A Psychologist Reveals How To Be Friends With Your Ex-BFF Again
Friendship. Why is this so important in our lives?
It is a social need we all share, and in some cases, friendships are relationships you’ll have for the rest of your life. Well, only if you’re lucky enough. Perhaps if you’re somehow related to one another such as Monica, Chandler and Ross, then it would be hard not to stay in touch because you’re basically family.
However, in most cases, people will come and go as we age, when they reach new milestones, or when they meet new people that they share a stronger bond with. We’ve all been there. Falling out with your best mate is the worst thing that could happen. But don’t worry. Maybe someday you’ll find your way back.. one step at a time.
Irene Levine, a psychiatry professor at NYU and the author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend explains, reviving a dead friendship is not as simple as hitting the play button on something that’s been paused.
Do a friendship postmortem
Before you try to reach out, think long and hard about why your friendship ended in the first place. “If you think they’re going to be a completely different person than the person you broke up with, you’re probably being unrealistic,” says Levine. You might just go back to the same quicksand before you left, unless you’re prepared to accept those terms.
Get in touch and apologise
Whoever’s fault it was, if you really want this to work out, then you need to initiate the apology process. Express to them how much this friendship means to you. Perhaps, they will feel the same way and apologise too. Don’t present this as an ultimatum and don’t make them decide in the moment unless they want to.
“Just because you’re ready to rekindle a friendship doesn’t mean the other person’s ready — you’ve given it a lot of thought, but the other person could be caught off guard” – Irene Levine
Start from square one
When you do meet up, pretend you’re getting to know them for the first time. “You really need experience and time to build trust with another person, whether it’s an old friend or a new friend,” Levine says. The level of intimacy you once had will probably not be the same anymore. There will be some awkward moments.
Note: Be prepared to get rejected. If you get ghosted by this person, keep in mind that it’s probably more about them than you. “They may have a lot of friendships, they may be juggling work and personal matters, they may not have any more bandwidth to have one more friend,” Levine remarked.
Remember, friendship is all part connection, part timing. It’s the reason you can’t hold on to all the friends you’ve ever had.