Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

7 Steps to Closure When a Friend Dumps You

friendship ending.jpegI 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.

4. Fill the space with something new.

This is true for any loss. When I stopped drinking I had to come up with some sober activities ASAP. Ditto when I stopped smoking. And on down the addiction list … It always feels uncomfortable at first. That’s a good sign. It means you are processing emotions, which is part of closure. If it felt cozy, then I’d say you weren’t doing it right. But change can be fun and challenging at the same time. And you’re allowed to use four lettered words if you don’t like it at first, unless you’ve given those up too.


5. Get even.

Here’s where the voodoo comes in handy. Only kidding, of course, but I did tell Holly that if that bridesmaid/friend who dissed her (Holly) after the wedding comes begging for friendship later, when the chick is on husband number two, Holly has every right to dis her right back.

6. Make a plan.

I don’t really advise getting even, but I do recommend you think about what you might do if the friend comes begging back. Because it happens. Or you run into her at the bank or the grocery, and your mouth opens but no noise comes out. Best to have a script, to think it through: if this person wants into my life again, should I let her? That’s a hard one. Go back and view my video in order to answer that question. I ask myself this: Does the relationship empower me, or deflate me? Does this person build me up or tear me down? And can I be sincere–truly sincere–when I’m with her?


7. Stay with the pain.

You knew I was going here, because I always do. Back to Henri Nouwen’s words, about staying with the loneliness, about feeling it, not rushing into activity to skip over it … about going through it, not around it. He writes:

It is not easy to stay with your loneliness. …. But when you can acknowledge your loneliness in a safe, contained place, you make your pain available for God’s healing. God does not want your loneliness; God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need. It is important that you dare to stay with your pain and allow it to be there. You have to own your loneliness and trust that it will not always be there. The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart….Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God’s promise to you.


Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Doug

    You certainly have a way of picking topics that hit close to home with me frequently, its a pleasure to read your blog. You help me a lot, thanks for sharing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment dg

    Sometimes there really is a reason…. I have (I mean had) a very close friend for over 30 years. Shortly after we both went on facebook, that relationship ended. :>(
    She was sharing her facebook page with her 10 year old daughter. I do not want children having access to my facebook page and comments. I explained this to my friend several times, but she felt it was her decision, not mine, to allow her child on her facebook account. I agree, but I did tell my friend that it was my decision not to have children looking at my page, and therefore I would have to take her off my page. My friend, who posts something maybe once a year, was highly offended, and just like that a 30+ year relationship ended. We used to talk on the phone all the time, but after facebook started, she would just “keep up” with me on facebook, but no longer had the time to actually talk to me. I hate that facebook is considered “real” friendship, and I wish people wouldn’t take it so seriously.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Effy

    I think Therese that you blog seems to be so self centered. It seems to be all about you. It seems as if you are so focused inward that you forget about others and this characteristic makes you to be depressive. It sounds like you are sensitive person but every thing on this blog is all about you.

    May be you should try and focus on the people around you not only when you volunteer but in your thoughts as well.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lisa

    Boy Effy, that was pretty horrible. I certainly don’t feel that way about Therese, but you are certainly allowed to have your own opinion. I on the other hand get a lot out of these blogs. I used to be just as devout in my religious beliefs, but have finally come to the conclusion there is no god so I take that part of the equation out but the rest works.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jack

    That’s very insightful. I’m sensitive to rejection too (I think most people are), even small rejections. One day I finally came to the realization that being overly sensitive to rejection is due (at least in part) to insecurity. Even though I know intellectually that God loves me and that I have no trouble making friends, do I know it *deeply* enough that I can brush off rejection? That’s not an easy thing to do, even though it may sound that way on paper. I think just being human means that rejection is going to hurt. But I guess there’s a difference between rejection being like a mosquito bite (i.e., a small pain) and a bite from a venomous snake (i.e., sends you to the hospital). Of course, it depends on how close to you the person from whom you feel rejection was, but I do think it’s possible to get to the point where one is not overly devastated by rejection, especially smaller ones. One key seems to be to learn to hold on to relationships *loosely*. And that’s something that takes practice and work.

    Over the years, with God’s help, I feel like I’ve made quite a few strides in that area. But I still have a long way to go.

    Here’s an example of a couple of recent rejections that I overreacted to. Within the past couple months, I posted some comments on two different blogs. Both comments showed up at first as awaiting moderation, and then they completely disappeared. What hurt even more is that these were Christian blogs. I immediately felt REJECTION. What did I say in my comments that was so bad? Why were they picking on me? Why were the blog owners such awful JERKS? :) Well, in both cases, I eventually mustered the courage to ask the blog owners *why* my comments were deleted. And in both cases, the answer was the same: my comments were automatically deleted (not by a human) because they contained a hyperlink. It was as simple as that, and nothing personal! It sure was a relief to hear that. But it underscored to me the fact that it’s very easy to get paranoid when things happen to you like that, even though there may be a very logical, innocent explanation for their occurrence.

