wikiHow to Forget Past Friends

Three Parts:Coping with the LossDealing with RemindersDetermining If the Break-Up Is Permanent

Facing the end of a friendship can be very difficult emotionally and psychologically. Friendships may end because of a betrayal of trust or simply because one or both of you have moved to a different place in life, either physically or mentally. The length of time it takes to get over the ending of a friendship can vary, depending on the amount of time you had been friends, how close you were, and what occurred to end the friendship. Taking the appropriate length of time to grieve the loss of your friendship can help you forget about a past friend in a healthy and positive way.

Part 1
Coping with the Loss

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    Cry if you feel like it. Once you have accepted that the friendship is really over, you may feel very sad about the loss of your friend. Know that it’s okay to cry if you feel sad. Crying is a healthy way to express and release your sadness.[1] If you do not feel like crying, you should not feel obligated to cry. Whether you cry or not, it’s important to acknowledge and accept any emotions that you’re feeling.
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    Go for a walk outside, or engage in any physical exercise. Exercising your body releases endorphins that help you feel happier and more positive about life.[2] Going for a walk outside has the added benefit of getting fresh air and sunlight, which can also help to improve your mood.
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    Talk to a trusted friend or a counselor about your feelings. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your emotions and give you an outside perspective on your situation. A friend or counselor may be able to help you see things in a different light and not feel so bad about losing a friendship.
    • If your former friend left town, try calling a mutual friend who might also be missing them. Talking about your former friend together can help you both get over your sadness. You can say, “Hi Mary, I’m feeling very sad since Joan left town. I really miss laughing at her jokes. Do you miss her, too?”
    • If you’ve had a fight with your former friend, call someone you trust to talk about your feelings of anger or betrayal. Tell them what happened in your fight and ask for their objective opinion on what happened. For example, you could say, “I got into a horrible fight with Sue last week. I asked her for the $20 she owed me, and she yelled at me and told me I was petty. Do you think I was petty for asking for her to pay me back? Do you think she overreacted?”
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    Spend time with other friends. Having fun with other people who are still your friends can help lessen the hurt of losing a friend. If you are feeling sad thinking about the friend you lost, call a different friend and ask them to spend time with you. You can invite them to watch a movie, have some food or drinks together, listen to some music, or play a game. Whatever you invite them to do, make sure it’s something that you really enjoy doing.
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    Meet new people. Finding new friends is very important if you lost a friend because you moved to a new place. When you move to a new place, you may find that you don’t have any friends near you. Go to a place where you can socialize and meet new people.[3]
    • Look online for community meet-ups. Many cities have meet-up groups that share a common interest like playing board games, knitting, or playing music. Check social media sites and meet-up message boards to find out what’s going on in your area.
    • Volunteer. Look for volunteer opportunities with community service groups working in fields that interest you. Not only can you meet new people, but you also might learn something and have fun doing it, too.
    • Join a community sports team. Parks and gyms often host community sports activities that are easy to join. If there are no organized sports teams in your area, look for community basketball courts or soccer fields where people engage in pick-up games. People who play these games are usually friendly and welcome new people to join their teams.
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    Do things that make you happy. Engage in hobbies, sports, and other activities that you enjoy doing. If you’re not sure what you like doing, try new hobbies like arts and crafts projects, sports activities like bike riding or kayaking, learn to play a musical instrument, or build a birdhouse.[4]

