I think we’ve all been dissed by a friend at least once in our lifetime, right? Recently I’ve had two people remove me as a friend on Facebook. Like that feels good. Was it my annoying status updates? The singing video that I uploaded (“A Few of My Favorite Things” … check it out )? I know I was off-key. Oh, the picture of the old lady that I posted and said it was me. You are that old lady? Geeze. Sorry.
Frankly I don’t know what’s worse: the e-mails and the phone calls that aren’t returned, or the letter (or really painful conversation) explaining why the friendship is toxic and needs to be terminated. It all feels the same: REJECTION. Like you’re back in the sixth grade again, with bad acne, and the boys want to date your pretty and popular twin sister (that’s when my self-esteem issues started).
At any rate, there are ways you can get closure even when you don’t know why you’ve been dumped. Here are a few I try (every time I’m removed from someone’s friend list on Facebook).
1. Compose a good-bye letter.
Of course, no one is going to read it. But that’s not the point. The exercise of writing it is astonishingly therapeutic. I’ve written many old boyfriends letters that I never sent, some family members, and my father after he died. I needed a way to communicate that was for purely selfish reasons. So that I could hear myself say good-bye to this person that I really liked, or loved, or enjoyed having as a Facebook friend.
2. Pluck out the feeling.
Sometimes feelings need a little nudging in order for us to acknowledge and process them. It’s like they are seeds stuck in a shell, and we need to scoop them out in order to free them. Some helpful exercises for scooping out the seeds of rejection and sadness from a terminated friendship: looking through pictures of trips together or graduation from high school or college, listening to songs that trigger memories, or frequenting the coffee shop where you used to meet. They all help you to mourn an ending.
3. Plan a ritual.
I know this sounds voodoo-ish, actually that’s a step I’m getting to. But seriously, it’s not like you have a funeral to go to, or any way of moving through this in a symbolic way that can help you process your emotions. So you’re going have to create one … a ceremony of sorts.
After it was clear to me that an old boyfriend in college was simply not into me, I took the beautiful poem that he wrote me to a cemetery on the campus of Saint Mary’s College. I knelt there, ripped up the poem, and threw the pieces of paper into the air, crying (really hard). The most amazing thing happened. It started snowing. Right at that very second. It was like the heavens heard my cry, and the angels were tearing up sheets of paper right along with me. You don’t need the snow to feel better, though. Just the ripping should move you to a better place.