How to Heal From Friendship Hurts
She was your best friend. You did everything together. She was the one you called right after you found out you were pregnant. She was the one you'd sit and laugh with for hours. You knew her favorite ice cream flavor and she knew your kids' middle names. She was near and dear to your heart and irreplaceable. And somehow looking at her now, she might as well be a stranger.
The hurt is still real. The pain lingers. You want your friend back, but you know that so much has happened and the friendship may never be the same. What now?
Friend, I feel your pain. I've been there. Many of us have. Losing a friend can be an extremely difficult wound to heal. As women, we were created for relationship, and because of this, we put our all into those connections in our lives, leaving us inadvertently open and vulnerable to hurts. In a fallen world, full of us sinful humans, we often mess things up. We speak when we should stay silent. We anger easily when we should shrug off offense. We act rashly when we should evaluate our actions.
Thankfully our Father in Heaven knows our shortcomings, and hasn't left us without hope. We are sinful, yes, but we are covered in his grace. There is hope for our failures when we come with a repentant heart and turn towards him. In our broken friendships, if we are willing to open our heart towards him, and allow him to speak to us, we will find that healing after friendship wounds is possible!
Here are 3 ways to heal after you've walked through losing a friendship.
1. Be willing to apologize and forgive, even if she doesn't.
I don't know about you, but I like to be the first to apologize, simply because I like to be at peace and as far away from conflict as possible. However, because of my peace-loving nature, I, by default, expect all things to return to normal quickly. I expect for forgiveness to shortly follow apologies and for both parties to move forward into the positivity of the future. I've realized this idealistic view of reconciliation isn't always possible in our sinful world.
However, that doesn't mean we can not walk forward ourselves, with a conscious cleared of all offenses. In order to do so, we must be willing to say sorry, willing to forgive, and willing to give them grace if they do not do the same. It's not our burden to carry. If the other party doesn't want to reconcile and move forward as friends, allow them the right to make that decision, and allow yourself the right to release any guilt or striving to make things right. It's not your job to force someone else into repentance or forgiveness. You do your part. You show up, bake some cookies, write an apology note, share your feelings without anger, and let God do the rest.
2. Allow God to prune your life and understand its for your good!
Have you ever watched a gardener prune a rose bush? Or perhaps done it yourself? It doesn't look like a process that would benefit the plant. There are sharp blades involved, abrupt cuts to the branches, and much more removed than seems necessary. It looks more painful than purposeful. However, the gardener knows something that rose bush doesn't; If the plant goes into the next season carrying the weight of all of these branches, it won't be able to flourish and blossom like it was created to do.
In our lives, God will often allow us to go through seasons of "pruning", not because he doesn't love us or care about our relationships, but because he knows that we will never reach our full potential if we carry around weight that isn't ours to bear. Sometimes these are friendships. Sometimes he will remove negative influences or friends who are standing in your way. Other times he will remove friends, with reasons having nothing to do with them, but everything to do with you. Maybe you needed a season of isolation where you learned to hear his voice and allowed him to fill your deepest needs.
Whatever the reason for the pruning may be, trust him, thank him, and draw closer to him.
3. Don't live in the past.
It's easy to continue to dwell on the events of the past. To wonder "what if" or "why"? It's easy to see photos of your friend at social events and become jealous and angry all over again. Can I tell you something, friend? This will never lead to fruitfulness. Living in the remains of the past will only stunt your growth.
Here's my advice to you. If you find yourself continually talking about friendship hurts, digging up old hurts, or looking at pictures of past friends in disgust, it may be time to dig a little deeper, release all of the pain to Jesus, truly forgive, and then close the door on that chapter. Unfollow them on social media if you need to. Commit to no longer re-telling the story. Your current and future friends deserve the best you, not the burned you.
Friendship hurts can go deeper than we often expect them to, but we are not left without hope of them healing. Make a commitment today to let go of the past and allow God to heal those wounds. You are too valuable to walk in the pain any longer.
Want to hear more? Listen to the podcast on friendship hurts here!
Or read on to discover the traits of a "heart friend" and God's design for relationships.