Part 2
Dealing with Reminders

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    Return, get rid of, or store memorabilia from the friendship. It’s common to accumulate items that remind you of your former friend. These items can include gifts you received, objects you purchased together, or things that remind you of experiences you had together. If the object reminds you of your former friend and causes you sadness or anger every time you see it, then it is better for your mental health to put that object out of your sight for a period of time, if not permanently.
    • If the item is something valuable, such as a family heirloom, a piece of jewelry, or electronic equipment, consider returning the item to your former friend. You may not have the right to keep precious objects just because your friendship ended. To determine if you should return it or not, ask yourself if you would want them to return the object to you if they had something of yours that was valuable.
    • Other, less valuable items, such as ticket stubs or items of clothing, you may want to throw away or donate to a charity.
    • Think twice before destroying or getting rid of items that are irreplaceable, such as photographs or works of art. Once you have recovered from the pain of losing your friend, you may regret that you got rid of these items. If you think you might find a particular item special in the future, place it in storage by boxing it up and hiding it in a closet or attic, or asking someone else to store it for you.
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    Erase your former friend’s contact information. Delete their phone number, email, and mailing address out of your contact lists so that you are not tempted to contact him or her in moments of weakness or anger. Deleting this information will also prevent you from feeling angry or upset from accidentally running across this person’s name in your contact lists.
    • Don’t delete your former friend’s contact information if you are no longer friends because you or they moved away. It’s okay to call or email an old friend, even if you haven’t spoken to them in a few months or even years. You may take a vacation to the place they moved to one day and contact them to visit.
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    Disconnect from him or her on all social media platforms. Seeing posts and updates from a former friend on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, can reawaken the hurt and anger from ending a friendship. Unfriend or unfollow your former friend’s accounts to avoid reawakening those feelings and to help you move forward with your life.
    • Even if you still like your former friend, you may want to unfollow them on social media until you are over the pain of not seeing them regularly. Staying in continued contact with your former friend may make it difficult for you to move on with your life and meet new people.
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    Avoid places that remind you of them, if possible. Certain places will remind you of your former friend for a long time, such as a restaurant that the two of you often went to together or sports facilities where you played on a team together. If possible, avoid these places until your strong feelings subside. There may be some places that are impossible to avoid, such as school, a workplace, or even your home. If it is impossible to avoid certain places, invite a different friend to accompany you there and try to make new memories in order to associate new, positive feelings with that place.
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    Do not avoid your former friend if you run into them in public and be polite if you speak to them. If you are still living in the same area as your former friend, it is likely that you may run into them at some point. This experience will probably make you feel very uncomfortable the first time it happens, especially if you had a fight that ended your friendship. Do not ignore your former friend in this situation, as that can only make matters more uncomfortable and awkward. Instead, acknowledge their presence by making eye contact and saying “hi” or nodding your head.[5]
    • Only make conversation if you want to do so. If your former friend approaches you to start a conversation, politely tell them that you do not want to talk. For example, you can say: “It’s nice to see you, but I’m really not ready to talk to you right now.” Alternatively, you can tell them that you are too busy to talk, and politely walk away.

Part 3
Determining If the Break-Up Is Permanent

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    Write down what happened to end your friendship. Understanding what caused your friendship to break up can help you figure out what the best way to move past it is. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you more quickly deal with and overcome feelings of anger, betrayal, and sadness.[6]
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    Write your former friend a good-bye letter, but don’t send it. Write a letter that expresses all the anger, frustration, and heartache that you feel about your friendship ending. Include everything that you will miss about having this friend in your life.[7] Writing all these thoughts down as if you were going to say all of them to your former friend will give you a sense of closure. Once you’re done writing the letter, store it in a safe place, throw it away, or even burn it, but don’t send it. Sending the letter could make matters worse by re-opening communication and saying hurtful things.[8]
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    Write down a description of what your friendship was like over its entire lifespan. Consider whether your friendship was healthy with mutual respect or if it was a toxic, harmful friendship. Toxic friends are ones who treat you badly by insulting you, being critical, or being overly demanding of your time and energy.[9]
    • If you find that your entire friendship was harmful to you, be glad knowing that it is behind you.
    • If you find that your friendship was a very strong one, consider whether or not you really want to cut this person out of your life. You may want to stay in contact with them and look for ways to repair your friendship. Even if a friend moved far away, you can retain a friendship with them by writing to each other and talking over the internet or on the phone.
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    Talk to mutual friends about what happened. Talking to other people who know both you and your former friend can help give you some perspective on the ending of your friendship. They may also be able to give you some perspective on whether or not your friendship was a healthy one.[10]
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    Reconcile with your friend. If you determine that your friendship was a good one and that you do not want to lose this person as a friend, contact them and ask if you can see them again. If you did something that caused them pain, apologize for it. If they did something that caused you pain, explain to them what they did and why it hurt you. Tell them that you forgive them and that their friendship is very important to you.


  • Keep a journal to write down your thoughts and emotions as you work through the ending of your friendship.
  • Don’t contact your former friend if you are still angry and just want to yell. If you do contact your former friend, have something specific in mind that you want as a result of your conversation, such as asking for a personal belong back or asking for a reconciliation.


  • Don’t avoid your emotions or dull them with drugs or alcohol. Even though your emotions may cause you discomfort, you will only get over the hurt and anger by confronting them. Avoiding them, especially with drug or alcohol use, could be very damaging to your health.
  • If you are still feeling very angry or very depressed after several weeks or months, you may want to seek professional help from a counselor or a mental health specialist.

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Categories: Changing and Losing Friends