    Which brings me to: It’s so easy to take everything that happens to you in life personally. It really helps to learn to see things around you objectively. I think one thing to pray is for God to give us *divine objectivity* in our everyday dealings. Otherwise, it’s so easy to get overly subjective, distorted views on matters.

    Now, here’s one example of how I feel that I’ve progressed a little bit in dealing with rejection. I used to be so uptight about Internet friendships. I would always be devastated whenever one ended. But I’ve finally come to realize that I shouldn’t get so attached to such things, and that when a friendship ends, it usually has nothing to do with me.

    Anyway, I’ve been friends with someone on YouTube for over a year and a half. (Actually, our friendship “ended” for about 5 months a year ago–for reasons I still don’t understand–but then he wanted to be friends again. I said “OK,” and didn’t ask him what had happened in the meantime.) We would send each other both music videos and e-mail. It was quite a lot of fun (but a bit time-consuming). I always enjoy getting to send people music that I think they’ll enjoy. Anyway, at the end of July, out of the blue, he just stopped e-mailing me. I was scratching my head, and then I found out later that he had closed his YouTube account. This is a huge deal for him, because I know he was obsessively devoted to his YouTube account–he had uploaded hundreds of videos, had hundreds of subscribers to his channel, and had made tons of music playlists. So something serious must have happened–maybe (for some strange reason) some trouble-making people complained about him on YouTube and forced him to close his account. Whatever the reason, I doubt he closed his account willingly. Regardless, he could have contacted me and told me what happened, but I haven’t heard a *word* from him for a month and a half. I’m a bit disappointed with his behavior, but I realize one thing–it’s not the least bit *personal*. He’s probably mad at the world for what happened, and I guess he sees me as part of that “big, bad world.” Whatever. I don’t know whether I’ll ever hear from him again or not, but in a way, I don’t really care that much. And if he does try to re-establish contact, he’ll have some ‘splainin’ to do. :) But for me this is a huge stride, because I’m normally devastated when Internet friendships end, but this time I’m strangely cool about the whole thing. I think the fact that I know he closed his YouTube account makes it a lot easier to be objective, because I obviously know that I had absolutely nothing to do with that. Of course, I still think he’s a jerk for not contacting me, but do I forgive him.

    OK, I guess I’ve made my points. :) Again, I liked your insightful article.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jack

    Oh, just wanted to add one more thought. Ever heard of the saying, “A friendship that can end was never a real friendship”? I think there’s a lot of truth to that. For instance, if someone “dumps” you on Facebook, what have you really lost? Or if someone dumps you in general for no good reason (assuming that your conscience is clear), what have you lost? A false friend at best. I’d say a false friend is worse than no friend at all, because they waste your time. A real friend isn’t going to give you the silent treatment or play games. If you do something offensive, at first they’ll overlook it, and then eventually if the situation gets out of hand they’ll care enough to confront you gently. Assuming that you’ve been a decent friend yourself, a real friend would never just “dump” you. OTOH, false friends play all sorts of games. Their favorite m.o. is to just cut you off without any sort of explanation (I personally think it’s a narcissistic power play), usually because they don’t have one. They get offended by anything and everything. If you blink your eyes wrong, that’s enough excuse for them to never speak to you again. A quote from Eric Hoffer applies here: Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength. Anyway, there are millions of false friends out there, and losing one of those is no big loss in the long run, and actually quite a gain.

    I was friends with a girl once for about 4 1/2 years. I met her in college. She was my best friend, or so I thought. When we first met, she was a Muslim (she was born in India but moved to the U.S. when she was 4), but toward the end of our friendship she became a Christian. This changed her in many ways, not all for the better (unfortunately). Right before our “friendship” ended, she invited a guy that she liked to go to church with her. He accepted, but when they went, apparently he just made fun of the pastor throughout the sermon. She was steamed. In a letter, she told me that she was now ignoring him. I wrote her back, and told her that while she had every right to be angry with him, ignoring him was immature. I said that she should just tell him exactly what she felt. Guess what?? I guess she couldn’t take being told the truth, so she just ignored me too! She never returned my calls, and I never heard from her again!!! This was after our 4-1/2-year “best-friendship.” It was shocking. At first I thought that I “caused” this to happen. Yeah, right. Eventually, however, I realized that she just chose to behave like a 6-year-old, and her behavior had absolutely nothing to do with me. She was not a true friend (at least toward the end of our friendship), and actually not even a friend at all. This event was painful at first, but eventually I realized that I didn’t lose a real friend, and was really much better off without her.

