If You Lost Your Best Friend
How to Get Your Best Friend Back
Most people have a falling out with their best friend at some point, and sometimes it feels like you’ve lost them forever. Fortunately, best friends usually end up making up because they care about each other. Things may feel rough, but stay positive. Whether you’ve had a fight, they’ve met someone new, or they’ve moved away, it's possible to get your best friend back.
Talking Through Your Issues
Tell them how you feel.Your friend may miss you as much as you miss them, but one of you has to be the first to share those feelings. Talk to your friend about how much you miss them, and assure them that they are a core part of your life.
- Say, “You’re like a sister to me, so not having you around is like losing part of my family.”
- If your friend has been spending a lot of time with a new friend or partner, let them know that you want some of their time, too. Explain that you understand that the new person is important to them and stress that you aren’t trying to drive them apart. Say, “I’m glad you found someone who makes you happy. I just miss hanging out with you.”
- Be honest with your friend, even if you feel embarrassed. You could say, “It’s been really hard for me lately because you’re my best friend. I’m used to being able to talk to you every day, but lately I’ve felt like you were too busy for me.”
Don’t make assumptions.Don't be too clingy. There are several reasons why your friend may be pulling away from you, so don’t think that a few unanswered texts or missed hangouts mean that you’ve lost your best friend. It’s possible that your friend has been going through something stressful or time-demanding, leaving little social time available.
Apologize.If you’ve done something wrong, apologizing is the first step to healing your friendship. Simply saying “I’m sorry” usually isn’t enough. You need to be detailed and specific. Even if you don’t think the fight was your fault, you might have to take the high road and be the first to apologize.
- Show them that you know what you did and why it was wrong.
- Say, “I’m sorry for forgetting your birthday. I know that must have really hurt you because I would have been heartbroken if you’d forgotten mine.”
Take responsibility for your actions.As you apologize, resist the urge to explain away your behavior. Don’t make excuses, no matter how justified you felt in doing what you did or what was happening in your life. Nothing excuses hurting your friend, just as they have no excuse for hurting you.
- For example, avoid saying, “I’m sorry I forgot about your birthday party. I had a busy week and lost track of the days.” While this may be true, it weakens your apology because it shows that you feel like your behavior had some justification.
- Say, “I know that what I did was wrong.”
Don’t assign blame.Regardless of who started the fight or what was said, focus on moving forward. Think about how much you want your best friend in your life, and remind yourself that pointing out who did what will only hurt the situation.
- Avoid statements like “I’m sorry you feel that way” because they put the blame on the other person. You are telling the person that your behavior was okay, and they just overreacted.
- If you feel like they are unfairly blaming you, say, “I’m hearing that you think this is all my fault. Is that true?” If they reply yes, then you will be able to talk it out.
Suggest ways to work through your issues.Talking to your friend will start the healing process, but may not be enough to fully restore your relationship. Offer ideas for things you can do together, including a next step. Healing your friendship will require work, and your apology will hold more weight if you show your friend that you have a plan.
Giving Your Friend Space
Limit contact.If your friend tells you that they need time alone, listen to them. They may need time to cool down, think things over, and recover. Constantly calling, texting, emailing, and pestering them will not help. In fact, you will likely make the situation worse.
- Keep your interactions civil. If you see them at school or work, acknowledge them with a smile, wave, or nod.
- Don’t confuse this with giving your friend the cold shoulder. Be open and available to them.
- Don’t try to get information about them from mutual friends, and don’t ask mutual friends to pick sides.
Don't be clingy.Allow your friend to make their own decisions about where they go and who they hang out with. When you feel like you might lose your best friend, it’s tempting to smother them with attention, but this often backfires. If you act like your friend isn’t allowed to have other people in their life, they’ll push even harder to get away from you and your efforts to control them.
- If your friend is busier than normal, find an activity that keeps you just as busy so that you’re less tempted to cling.
- If you are jealous of your friend’s new relationship, remember that you will eventually find a partner or new friends, as well.
Try new activities.Rather than sitting around thinking about how much you miss your best friend, distract yourself by having fun doing something you’ve always wanted to try. If you’re stumped for ideas, check a local events calendar for upcoming options, or visit a local hobby shop.
Meet new people.While you don’t want to rush out and try to replace your best friend, start the process of making new friends. Don’t rush friendship or hanging out one-on-one, but open yourself up to getting to know other people.
- Join a club.
- Hang out with other friends.
- Host a party.
Know when to let go.Sometimes when someone asks for space, they end up wanting things to stay that way. As hard as it is to give up on a best friend, it may be necessary for you to move on. Think of this as a learning experience that will help you form better friendships in the future. Reflect on what made this friendship end, and use that lesson to choose your friends in the future.
