What Should I Do With The Letter My BFF Gave Me Ending Our Friendship?

Published: April 16, 2014
Dear What Should I Do With The Letter My BFF Gave Me Ending Our Friendship?,

My ex best friend and I got in a big fight back in october-novemberish and she delivered a letter to my house. i waited until the weekend to read it (so it wouldnt distract me from school) and I cried and couldnt fall asleep till past 3am. It contained all her reasons and explanations for why she felt like our friendship came to end, since she hadnt been talking to me for days. It was basically the mark of the end of us. We had been best friends for two years, good friends for one year more. I contemplated ever writing her back, because my emotions on the issue were always changing. Sometimes i felt so angry and wanted to punch her, sometimes i felt guilty for all that i had done to drive her away... I couldnt write her feeling either way, cuz some part of me wouldnt be able to make its point, you know what i mean? If i wrote back angry, or when i felt guilty, it wouldn't come off right. There was never an in between feeling. So i never responded to it. I never talk to her anymore, except once in a blue moon when we cross paths we'll smile or even say a quick hi. Thats it. Whenever i run into the letter sitting around, i think of all the pain i got from reading it. Part of me really wants to just get rid of it, but then something is kind of holding me back. I thought about putting it in a box of memoribillia that i have, but i think that box should be full of happy memories. If i ever saw it years from now i would feel like crap all over again. I never ever want to re read it. I also dont want anyone else to ever see it. What should i do with it?

Dear What Should I Do With The Letter My BFF Gave Me Ending Our Friendship?,

TeenHealthFX thinks that there are two issues for you here – what to do with the letter and what to do with a lost friendship that has left many unresolved feelings for you.

It sounds like part of what is so hard about this situation is that you do have so many unresolved feelings about this friendship and how it ended: Anger, perhaps, that your friend ended the relationship; guilt and sadness, perhaps, at ways in which you contributed to the difficulties in the friendship. FX thinks it would be a good idea to write a letter to your friend. In this letter express the different feelings you have – anger, guilt, sadness and whatever else – and explain why you are feeling this way. You might even add to the letter on different days when different feelings come up for you. After you are done with the letter, read it over and decide whether it’s something you want to send to her or not. You might want her to know exactly how you feel or perhaps it will feel like enough to you to have just gotten everything out on paper.

As for this friendship having ended, FX thinks it’s important for you to appreciate that this has been a significant loss for you. And like all other types of loss, it is normal for there to be a grieving period where we have different feelings like sadness, anger and guilt. FX invites you to make room for these feelings and to know it is ok to have them. In terms of this letter, perhaps you could do something symbolic with it to mark the loss of the friendship. You could bury the letter somewhere (perhaps even with your letter if you decide not to send it). It may sound silly, but FX doesn’t want you to underestimate the power of rituals to help us to deal with loss.

FX also invites you to have some compassion for yourself in whatever you are feeling guilty about. No good can come out of beating yourself up over things you did in this relationship that perhaps weren’t helpful to the relationship because we can’t change the past. The best you can do is take what you have learned about apply it to how you want to relate in future relationships with friends and loved ones.

If you find you continue to struggle with your feelings about this and how to handle the situation, FX strongly recommends that you reach out to a trusted adult for some support and guidance. You could speak to a parent, extended family member, school counselor or even a private therapist – someone who could help you to work through your feelings and find a way to deal with your friend and this letter in a way that allows you to move on.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.