    All I can say is that if you’re a real friend and someone dumps you for no reason or for a bogus reason, it’s truly their loss, not yours. You won’t have to waste your time with them anymore (i.e., you’re free!), and you’ll eventually find someone better, but it’s unlikely that they will. (False friends usually just rip right through relationships, and don’t have any real stability. In addition, what “relationships” they do have are usually incredibly shallow.) In the meantime, you’ll have much more free time on your hands. :)

    Oh, and when necessary, singing Mariah Carey’s “Someday” can often be therapeutic as well. 😉

  • abercrombie

    and actually not even a friend at all. This event was painful at first, but eventually I realized that I didn’t lose a real friend, and was really much better off without her.

    Read more:

  • burberry

    The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart….Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God’s promise to you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sam Gyura

    Hey Therese, excellent article as usual. I find I tend to be the ‘dumper’ of friends rather than the ‘dumpee’. In intimate relationships I am definately the dumped. I need to work on being more assertive in regard to getting rid of toxic people from my life. I tend to be quite cowardly and doing the old ‘ignoring’ trick til they get the message. Some never do and it just gets worse! I recently did a facebook cull of approximately 30 odd people. People who don’t really participate or interact. People who don’t respond to comments or messages, so maybe karma is biting me back in the bum! Anyhoo, I must have deleted a friend of mine in error. I received a friend request from Adam and was confused as he’s been a friend forever! After I apologised, he was relieved and said ‘I missed you!’ In a way, that comment made my day. If it was me, I would’ve been so pissed at him deleting me I wouldn’t have done anything. Adam is a gem. Considering he lives with crushing depression, to have the fortitude to follow up with me was fantastic.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sam Gyura

    btw…I LOVE your singing! It’s so bad it’s good. I want a new song soooooon! xxx

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Spareparts

    Hi Therese,

    Like Sam, I tend to be the “dump-errrr”. Many times, talking to people and setting boundaries doesn’t work, so I tend to just quietly kind of back off… Usually they move on to more exciting things, so it works out. I just think that people kind of rock into and out of people’s lives for different reasons. No sense in forcing these issues.

    I work on a farm. I spend 95% of my time around dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and cows. I am a lot better off this way. It’s interesting, you know, when somebody comes to visit, how the animals react. I pay really close attention to that.

    I watched your “Favorite Things…” video. I thought it was silly, but pretty cool. Silly’s good for the soul. God has an interesting sense of humor, so I’m quite certain He enjoyed it, too.

    Right… sorry to ramble. Take good care.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carol Louise

    Homemade prayer flags set where the wind blows them are wonderful to bless and release the attachment! I have mTBI and my best friend of 35 years dumped me. I think it was worse than divorce. Ritual helped most.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dawna

    I enjoyed the page. thank you. i am on the opposite end, i have decided that knowing someone for a lifetime doesnt make them a friend, its about the quality of any relationship not about the quantity of years that you have known one another…i have recently turned on the lightswitch in my life and realize that most people i have called friends, are not… i embark on a new journey filling my life with people who love and respect me…..keep up the good work. thanks…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carol Emmett

    When a friend dumps you it can actually be a learning lesson for the good to help you learn something about your self. Of course whether the relatioship was a good or bad one ou will grieve but that is temporary. I choose to see it as room for self improvement. I will try, if need be to rectify any wrong doings on my part however if the friend is no accepting of my apology I will move on and look at it as a friend that came into my life for a season. God will bring the right friends to you when you are ready so do not fret because you have a friend in him nd a fiend in yourself.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Gina

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time. Just recently I had a friend who told me she was letting go of our friendship. Then a few days later she sends me a text apologizing. It’s not the first time in the last 2 months that she’s hurt me with her words. What stood out to me the most was “Does the relationship empower me, or deflate me? Does this person build me up or tear me down? And can I be sincere–truly sincere–when I’m with her?” I can honestly say that it has deflated me, tore me down, and I keep letting her do it to me. I think it’s because I’ve never really had many friends and the thought of losing someone who I’ve looked up to is painful.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment christine

    This article was great along with all the other incite-full comments. I too had long friendships recently end because my situation in life changed drastically and mostly because they were lying to me but then posting opposite on facebook and they had to become facebook friends with everyone even people they dont like, which strikes me as very odd. why be friends with people you dont like, just to gossip and make fun of them behind their backs, weird and childish. I have decided to surround myself with people who respect me, are truthful and honest. I will not be allowing myself to be used by selfish people family or friends. I love this website it has been very helpful in helping me move on, because I will never be able to understand the why.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment itsjust me

    Wonderful thoughts for so many situations. Life is really a school and we should be learning constantly. I’m glad to have come up on this instruction. Thanks!