- Allow yourself to cry. It’s important that you grieve the loss of your relationship as you would a death so that you can work through it. Crying is normal and important, so don’t feel bad about needing to let it out.
- Even though you might not get closure from your friend, say your own goodbye by writing them a goodbye letter that you never send or holding your own goodbye ritual.
Rebuilding Your Friendship
Ignore gossip.Gossip will only hurt your friendship. If someone tries to talk badly about your friend, ask them to stop. Refuse to listen if people say that your friend is trashing you. Even if it’s true, it’s not going to help you patch things up.
- Say, “I’m not interested in hearing that.”
Forgive and forget.Start with a clean slate. Once your issues have been resolved, don’t keep punishing your friend, acting cold, or bringing up mistakes they made as ammo in other fights. Let go and move on.
- Focus on the future.
- If you find yourself in a similar issue as before, give your friend the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to conclusions.
Invite them to a group event.When you’re first rebuilding a friendship, it can feel awkward. Spending time with a group will allow you guys to spend time together with a buffer while emotions are still raw.
Understand that new relationships are inevitable.If your friend has met someone new, don’t see it as the end of your friendship. One of you will be the first to find a partner or a new good friend. If your friend does before you do, it can be hard to accept your new dynamic, but know that it happens to everyone.
- Don’t see it as a rejection. Your friend is not trying to replace you. They just found someone else they click with.
- Your relationship may change, but it’s not over.
- Reach out to the new person. Keep an open mind and try to get to know the other person. If it’s a new boyfriend or girlfriend, be excited for your friend’s happiness and let them feel like they can confide in you.
Find new ways to spend time together.If your friend has a new situation in their life that keeps them from you, such as a sick relative, a new baby, or additional work/school responsibilities, find ways that you can easily fit into their day. Since your friend’s life is changing, your time together may need to change, too. Show them that you still fit into their life.
- Visit your friend during your lunch hour.
- Join your friend in an activity you know they attend regularly, such as a class at the gym.
- If your friend is in a new relationship, remind your friend that you need one-on-one time. Say, “Your new boyfriend is great, but can we grab lunch just the two of us this weekend?”
Engage in a favorite activity.Spend time rekindling your friendship doing something you guys both love, preferably something unique to your friendship. This will remind you of good times you’ve had together and help both of you move past the issues that had come between you. For example, if you both love singing, go out for karaoke.
Sample Texts to Send Your Best Friend
QuestionHow do I get my friend back after a big fight ?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerWell, it is always a good idea to apologize, and acknowledge that you hurt them. Don't explain your side initially. Wait for a response. Then possibly suggest that you might meet to talk about what happened. Hear them out, and reflect back what you hear them say, like: "It sounds like you were very hurt by what I said." Let them have the space to respond. This back and forth dialogue would be a good start. Best of luck!Thanks!
QuestionHow do you get a friend back after they have made a new friend?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerFirst of all, any person can have more than one friend, and often do. Don't automatically think that the appearance of a new person means that you no longer matter. Sometimes two friends cling together during a particularly rough time, and when things ease up for one of them, they feel more able to spread their wings and talk with more people. Try not to see this as a threat. You may have to make adjustments, but that is okay. Be sure to tell your friend in a non-demanding way how important they are to you, and that you want to set up a time to get together if you haven't seen them in a while.Thanks!
- Show your friend that you truly love them.
- Calm down before you talk to your friend again.
- Keep in touch with them and remind them that they're your best friend.
- Make sure your friend knows you are still thinking of them, even though you are trying to give them space.
- If you are the one that caused the conflict, go talk to them. Tell them the truth. Try to express you did not mean to hurt their feelings intentionally.
- Try to look at things from their point-of-view.
- If they still don't want to be friends, let them go. It will be hard, but it's for your own benefit.
- If you think a friend is mad at you, ask once, then go from there. You just might need a break for a little bit.
- Consult another trusted person, like a parent or older sibling.
- If your best friend found a new best friend, don't be mean to the other friend. Try to explain to them how you feel, and invite them to an activity you can all do together.
- If you can't handle face-to-face interaction, try calling or texting them.
- If your friend is mad, just let him or her take a break. Come back later and try telling them how you feel. If they still don't want to be friends, give them some time and talk to other friends.
- If you've done something rude or mean to your friend, give them time and space to let them figure it out if you're their friend.
- Never sound petulant or jealous when confronting your friend.
- Never set out to intentionally make them jealous.
- Being really mean to your friend’s new friend or boyfriend/girlfriend will create more issues. If someone is with your friend, then they are with you as well.
- Don't apologize and then ignore your best friend.
Sources and Citations
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of How to Get Your Best Friend Back was reviewed by on April 7, 2019.
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