I remember the day like it was yesterday, I even remember what I was wearing (!). One day I was best friends with her and the next day it was as if I never existed. And it was that next day that our friendship ended. It was over. Poof! Just like that. She would not return my calls, look at me in the hall, or return my notes in class. Although I had no idea at the time, I was experiencing friend divorce from one of my very “best friends”. Now, as an adult, I do not regret a single moment of this experience since it taught me valuable life lessons about friendship and relationships in general. However, it was a painful experience and one that certainly left its mark. What would you have said to yourself?
1. Get Help –
Don’t do it alone. Look for another friend who can support you through this. Talk to friends who have been through this or are your very true friends. If you don’t have a friend, share this experience with your parent(s). Perhaps they have an experience they can share so you don’t feel so alone. Let the guidance counselor know or talk to your favorite teacher about it. The most important thing is that you talk to someone who gets it, someone who knows what is going on and someone who can support you.
2. Lose Them –
If you are miserable for one reason or another and you think continuing to hang around this friend/group will make you happier, it won’t. Find the people you like, someone that shares your interests, that you have fun with and hang out with them instead. Friendships are just one area of relationships. If friendships are hard right now, can you focus more on other relationships? For example, one with a sibling, teacher, coach, tutor, babysitter, grandparent, etc. These relationships deeply affect us too and they might just feel more successful than our friendships right now.
3. Get It Out –
Get a journal or diary and begin to write or draw out your feelings. Paint, dance, do karate, write a song, play an instrument, run on a track, play a sport. Do anything you can to get these feelings of pain and loneliness out. Find your passion and spend time and energy exploring it. Be seen and heard with other positive outlets.
4. Do Something –
Keep your brain stimulated and focused on other things. Volunteer, join a club, make some art. Find a different community of people that can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Choose an activity that you are valued for the contribution that you are making rather than the clothes you are wearing. When we focus on other things outside of ourselves we are reminded of all the other qualities and strengths we carry. Once we tap into those other strengths we naturally feel better about ourselves and put a different vibe or energy out to others. This new found energy will give us even more strength to stand up for ourselves and make better decisions in the future.
As adults we have so many life experiences under our belts, so many stories of strength, courage, hardship and possibilities to share. Which one is appropriate to share with your child? Help your child feel emotionally stronger and more self-loving.