) 

How to put the 'ex' in front of 'best friend.'

Okay, I'm not going to go straight out there and assume this title directly relates to everyone. However, I can safely assume that at least every person in their lifetime has at some point fallen out with a friend. Whether the friendship was redeemed or not is what I kind of want to focus on. More-so if the friendship didn't actually make it to the endgame and how I dealt with changes that I felt (and do sometimes kind of still feel) were catastrophic and had quite a large impact on my life. As I said before, what I'm writing may not 100% apply to you fully, but I hope that at least some aspects will help whatever issue you're going through.  

I'm going to break this down into two sections. The first section is being the "breaker" of the friendship, and the second section is going to be the 'receiver.' This may seem like a bit of a strange concept but I promise, humour me and stick it out, it does actually make sense. 

The Breaker

I want to set a kind of tone for this, almost like a text version of a blank canvas that everyone can pull, and relate from in their own little bubbles across the internet. The breaker is the person who initiates the break of the friendship. This could be something that the breaker has dwelled on for a long time, or equally it could be done in the heat of an intense argument. Whichever way it happened, the breaker was more or less the one who decided to cut the ties and put that first initial rift into the friendship.

So I'm going off the idea that the breaker had a legitimate reason for putting a rift into the friendship (I mean, if they didn't than they're a bit of a sucky person in my opinion). This could be due to a fault in the other person that they can no longer bare. Equally, it could just be to cut the painfully stretched long-distance friendship that has warn thin, dry, and it mostly uncomfortable for everyone. Whatever reason this was done for is, I hate to tell you, a little bit besides the point. Not that it isn't a real issue or anything like that, it just isn't really a relevant factor here. Hopefully, you'll see why.

So you're in this position with your best friend. These things are never really going to be easy. There are a lot of things that weigh on your mind after you've done an action such as this; like memories that now become meaningless, or very painful. You can't look at their favourite colour or see something in the street that reminds you of them. This can lead to a pang of guilt knowing that you were the one who essentially ended the friendship, but at the same time you must remember that there was a reason for it. This person could have been the most boring friend, that you've being lagging as dead weight for a lot longer than you should have been.

The one thing you should do would be to put yourself in their shoes, and truly consider if the "break up" was fully worth it for you (and in some cases, fair for them also). If the friend is going through a hard time and you know that you are currently their only support line then I'd recommend holding off a little bit before you end the friendship, or at least make sure that they are able to be supported by someone else. This is not just for their benefit, but for you also! Making the transition as quick and painless as possible can help lessen the guilty feelings, no matter how small or big.

Time is the only other key factor here. Because time is the best home remedy for healing wounds. Wait it out a little, a few days, a week, however long you need. Letting go of something as burdening as a dead friendship should also allow space for feelings of enlightenment or there being some kind of weight off of your shoulders. If you feel remorse (which again, like guilt, is to be expected) to the point where you are unable to enjoy that unburdened shoulders feeling, and you're feeling like it was all a big mistake, then that is when it is time to start waving a white flag and call back the opening of the rift. On the other hand, if time passes and you don't really feel much remorse, and if you're obviously enjoying yourself again there is also nothing wrong with that! With time the friendship will finally end after placing that crucial break into it, and most likely for the better. 

The Receiver

The receiver is the person on the receiving end of the break. They themselves may be expecting this to happen, or equally it could be completely out of the blue (Again, the context surrounding that isn't really a key factor here). What I want to emphasise is that whatever the reason for this happening, whether it truly was your fault or not, these are not the things that you want to be pondering on. I promise you that if you keep following that road the only thing that is going to come out of this is a continuous horrible feeling.

The first thing you'll probably do is sit down and wonder "Why, why did this happen?" The answer is really only something the other person can answer, and unless you talk to them, even though it may not seem like the brightest idea at the time, you'll never really know why it happened and won't be able to reach that comforting feeling of small closure. Equally, if you already know why it happened (as hopefully the breaker would have disclosed this kind of information, if not refer to the last few lines) then the only step you can really take confidently is accepting that the friendship, at least for now, is over.

One thing that I found hit home the most, is wanting to turn to your friend and tell them everything. Pour your heart out to them and hope for solace like you usually would, but you obviously can't do that now. My suggestion is that you find someone else who you can confidently confide in. Whether it be another friend, parent, or even writing something down as an outlet to your emotions would be way more useful than bottling up your emotions. As bottling up these big feelings can have a negative impact on a situation that isn't that great to start off with.

What I noticed I did, something that I'm putting down here as a definite no-no, because I, for a long time, bottled up the emotions I was feeling (mostly sadness and confusion), over time I became bitter, and these emotions turned to resentment and anger towards the person I thought was my best friend. I was so bitter. Every time I saw her picture or her name pop up somewhere I was hit with a little fiery feeling in my gut, but after each time that feeling passed I was hit with a sense of shame. What you really want to avoid is becoming bitter at the person because those emotions, though powerful and strong, actually are redundant. You're not you when you're angry, remember that.

The key to taking the high road usually comes with accepting theses feelings that you have, and counteracting them with more positive, enlightening feelings that boost your mood. For every bad thing you think, think of something happy that would help change your perspective on the situation, or at the very least make you feel a little bit better. While this isn't a long-term solution as it can become a little bit repetitive and dull, I found that it helped me most when I began to get mad in situations where I needed to be calm in focused (like in a class exam, those pesky problems always find a way to sneak in when you need to focus... right?)

Finally I want to give a suggestion to help you begin to get over the friendship. While these things always (and I do mean always) take time to fully heal over, you can always kickstart the change in your life by removing everything that reminds you of them. Don't get my words wrong though, I'm not saying chuck stuff of theirs and pictures into a massive bonfire (fire isn't safe at the best of times). I recommend instead placing these items into a box or container and putting it somewhere that it's fully out of your way. You know the saying "out of sight, out of mind," it can work. Having their face all around you doesn't help when it comes to not wanting to think about them. I promise, doing something along those lines will make you feel a little bit better, mainly because you'd stop beating yourself up about everything that happened. 

Introducing the 'Ex'

This is always going to be the hardest part. If everything is finally done and ended between the two of you, the only thing you can do is put what happened behind you, literally. This doesn't mean you have to forgive what they did right away, that is one of the things that you should be able to do in time (and your own time can I add, no set amount of time can be applied as everyone is different!). The way you can do this is if they come up in conversation, distance yourself from them. Instead of going for the automatic "my best friend," go for the more subtle "my friend," or just reference them by their name. Equally, remind yourself that this person is now your ex best friend. Something that I often told myself when I was thinking about it (heck, I even had the quote as my lock screen for a little while...) is the quote that says "Your ex is an ex for a reason." While I assumed it applied mainly to romantic relationships, it can really be applied to any relationships that you're putting behind you. By introducing the "ex" you now put that person in the past and can be open for new close friendships that would make you forget about the one you've lost.

While none of this is ever going to be easy, I can safely say that it gets better in time.    

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The Breakdown Guide