  • dsquared2

    thank for sharing.I enjoy it.waiting for next post.

  • http://GettingOverTheRejection Meg

    This article was just what I needed and was looking for. My husband left me 3 mos after we were married, around a month ago, out of the blue, and we had loved each other and he had been my best friend for six years. I want to add two other things that also worked for me- 1) The Best Revenge Is Success- do better than them, be better than them, or do what is positive to their negative. Do what you love, especially if they dislike it. 2) Therapy, even if its from other friends or people who understand and not a therapist, people who will take your side, is an amazing healer. They will point out all of their flaws and how they injured you, and while this isn’t always the healthiest route, it WILL make you feel less responsible, and relieve you of the guilt. This was my problem, and I went to therapy and made a new life for myself. I am doing wonderful, much better than I would be had he stayed! Thanks!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment L

    Hello T~
    Your blog is enormously helpful to people for many reasons-but one of the most important is that you share your inner struggle in this blog. Gutsy and very liberating to those who might think that they are “the only one” struggling with an issue. Rejection is so hard…and it takes awhile to process. It also helps to know that others have the same kind of painful thoughts, doubts and confusion. For the last number of years I have directed people to your blog…and now I am on the third agency. At the community mental health center, state psychiatric hospital and now at the behavioral health department at Fort Hood your blog has been recommended as part of the individual’s healing journey. Thank you for all that you do to promote health, healing and RESILIENCY in this difficult time.
    Laura Neville LSCSW
    Fort Hood, Texas

  • http://Whyfriendshipsended Maggie

    This my story: I was chatting on phone middle of oct /11 until may 3/12 my friend. Ended our friendship cause maybe he didn’t like telling alittle of work, not about him and me so he ended by telling me i tell him care for him and told him loved him .But we haven’t met we suppost to meet new years eve hurt ribs, keep asking him when meet kept saying busy on weekend at least trying on my part.We chat on phone alot even at night he made me laugh and cry in good way,and stop chatting for abit the one time i haven’t heard from my friend few days until call me and told me met someone when bar with male friends who married, well told me if we met someone tell each other i said ok so when phone me about other woman met i thought he end there cause he told me never met i need needs .His voice change i couldn’t believe do this to me hurt me like this even i thought last call ask me, hugs and kisses ok why? ask me still keep phone number ask why? and then leave someone came door at his place and i think other woman left phone. i getting ready for bed and then i got call from friend again sounded tired and then he said the woman upstairs and im downstairs on couch and i thought strange but i said nothing , and told him i have go bed i have get up go to work i need sleep.Ok chow and then morning comes so tired get up go work i didn’t much sleep from him calling me , days goes by starts calling me again and ask about lady friend he told me she gone she wasn’t my type cause said missing me
    don’t want to talk about it ok let it be i
    said fine.So back chatting with me again but ssomthing wrong here i know but do have strong feeling for him cause tell how feel . HAsk my friend how feelings too told me i don’t know not sure ?well i thought call future call cost $30 asking relionship she told me i have meet him before gf if not you
    end it ,lady on phone said there third wheel
    of course other woman seeing in way .But future lady said that you be friends with him
    not for you there going to be 6 weeks meet
    tall man ask future lady saiddon’t worry meet him and then it ended phone ,i said wow
    my friend and i still chatting on phone not
    much use too ,until last week on may3 we chatting 3 times until last call when ended
    how hurting me and how voice change so confused .And then call me back very last
    time checking see ok told him ok im hurting
    then told me better fine another man cause
    i need lover and affection.I give all to him
    my heart my feelings what more ?and then told
    him going up parents my mother bd party her bd on may 1 went up see family for weekend
    so told him have good weekend and he said you
    have good weekend too, said chow and said
    chow that was it. End of conversation so i
    phone down and cried cried so confused i mixed feelings hurting so much.Then realized
    his loss my gain how hurted me now , how
    said to me that told me not asshole im good guy right sure in my mind what he did to me on call for ask him before we ended phone so going throw away good friendship here no he told good lady wow.Well time move on life
    maybe best i didn’t see him who knows but i
    do have pic of him friend send me does’nt know what i look like cause told vision.So there my story …im going try not think
    about him not easy just think good times i
    had with him when chatting on phone and
    messages send me on phone and send me ring
    dimond very little dimond getting fixed,well
    doesn’t want ring back keep it. The End…ontario, canada..what do think this story!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jj

    I just move on! I don’t care about people who dump me, because they weren’t a friend in the first place.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jj

    …and my life is so much better without them anyway. I don’t care if people don’t like me either!

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